For my final Grosse Misconduct based interview I had the opportunity to talk with Pooya Mohseni, who appears as Alicia. We discussed the series and the importance of trans representation. Beyond that we also discussed her own experiences in the entertainment industry. Thank you again to Pooya Mohseni for taking the time to chat with me.
How would you describe Grosse Misconduct?
Grosse Misconduct is an office comedy, with a dramatic flair, that happens to have an LGBT inclusive core cast. yesss!
Alicia Castile appears in the series as such a powerful woman, how would you describe her?
Alicia is a survivor and can do her job better than anyone else and because she’s had to prove herself at every step, she expects the same from others. and even though she’s referred to as a bitch, I see her as firm, but fair, maybe even compassionate.
What similarities do you draw between yourself and your character?
I’d say: Alicia and I are both hard workers. we both believe in the idea of love, even though it’s hard for both of us to find it and we both value friendships. I also think both she and I have a temper that is best avoided!
What drew you to this project?
I’m always interested in characters that defy the old stereotypes. When Colby contacted me and I read the script, I loved the non-stereotypical way that Alicia was written. I thought she’s a juicy , fresh take on a character, trans or not, so I said yes.
You deliver an exceptionally emotional speech in the final episode of the series, how did you prepare for that?
That speech is one of my favorite scenes because it was very real and raw. Colby and I talked it through and he edited things to make it as authentic as possible. When we got to doing it, I thought of all the things that had happened in my dating life over the last decade and some and decided that the audience should see how a beautiful, smart character can feel so worthless because of something as mundane as gender.
Do you think you could handle working for Mitch Grosse?
I think if I had the friendship that I know Alicia and Mitch have, I think I could. Alicia sees the good person underneath the booze and the immature behavior and trusts him as a friend. If I had that with someone, yes, I think I could.
There is so little trans representation in the media, could you share your thoughts on this topic and what you think could be done to improve this?
Trans representation has come long ways and it needs to go so much further. We’re just in the long line of groups that have not been represented with truth, diversity or compassion. Native americans, people of color, gay characters and so on. however, there are voices rising and concepts being shown. but, we still only see trans characters in trans specific situations and not just the neighbor or co worker that happens to be trans. I feel stories like Grosse Misconduct, or TransParent and other stories that place trans and non binary characters in situations that are not stereotypical, would help both storytellers and audiences realize that anyone can be trans: your neighbor, your coworker, your barista, your lawyer, your boss or your family member. When that happens, we will see more and better representation of this community in the media.
As a follow-up, what has it been like for you in the field of entertainment?
I’m not only trans, but also of middle eastern background, which means I’m in a very small minority. As a woman who happens to be trans, with olive skin, I’m very aware of my invisibility. but, that doesn’t stop me because others paved the way for me to be here and I will stand and work towards making my communities more visible” one role, one article, one story at a time.
Who are some of the people who inspire you, both in your daily life and in the entertainment industry?
In my personal life, my mom has always inspired me. she’s about 5’1″, 71 and she’s a force to be reckoned with. sassy, classy and driven. that’s my mama and I try and take the best parts and build on them.
In the entertainment industry, it’s really hard to single one person but people like Jill Soloway, Judith Light, Janet Mock ….in all honesty, I admire anyone who is strong, compassionate and driven. women, men or queer. Good people with humanity and wisdom, regardless of who they are, inspire me every day.
What do you hope viewers take away from the series?
I hope our viewers laugh, first and foremost. I want our viewers to see themselves in the series and think that there is a world that has different people, of different ethnic backgrounds, different gender identities or sexual orientation, working side by side, in some semblance of harmony. And that may sound idealistic, but then again, that is what entertainment is: to give voice to our ideals as well as expose our realities. I want our audience to walk away thinking “they’re all insane but i like them!”
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I’m working on a one woman show based on my life called “40 yrs. 40 days” and collaborating with other artists to create new, uplifting and fun projects for the web, the stage and the screen.
Where can our readers find you on social media?
I’m an easy person to find: Pooyaland on twitter, instagram, as well as Pooyaland.com which is my little personal corner in this digital world. if you like for anything Pooyaland, I’m on the other end of it.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.