Kat (Aisha Dee), Jane (Katie Stevens), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy), the three protagonists of The Bold Type
Have you seen The Bold Type from Freeform? It’s the breakout show from this summer and you need to watch it. It’s a positive female-led show without toxic relationships or villain characters (apparently that’s possible?!). The Bold Type follows 3 women- Kat, Jane, and Sutton- in their mid-twenties working in Manhattan at the fictional Scarlet magazine.
It’s loosely inspired by the life of Joanna Coles, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. Coles is an executive producer on the show. She also voices the recaps at the beginning of each episode. The Bold Type benefits from her experience leading a multi-faceted woman’s magazine: the plot deftly swivels from fashion styling to political/ social justice journalism to dating. It deserves its praise for solidly representing people of color, interracial relationships, and a mostly female working environment without petty drama or backstabbing. Kate Dries of Jezebel wrote a great article of The Bold Type‘s achievements in its first season. Cameron Glover, who is black and identifies of queer, wrote for GO Magazine about her joy at finding queer relationships between two women of color, (like she has had) represented and not fetishized on a major television network.
Kat and Adena
The Freeform series has received most attention for its depiction of an interracial, lesbian romance. Scarlet‘s Social Media Director, Kat, and Adena (Nikohl Boosheri), a Muslim photographer from an unidentified Middle Eastern country, meet completely by chance. Adena refuses to sit for an interview with Scarlet, and Kat comes to her studio to persuade her. Chemistry sparks. The pair have an undeniable attraction, but cultural differences and the distance between Kat’s New York City base and Adena’s Paris home pose obstacles to their budding relationship.
Kat and Adena’s temporarily long distance relationship parallels my own. I’m American, and my boyfriend Raimundo- everyone calls him Rai- is Chilean. We both live in our hometowns of Cincinnati and Santiago, respectively. Rai and I met when I was studying in Santiago for a month. We met purely by chance, and he was not “my type.” But we soon spent all our free time together. Rai and I wrestled with our easy chemistry and my temporary stay in his country. We tried to be friends.
I find the evolution of long distance relationships to be utterly poetic… and devastating. Rarely do two people simultaneously and immediately agree to enter a long distance relationship. Getting there is hard, and it’s a bumpy process. The Bold Type captured this conflict between attraction and barriers (cultural, distance, lifestyles) so perfectly. Lorde, in her latest album Melodrama, depicts the transition from fling to relationship in her song “The Louvre.” The lyrics complement this topic so fittingly, I have to include it. Her words are in italics under each section title. This is a series of at least two parts.
Instant Magnetism and Confusion
well, summer slipped us underneath her tongue / our days and nights are perfumed with obsession / I’m your sweetheart psychopathic crush / drink up your movements, still I can’t get enough
As social media director at Scarlet, Kat focuses on digital traffic. What gets the most clicks? She strives to create and share controversial content to increase online viewership and discussion. Adena- a feminist Muslim and hijab-wearing lesbian- initially intrigues Kat with her art and seemingly conflicting traits. Upon meeting her, Kat blurts, “Why do you still use a hijab? Isn’t it kind of contradictory?” Adena responds that it’s her choice: “people get uncomfortable that they cannot put me in a box.”
Adena’s strong personality both appeals to and confuses Kat- is Adena attracted to her, or is Kat mistaking her assertiveness for affection? Kat has no idea, but she’d like to find out. During this romantic purgatory Kat tries to figure out her sexuality. Is she attracted to Adena as a girl crush or as a real potential girlfriend? Either way, she’s mesmerized: she later tilts her head and stares at Adena’s portrait in the article for Scarlet‘s upcoming issue.
Adena invites Kat to her art show. Kat goes with her friends, but can’t bring herself to approach Adena while she’s “in her zone.” “Just go talk to her,” her best friends Jane and Sutton urge. Again, Kat’s mesmerized by Adena: her power, charisma, confidence. She watches from a distance as Adena talks to those who attended. When the crowd starts to dissipate, Kat starts to walk over to Adena… but Adena’s girlfriend Coco appears and they kiss. Kat’s crushed. The episode ends after this scene.
Is This More Than I Thought?
Our thing progresses, I call and you come through
The next episode’s barely started before Adena sends a text message to Kat. Adena wants to talk about something, in person. Kat anticipates that Adena will share her romantic feelings. Adena promptly arrives at her workplace… and asks Kat for a recommendation letter for her visa application. She wants to stay in the United States long-term. That’s two let-downs in a row from Adena. Kat admits her confusion to her friends: “you know, I cannot get a read on her.” Still, she agrees to write a letter attesting to Adena’s character and talent, and asks to meet “to discuss” what she will write.
Though it’s not an official date, it’s basically a date (Rai and I had plenty of those not-date-dates when I was in Chile. I initially felt cruelly set-up, but I would have done nearly anything to spend time with him). The pair walk along the river and talk. Many couples are doing the same. Kat and Adena pause to admire an elderly violinist. Tech-savvy Kat takes out her phone to record the performance, but Adena confiscates it. “Just enjoy it,” she flirtatiously orders Kat. Adena finally shows her attraction to Kat with a kiss. Maybe there is potential for the photographer and social media director to be in a relationship.
This adoring post on The Bold Type covers episodes 1-4. The first season has 10 episodes. I anticipate writing at least one more post about Kat and Adena’s relationship and how it evolves when distance separates them.