EXCLUSIVE | 'And Just Like That' star Alexa Swinton, 12, reveals why she took up a non-binary role

The 12-year-old Alexa Swinton also opened up about how her friends reacted after seeing her play a non-binary person


                            EXCLUSIVE | 'And Just Like That' star Alexa Swinton, 12, reveals why she took up a non-binary role
Alexa Swinton plays Rose/Rock on HBO Max's 'And Just Like That' (Brandon Leger)
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Not everyone can have the chance to be a part of the 'Sex and the City' universe and even if you do, you are surrounded by so many amazing individuals that you might get overshadowed by them. However, the 'SATC' spin-off series made sure that it introduced the new characters with precision. 

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While Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis came back to reprise their roles, the world also saw the brilliance of new characters as well. However, there is one character who particularly nabbed all the attention through her groundbreaking role and mesmerized everyone with her skills. Yes, we are talking about none other than Alexa Swinton. 

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The 12-year-old Swinton, who plays the role of Rose/Rock on the show, is undoubtedly one of the best characters on the show. At first, we are introduced to Rose, but as the show progresses, we get to see the real side. One fine day, she decided to break all the barriers and announce that she doesn't feel like a girl and changed her name to Rock. That's how we had the first non-binary character in the 'Sex and the City' universe. It's never too easy to play such a role, but Alexa did a wonderful job in making us realize how non-binary people feel. 

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So, MEAWW caught up with Alexa and discussed the importance of her role and how her friends reacted when they saw her playing a non-binary person. Also, how Justin Bieber was the inspiration behind the TikTok scene.

Alexa Swinton as Rock in 'And Just Like That' (HBO Max)

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In the beginning, your character was called Rose. As the season progressed, we got to know the real 'you'. How challenging was it for you to play such a character? 

I would say, rather than challenging, it was more enlightening. As a 12-year-old, it was so wonderful to play a character that was exploring their gender identity because we have never seen anything like that before. It’s a pretty ground-breaking character. I was really excited about my character because a lot of my friends were really exposed to the LGBTQIA+ community. When I was 6, my mom sent me up for a ‘Rock Camp’, and the people who joined were everyone, except cis-gender males. So, I got to learn a lot from that. I have always been interested in the LGBTQIA+ community and making sure that I am aware of things. 

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One of my friends was going through a very similar experience last year and they were really excited when they saw me playing such a character. They told me that it was nice to have someone on the screen that was like them. My friends were really happy with me playing such a role. 

In the show when you tell your mother you are 'non-binary'. What was your reaction when you read the scene for the first time? 

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The coming-out scene was also one of my audition scenes and the other one was the rap scene where the character reveals for the first time that she has changed her name to Rock. So, we knew from very early on that this is a show where the character wouldn’t be cis-gender. I was really happy when I got the role. It’s a serious topic and we made those scenes really serious and more melodramatic. More like a drama and less like a comedy. But then, we read the description of the scene and it said, “Please keep this light-hearted. It’s a comedy.” So, when we read that, we went like “Oh shoot, we have to do that” because we had the chance of doing that. So, the first scene we did, which was the coming-out scene, had to be funny and more comedic.

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Meanwhile, Rock’s TikTok scene, was really, really fun because I saw a lot of videos on the platform and picked up some gestures from there. My mom saw them and told me that you (Alexa) have finally something that you can use for the gesture, and we used it for the rap scene. I did that gesture and I believe it was one of the things that got me the part because the rap was really hilarious. When we actually did the scene on the show, they gave us a track to play just to figure out how I could rap to that tune. We were going through TikTok to get some inspiration and we landed on Justin Bieber. His videos have the same kind of swagger. Justin Bieber was definitely the inspiration.

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A still from 'And Just Like That' (HBO Max)

 

One of the best things on the show is how pronouns are used. How important it was for you to get those right? 

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I have been very aware of the pronouns and I tend to not make many pronouns slip-ups. Personally, I live with my grandparents and we come together to have family dinner every single night. I definitely educated them on the topic of pronouns. Even though they might not want to listen to it as much as I tell them about it, they are definitely aware of people who are non-binary and people using they/them pronouns. It’s definitely something I have been really passionate about and I was really happy to be on a show that had more inclusivity on that topic.

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Do you and your character, Rock, have any similarities? Did you add some personal touch to your character? 

Both Rock and I do skateboard. We are both kind of beginners, but I have convinced my parents to get me a penny skateboard. So yeah, I definitely have some similarities with Rock. Also, with the style, I would say that I am very similar to Rock. I mean, I have the baggy shirt thing going on just like Rock. We are also gamers. Rock games more than may they should and I do too. 

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As a youngster, you must have learned a lot about a non-binary person through your character. Why do you think that society still feels a bit iffy when they see non-binary people?

I think, it’s a very new topic and a lot of people aren’t just used to the idea. However, more and more people have been realizing that there aren’t just males and females in the world and that’s why people are becoming so much more comfortable with their gender identity, specifically Gen-Z people. For the older generation, it’s still a new thing and they are not used to it. It’s just a matter of time when it becomes normal for them as well because if they start getting exposed to more people like that on television, it will become much more common for them. 

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(To lend an easy-to-read experience for our readers, the original interview is split into multiple stories. Stay with us as we update our site with more of Swinton's valuable insights on her career)