Who is Josie Totah? Meet cheerleader who's set to take up lead role in Peacock's 'Saved By The Bell' sequel
Totah, who has been honored with the Visibility Award in 2018 and the Upstander Award in 2019, is also an ambassador for GLAAD and GLSEN where she serves as a member of the GLSEN Game Change Council
Many may remember Josie Totah from her roles as Michael Patel in 'Champions' (2018), Myron Muskovitz in 'Glee' (2015) and Justin in 'Other People' (2016). She is also a writer and a producer and has been recognized for her work such as being named The Hollywood Reporter's Top 30 Stars Under 18, Forbes 30 Under 30, Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21, Out Magazine OUT 100 and Seventeen Magazine's 6 Women Under 21 Who Are Changing the World.
The young actress is set to take up the role of Lexi in Pecock's upcoming series 'Saved By The Bell,' a sequel to the 90's series of the same name. Emmy winning writer Tracy Wigfield serves as the creator of the series, which will see the return of many of the original cast members. Totah serves as a producer of the series, and her role as Lexi has been described, according to reports, as being "a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High who is both admired and feared by her fellow students".
In August 2018, Totah wrote a powerful and inspirational essay where she came out as transgender. "I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free. So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way, this is where I’m heading. My pronouns are she, her, and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah," she had written. In the piece, she explained her journey of how she had let herself be "shoved into a box", and how at a young age growing up in Northern California, people would "assume" she was gay. Speaking of how her experience Totah wrote, "This is not something that just happened. This is not a choice that I made."
She wrote of her "serious anxiety" that she had developed as she hid who she was, but said that when her friends and family call her Josie, she felt "seen". "I believe that I am transgender to help people understand differences. It allows me to gain perspective, to be more accepting of others, because I know what it feels like to know you’re not like everyone else," she had written. She also spoke of how she would approach the entertainment industry moving forward explaining that she would "gun" for roles that "share" her identity, "rather than contort" herself "to play a boy" — "be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world," she wrote ending the moving piece.
In a September 2019 article for Today, Totah explained how she didn't have to sit her parents down and explain anything to them. She said, "I think that just speaks to how nurturing and loving my parents are, and how they let me methodically experience my life for myself and find myself." She further explained that her siblings and she were "always told" they "could be whoever" they "wanted to be" — "That's an integral part of who I am today," added the young actress.
Totah has been honored with the Visibility Award in 2018 and the Upstander Award in 2019 and is also an ambassador for GLAAD and GLSEN where she serves as a member of the GLSEN Game Change Council. Her other notable acting credits include 'No Good Nick' (2019) where she played the role of Lisa Haddad, 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' where she played the role of Seymour, and Amazon's Lee Daniels-produced 'Good People' where she played the role of Tallulah Wayne.
In 2014, she was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series - Recurring Young Actor 10 and Under for 'Jessie' (2011) where she played the role of Stuart Wooten. She has also starred in ABC's comedy 'Back in the Game' (2013-2014), CBS' Primetime Emmy nominated series '2 Broke Girls' (2014), Disney's Primetime Emmy nominated series 'Sofia the First' (2014-2016), Comedy Central's 'The Other Two' (2019), Fox's Golden Globe-nominated comedy 'New Girl' (2014) and TV Land's Primetime Emmy nominated comedy 'The Exes' (2014).
Catch 'Saved By The Bell' on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, on Peacock.