Interview: GLAAD talks to actress and 'Sense8' star Jamie Clayton

In the new Netflix original series, Sense8, created by the Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski, actress Jamie Clayton plays Nomi Marks, a political blogger and hacktivist living in San Francisco. Nomi is one of eight main characters in the show who share a mysterious connection that transcends their physical realities. She is also a transgender woman, as is Clayton, and lives with her girlfriend, Amanita, played by actress Freema Agyeman. Prior to Sense8, Clayton starred in the Emmy Award-winning web series, Dirty Work, and the GLAAD Media Award-nominated VH1 series, TRANSform Me.

With the release of Sense8's first season in June, fans are now taking to social media and calling for Netflix to #RenewSense8, and an announcement is expected any day now. In the meantime, GLAAD caught up with Clayton to ask her more about playing Nomi, working with Lana Wachowski, and more.

GLAAD: When you first read scripts for Sense8, what was most appealing to you?

Jamie Clayton: I was drawn to the show as a whole. It's so unique. Empathy has never been shown like this. I wanted to be a part of telling these characters stories.  

GLAAD: Nomi goes through a lot in the series. What was your experience like, going from suspenseful action scenes to one-on-one emotional moments and back again, all in various cities?

Clayton: It was really challenging. The Diego Rivera Museum for example, we shot in July and then 3 months later in October, at the museum in Mexico. Channeling that emotion again was surreal. It's interesting too because after travelling and working with everyone for that time, I was a different person. So it's cool to revisit the scenes from a different perspective.

GLAAD: Nomi is one of several LGBT-identified characters in Sense8. What do you think is unique about the LGBT storylines in the series?

Clayton: For Nomi specifically, it's that her story isn't about her transition, her transness. She just happens to be trans. Her story is about her strength, courage, and love. She has a job, a relationship, and now 7 special friends.

GLAAD: Nomi and her girlfriend, Amanita (played by Freema Agyeman), have a relationship that stays strong through all the challenges they face together. What was it like working with Freema Agyeman to portray this aspect of their story?

Clayton: It was such a joy. We were both so down for how in love Nomi and Neets are. We threw ourselves in head first and always had each other's backs. Freema is an absolute professional and I couldn't have asked for a better kisser. I mean scene partner. I mean kisser. Ok, both. #Nomanita

GLAAD: There are many facets of Nomi's character that we see in the series. Pride, anguish, love, action! What do you hope that audiences take away from that range?

Clayton: As an actor, it was so great (and exhausting) to get to explore all those things in one season! I hope that the audience grows with Nomi as the show progresses and that by the end, they love her as much as I do!

GLAAD: What was it like playing a character who is trans, written by Lana Wachowski, who is trans herself?

Clayton: It's one of the most unique experiences. It's so authentic and human. Nomi is a survivor and a hero. Just like Lana.

GLAAD: In terms of acting, what's coming up next for you?

Clayton: I have a cameo in Nicholas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon and I'm the voice on the audiobook version of Alex Gino's George.

For more from Jamie Clayton, follow her on Twitter and catch her as Nomi Marks in Sense8, streaming online at Netflix. Watch Nomi's character trailer below.