Interview: GLAAD talks to 'The Bold and the Beautiful' stars Karla Mosley and Jacob Young about trans storyline

The storyline of Maya Avant and Rick Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful continues this week as the couple prepares gets married!

You can watch the most recent five episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful for free at To see all the episodes about Rick and Maya's epic romance, you can try a week of CBS All Access for free.

We first learned that Maya, played by actress Karla Mosley, is a transgender woman back in March during a conversation between Maya and her much younger sister, Nicole. Maya later disclosed that she is a transgender woman to her boyfriend, Rick, played by Jacob Young. A few weeks ago, Rick proposed to Maya during a fashion show featuring transgender models Carmen Carrera and Isis King.

GLAAD caught up with Mosley and Young to ask them more about their experiences portraying their characters and the romance between Maya and Rick. The interview begins with questions for Mosley, followed by questions for Young.

GLAAD: Karla, what kind of reaction have you gotten from fans to Maya's story?

Karla Mosley: Fans have been incredibly positive. Though some fans have been uncomfortable with Maya's disclosure, I'd say 95% of the correspondence I receive is in complete support of Maya and Rick. I am especially excited to hear from fans who were resistant at first, but are now rooting for their happiness. It gives me hope. 

GLAAD: As a non-trans actor, what is it like portraying a character who is a trans woman of color? What did you do to prepare for this role?

KM: This is a good and important question. As a woman of color I understand how important it is that we be given the opportunity to write and tell our own stories. One of the first things I had to do was acknowledge my own privilege as a cisgender person to be in the position to play this role. I felt it was important that our show include trans actors in this story line and I'm happy to see that's happened. I'm also excited to see more trans actors and stories starting to be included in TV & Film.

As an actor, it was incredibly important to me that I tell this story in the most authentic way I could. So, I started by listening to a discussion between Laverne Cox and bell hooks. I read Janet Mock's stunning memoir "Redefining Realness." I spoke to friends who have transitioned about their experiences and I looked for similarities between Maya's experience and my own. 

GLAAD: In a recent episode, Maya is joined by real-life transgender models, Isis King and Carmen Carrera, and Scott Turner Schofield has appeared frequently on the show as Maya's friend, Nick. Is it important to you personally that trans actors have been part of Maya's story?

KM: Yes. It's one of the first questions I asked our producer, Brad Bell. And he was already ten steps ahead of me.

GLAAD: Maya's story is one of few scripted portrayals of a trans woman dating a non-trans man. Meanwhile, tabloids and gossip blogs continue to shame non-trans men who date trans women. What do you hope the audience takes away from this portrayal?

KM: I loved Mia Isabella's response during the Tyga "scandal." She said, "If a celebrated man loves a transgender woman, or possibly did, that's news? It shouldn't be news - it should be normal for anyone and everyone to love who they choose." I don't think I can say it any better than that. I think we are all being asked to look at the prejudice we might not even know we have and to realize how it might be hurting people, and in the case of many trans people, how our unacknowledged prejudices might be putting their lives in danger. I am hopeful that our storyline and this wave of trans visibility will result in greater acceptance, basic respect for people's private lives and empathy across the board.

GLAAD: Recently Maya has been trying to reconcile with her parents who rejected her when she told them she was trans. I know that you volunteer with homeless youth, 40% of whom are LGBT and are often homeless due to family rejection. How important has it been for you to address this aspect of Maya's backstory?

KM: It was through my work with homeless youth that I first learned about many of the challenges trans people, especially trans youth face. So many young people, just like Maya, come to Hollywood with stars in their eyes, desperately trying to escape bigoted parents. I love the way the Avant family has been written so far. It's uncomfortable, but it's real. I hope to see a deeper exploration of these relationships and, hopefully, down the road, a reconciliation. 

GLAAD: Jacob, what kind of reaction have you gotten from fans to Rick and Maya's love story?

Jacob Young: People have been incredibly supportive. I believe they are more captivated by this intense love rather than a transgender story. Yes that is prevalent but a love story can still be just that. 

GLAAD: When Maya discloses to Rick that she is transgender, Rick reaffirms his love for her. What do you hope that audiences take away from this depiction of a non-trans man in a relationship with a trans woman?  

JY: That no matter what, your heart still feels what it feels and no one can, or may, take that away from you. 

GLAAD: In a recent episode, Rick shows his support for Maya by quitting Forrester Creations rather than returning under the condition that Maya be kept away from the company. Has this role affected you personally, in terms of thinking about being an ally to transgender people?

JY: Of course he would drop anything for this woman. His pull is stronger to her than any business or any other relationship. As far as this role affecting me personally. It absolutely has, I have always believed in equal rights. I have and always and will be a strong advocate for the transgender community. 

The Bold and the Beautiful premiered in 1987 on CBS and has won 73 Daytime Emmy Awards, including three wins for Outstanding Drama Series. The show airs in over 100 countries and reaches 35 million people daily around the world.