Saved by the Bell Reboot Casts Transgender Actress Josie Totah in Lead Role
The 18-year-old actress will play the role of Lexi and will also serve as a producer, PEOPLE confirms.
The character is described as “a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High who is both admired and feared by her fellow students,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, who first reported her casting.
The Saved by the Bell reboot was announced in September and will stream on NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming platform, Peacock, which is set to launch in April of this year. NBC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Original cast members Elizabeth Berkley (who played Jessie) and Mario Lopez (who played A.C.) are also set to star in the series, which comes from 30 Rock writer and Great News series creator Tracey Wigfield, PEOPLE previously reported.
Totah, who has appeared in NBC’s Champions, as well as Glee and No Good Nick, came out as transgender in 2018 with an essay for Time magazine.
“My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah,” she wrote. She was previously known as J.J. Totah.
“This is not something that just happened. This is not a choice that I made,” Totah continued. “When I was five, long before I understood what the word gender meant, I would always tell my mother that I wished I were a girl. Since I could speak in full sentences, I was like, ‘Give me a dress!’ I always knew on some level that I was female.”
“When my friends and family call me Josie, it feels like I’m being seen,” Totah said, adding, “It’s something everyone wants, to feel understood.”
The actress also said that she doesn’t believe she was placed in the “wrong body,” but that “God made me transgender.”
“I don’t feel like there was a mistake made,” she wrote. “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.”