Jenna Phoa and Kat Khan on their latest project, GAY MEAN GIRLS
Featuring two York alumni in leading roles, Jenna Phoa and Kat Khan, GAY MEAN GIRLS premiered their second season on Feb. 24 on Youtube. GAY MEAN GIRLS explores the dynamics and challenges of young queer women, non-binary folks, and people of colour (POC) in Toronto.
Prior to GAY MEAN GIRLS, Phoa explains that she formed many of her most meaningful and supportive friendships at York.
“We used to meet up at York Lanes to hold table reads and rehearse and drink copious amounts of bubble tea,” says Phoa. “The projects we shot all over campus were my first foray into performing in film and television, and really solidified my love for the art and the people I was able to create it with,” Phoa continues.
Phoa explains that it is crucial for there to be shows where the focus is on the celebration and sharing of stories and experiences of queer women and non-binary folks of colour.
“When you’re anything other than a cisgender heterosexual white man, it can often feel like you need to ask for permission to take up space,” says Phoa. “For so long, we’ve been taught to believe that to be a ‘main character’ or a ‘hero’, you need to be a certain type of person — and the criteria rarely extends to marginalized individuals. So many young people grow up thinking that their role in life is limited to being a token or a side character.”
According to an article published by BBC News in early 2022, only about 12 per cent of regular characters on TV are part of the LGBT community. Within that, the article explains, that out of that 12 per cent , 29 per cent of those characters are of bisexual representation.
Khan adds that, “I think that young queer women and non-binary folks need to see themselves represented on screen. It is important for them to see themselves in different lights so that we can normalize their beautiful souls in the media and give them the opportunity to see themselves, so that they know that they are loved and valid in this world.”
Audiences can look forward to “lots of cool queer people doing cool things,” says Khan. “This season is exciting because it gives audiences a look at the drama that can unfold within the queer POC community,” adds Phoa. “And the looks on the show are amazing!”To watch GAY MEAN GIRLS or to learn more about the series, click here.
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Photo Courtesy of Alya Stationwala.