By now, you all are probably aware of two things: the fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been rescued from cancellation by NBC, and the fact that we here at Pajiba are pretty damn happy about it, because we REALLY like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You may also know that one of the reasons this past season of B99 was so good was the sensitive and realistic way it handled the revelation that Detective Rosa Diaz, portrayed by Stephanie Beatriz, is bisexual.
Earlier this week, Beatriz spoke with Vulture about the process of realizing her own bisexual identity (spoiler: museums played a part!) and how her own life informed Rosa’s experience coming out onscreen. And if you’ve ever read an interview with Beatriz on these topics, you already know how eloquent she is — but this is still some next-level shit. When the interview hits on how the writing came together for the episode where Rosa came out to her parents, Beatriz ends up painting a portrait of sexual attraction in marriage that will be relatable to anyone who has been in a long-term, monogamous relationship:
There were a lot of lines we put in when Rosa came out to her parents that were things I really wanted to stress. Like the phrase, “Bisexuality’s not really a thing.” “You’ll grow out of it.” “It’s just a phase.” “Well, you can still marry men, so there’s still a chance.” Which is really fucking exhausting. Get ready for that conversation for the rest of your life, right? My partner is a man, I’m engaged to be married to him, and I’m not polyamorous, so there’s a weird thing, where people will look at me and say, “But now you’re straight, right? Because you’re engaged to be married to man.” No, that’s not it. The realness is that for the rest of my life my sexual desires will include my gender and other genders. Just like when you marry someone, your sexual desire for other people just doesn’t drop away and disappear. You still see people, and you’re like, “Damn!” even though you’re committed to one person.
One of my favorite moments was when, after discussing her support of Terry Crews as he spoke out about his own experience being sexually harassed in Hollywood, Beatriz was asked about whether she’s had difficulty advocating for herself. And her response is a beautiful insight into not only her own attitude but what it must be like to work on the set of Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
We had a guest star once who — I will not name names — but he came on and he was calling everyone “baby” and “honey” and “babe,” and I jokingly said to someone in the makeup trailer, “Oh, I wish he would call me babe.” Let’s see what happens. And then sure enough once we hit set, he did speak to me that way, and I said, I’d really prefer it if you called me by my name. And he was like, “All right, sweetie.” And then I stopped and said, “No. I am actually serious. I am not sweetie. My name is Stephanie, and I’d like you to call me by my actual name.” And he was a little bit of an older guy, and I don’t think he was used to anybody talking to him that way, especially not a young woman.
But that was our show. It’s our house, and I wasn’t going to let him come into our house and disrespect the crew, the other actors, myself. It was really great that I felt really supported in that. Everyone around me, the director that day, the crew, our creators, rallied around me and said, “Yeah. You did the right thing. Thank you for speaking up and making sure that you felt comfortable in your work environment.” In that way, I’m a really good advocate for myself. At this point in my life, I’m not afraid to lose a job because I feel like I’m not being treated equally or fairly on a set.
And then the interview ends on the topic of Rosa’s latest love interest, played by Gina Rodriguez, and how that came to be:
Before we go, let’s talk about the season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which guest stars Gina Rodriguez as your love interest. Did that casting happen because of Twitter, too? Mm-hmm. The casting was heavily influenced by myself because we’re friends and the first thing I ever, ever, ever did on film was with her. It was this very small short, in 2008 or something, for the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. It was called Super Chica, and it’s never been released. It’s just like a lab. I was like, you know who would be great for this casting? And I gave them multiple names, people that were dreamy dreams, and Gina was one of them. Hollywood is crazy because if you’re working, you’re constantly working. There’s all sorts of scheduling and stuff and maybe you have a day off, but you don’t have the whole day. You’ve got a photo shoot or whatever. But she happened to be free in this time period and it worked out.
You don’t kiss in the episode!
No. I know! I was mad, too, but listen. [Next] season, I am going to hard-core push for that. Even if it’s not Gina, we need to see Rosa kiss a girl. I want to see the circle get completed. We’ve seen her in a male and female relationship. We’ve seen her be really involved in that relationship. I want to see the other side of bisexuality, which is someone who identifies as her gender. So, that’s the other side of the circle, and once we close that circle, then it’s whoever she wants, which is who Rosa is. But for storytelling purposes and for presentation purposes, it’s important to close the circle. In season six, I would like to see her kiss a girl on that screen.
Look, I’m not saying that we’re only getting a 6th season in order to give Rosa the chance to kiss a girl on screen. But on a grand, cosmic level, it’s a reason that certainly justifies the show’s salvation, don’t you think?
Well, that and all things Raymond Holt.