Nava Mau, the Mexican transgender actress in Baby Reindeer
Courtesy Netflix

MIAMI - Mexican transgender actress Nava Mau is creating a whirlwind among the fans of Netflix's new hit series 'Baby Reindeer'. Her life story, after being born in Mexico City, her performance, and her outlook on her career, Mexicanidad, and trans and Latino visibility have many people excited.

Mau brings life to Teri, a therapist and love interest to the protagonist, Donny, played by Richard Gadd. Based on Gadd's own life and traumatic stalking experience, the series introduces us to Teri as a strong, open character, whose complications increase as she navigates her relationships amidst personal challenges.

Nava Mau enters "Baby Reindeer"

From the first time she read the script, Mau felt a deep connection to her character. "I saw myself in Teri, as well as in each of the other characters. Richard's writing compels us to embrace an unsettling honesty," Mau shared on her Instagram, reflecting her initial impressions of the script that would lead her to star in this standout role.

"It really means a lot to me that people are not afraid of the conversations that this show explores," she says.

With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes "Baby Reindeer" has hold the number 1 spot of the most watches series in Netflix since it came out on April 11th, clocking 22 million views the first two weeks.

While Teri is a secondary character, Nava's performance has made her the break-out star of the show. For her, the magic was in the writing. "It was the first time that I had ever seen a script that felt like it was written by somebody who'd actually known and loved a trans woman. I really related to Teri, and I just felt like it had to be something I was a part of," she said to the Australian website Attitude.

The power of representation

Her childhood, without a reference on the screen as a Mexican, or a trans person, made her embrace her identity on screen. ""I wanted to be a pop star," Nava told the Texas Monthly. "I would do lip-synch performances with me and my sisters singing to Selena (Quintanilla) or the Spice Girls for our family and friends. All I wanted to do was dream of other worlds and characters that I wanted to be."

After bringing the family from Mexico City to San Antonio in search of a better life, her mother, a counselor and teacher, and her father, an accountant, wanted her to have a 'sensible career.' "I never considered [acting] a potential profession for me because I didn't see anybody in the media, anybody in leadership, in school, in my own family, who I could relate to or emulate with regard to my gender identity," she remembered.

A Nava Mau shines

Nava Mau is no stranger to the spotlight, having previously starred in the critically acclaimed series "Genera+ion" and making appearances in productions like "Waking Hour" and "Work." Her background is rich with experiences that span across cultural and community boundaries, from Mexico City to San Antonio, Texas. Both places, she says, have shaped her values towards community and interconnectedness over individualism.

Mau's journey into acting is intertwined with her commitment to community. Participating in programs like Mujeres Unidas Contra El Sida in San Antonio, she engaged in political theatre, educating high school students on consent and sexual health. These experiences not only informed her acting but also deepened her understanding of the role art can play in societal change.

In "Baby Reindeer," Teri's character undergoes significant development, especially in her interaction with Donny and her confrontation with a stalker, Martha. This complex dynamic tests Teri's strength and resilience, themes that Mau portrays with captivating authenticity. The series not only explores the intricacies of personal relationships but also delves into the impacts of external pressures and internal struggles.

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