Josie Totah Says She Won't Only Play LGBTQ+ Roles: 'I Follow the Story' (Exclusive)

Totah received the SCAD TVFest Rising Star Award in February

<p>Paras Griffin/Getty</p> Josie Totah in Atlanta on Feb. 8, 2024

Paras Griffin/Getty

Josie Totah in Atlanta on Feb. 8, 2024

Josie Totah isn't limiting herself when it comes to her career.

The Buccaneers star spoke with PEOPLE at the 2024 SCAD TVFest in Atlanta in February, where she addressed her willingness to take on acting gigs that don't involve LGBTQ+ characters, explaining, "I follow the story."

"I am an actor. I want to work. So it's a combination of wanting to do a job, but also wanting to uplift storytellers who I find fascinating and tell stories that I feel like need to be told," Totah, 22, said at the event, where she was honored with the SCAD TVFest Rising Star Award.

Matt Baron/Shutterstock Josie Totah at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards
Matt Baron/Shutterstock Josie Totah at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards

Related: 'Saved by the Bell' Actress Josie Totah Reveals the Best Beauty Advice She Ever Received

The Buccaneers focuses on the story of five young women, portrayed by Kristine Forseth, Alisha Boe, Imogen Waterhouse, Aubri Ibrag and Totah, whose families come from wealth in 1870s New York but find themselves largely excluded by other aristocrats.

When one of the ladies, Conchita Clossen (Boe), marries Lord Richard Marable (Josh Dylan), it prompts the others' families to want the same for their daughters. As a result, the ladies relocate to London, with some of the women looking to marry into British high society to fulfill their social (and personal) life goals.

Totah portrays Mabel Elmsworth in the series. She and Nan St. George (Froseth), the series protagonist, are hesitant to find suitors as their families wish they would. While being forced to spend time with elderly matchmaking women in London, Totah's character strikes up a romance with a woman named Honoria Marable (Mia Threapleton).

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In 2018, Totah came out as a trans woman through a personal letter published by Time. She wrote, "My pronouns are sheher and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah."

She told PEOPLE at the 2024 SCAD TVFest about her experience portraying someone who lived in a time when gender norms were completely restrictive on The Buccaneers, noting that "it was such a beautiful place that we got to film in," but highlighting that she is "really grateful that we live in this time."

The Buccaneers is streaming now on Apple TV+.

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