Janet Mock makes history at Netflix as first trans woman with overall studio deal


After her groundbreaking work producing, writing, and directing FX's hit Ryan Murphy series Pose, Janet Mock has blazed another trail for transgender people in the entertainment industry.

Upon signing a three-year, multimillion-dollar pact with Netflix, the 36-year-old became the first black trans woman in history to secure an overall deal with a major studio, the streaming giant announced Wednesday via Variety.

The contract gives the streaming giant exclusive rights to Mock's upcoming TV projects, as well as a first-look option on her feature films. Per the agreement, Mock will become an executive producer and director on Murphy's new series Hollywood, which the TV mastermind has described as "a love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown."

"I of course will be writing, directing, and developing a few hush-hush projects that I can't really talk about. But, one of them is a half-hour drama, and another is a college series, so I'm really excited for that!" Mock revealed in a video tied to the announcement. "This is the first deal of its kind for a trans person, no less a trans woman of color. Eighty-four percent of Americans say they don't know and/or work with a trans person, so there's potential now - with Netflix's worldwide audience - to introduce hundreds of millions of viewers to trans people, and show people who may not understand us that we can tell our own stories!"

The Variety article further elaborated on Mock's plans, indicating she is currently interviewing creative executives for her untitled production banner, while the aforementioned college-set drama will follow a young trans woman and a different project will take place in New Orleans after the abolishment of slavery. A reboot of a classic sitcom and an adaptation of Mock's 2014 memoir Redefining Realness are also reportedly in the works.

"It's anchored deeply in my own experience," Mock told the publication of the college-set series. "She decides to not be so open about being trans. What does it mean for a trans girl to just be in college? Just have her on a journey, and not so focused on her identity or origin story. What does it mean to be in this body and this world and to share space with people who don't yet know you?"

Though Mock is the first black trans woman to assume creative control at a major studio, she joins the likes of LGBTQIA+ leaders like the non-binary Transparent creator Jill Soloway, who has a production deal at Amazon, and Lilly and Lana Wachowski, who helmed The Matrix franchise before producing the sci-fi series Sense8 for Netflix.

"The reason I wanted to write was that I could tell the truth. In that sense, my career, for me, really started when I stepped forward and told my own story," Mock previously told EW of her career ambitions. "As a young trans person of color, there had been no affirming images for me. And so I was basically like, 'Bitch, I guess you gotta do it.'"

Mock is represented by CAA, 3 Arts, and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. Read Variety's full story here, and check out EW's cover story on Mock and five other LGBTQIA+ trailblazers here.

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