We had a chance to speak with the lovely Nikohl Boosheri about her character, Adena El-Amin, on The Bold Type! After her first appearance in the pilot for the show back in 2017, she quickly became a fan favorite and has been ever since! The importance of her character is so significant and her portrayal of Adena has touched so many people. And how much she cares about the fans of the show and of the representation she brings is reflected in her answers below!
On The Bold Type Season 4, Adena is now working at Scarlet with Kat, Jane, and Sutton, and finds herself at odds with RJ Safford after he refuses to publish an art piece of hers. Her and Kat are now working together to get an important piece on conversion therapy out into the world. Keep reading for Nikohl Boosheri’s thoughts on what’s happening!
Remediality: Before we begin, I just want to say that I really admire your work on [The Bold Type], and I feel like they picked the perfect person to play Adena.
Nikohl Boosheri: Oh my god, that’s just — thank you so much. I really appreciate that.
What are your thoughts on Adena working at Scarlet this season and who would you like to see her work with more?
Man, I really love the storyline we have right now where Kat and Adena kinda get to team up not only as friends but as coworkers and tackle an issue that is obviously important to the both of them. I love working with Sutton. And I don’t feel like I get to work with Jane as often, so that would be nice. I love working with [Melora Hardin] and just to watch work to be honest. That was a real treat this season for me as well.
What was your reaction to learning about Adena’s backstory, [specifically] learning she had been sent to conversion therapy by her father?
I think we always — In my own work that I’ve done for my backstory, there was definitely friction with her father in the sense that he didn’t accept her, and she had a hard time coming out to her family and she’s been really estranged from her family for a long time. So it was nice to dive into that deeper, and it’s nice to see because Adena is such an inspiring figure that, yes, these things are going on and yes, she’s been through so much, but with perserverance, love, and strength she’s been able to rise above dome of the experiences that she has had. That was nice to tackle that a little.
Do you feel like you’re similar to Adena and is there anything you’ve learned from playing her?
I do feel like there are similarities to me and also to a lot of people in my life that I’ve kind of shaped her around, but I always say, when I’m asked this question, that Adena is way more badass and way more brave than I am. And always, whenever I read a new script, I’m like, “Oh my god, she said that? She did that? Okay!” So it’s so much fun for me to play a character who is just really unapologetically herself, and has kind of worked through the parts of herself that could be considered a weakness and she’s used those as her strength and as her armor. I think that we all could learn something from that.
What does playing Adena, the first muslim lesbian on television, mean to you, and what is it like being a part of such important representation?
I think we’re all really passionate about that, and it’s why there’s so much love in the cast and the writers. I remember when I was cast, I didn’t really realize that I was the only one, and I think it was before the first season premiered that I was trying to rack my brain to find another example and I just couldn’t. It was really scary, I think, before it premiered to see what the response would be and, you know, are we approaching this the right way and am I being sensitive enough?
But I think the fan reaction has been so overwhelmingly positive, at least from what I can tell, and that makes me really feel good. That there is a search for these kind of characters, and I think we can even push them and push [for] more. I don’t think people are afraid to see someone who has a different experience than their own. So there’s that, and then I think it’s such relief and so empowering for people who do share those experiences to see themselves represented on-screen. So I don’t feel like there’s any loss there and there’s still so much to do there.
Like you said, fan reaction has been so positive. When I said I was interviewing you, my comments were flooded with people wanting me to tell you how much you mean to them and how much they love you. Fans of the [The Bold Type] adore you.
That’s just so amazing because thinking about my own experience growing up and being Iranian and being different, I would never have expected that. I think it can be a lesson that no matter what experience you’re having, you’re really not alone.”
Is there anything you can tease about Adena’s role in the mid-season finale and what her dynamic is like with Kat?
I think her and Kat are kind of rediscovering and redefining their relationship and their friendship and what that means for them. I think a lot of it, a lot of that bonding, happens because of their passion for the issues that are close to them and also their unflinching need to support each other and be a backbone to each other always no matter the situation.
[What do] you admire about Kat and Adena’s relationship?
Because I’ve had a few relationships similar where you know that you can’t lose that person in your life, [that] they bring too much value and they bring out sides of you that don’t exist or that you miss when they’re not around, you’re forced to constantly redefine your relationship so that there are healthy boundaries. It’s difficult, but ultimately it’s worth it, and I think they’re really lucky to have found that because a lot of people don’t get to experience that.
There’s something beautiful about that. Because, ultimately, they become like family. You don’t always get along, and you’re not always healthy [laughs], but I think that they’re committed. And you see that more in this season, now that they have these issues that they’re passionate about to work through together, they really realize and are committed in making it the healthiest version that they can be right now at this time.
What do you hope to explore in the future with both Adena as an individual and in her relationship with Kat?
As an individual, I’d really love to see her — you know, you kind of realize this season that Adena is a little outside of her comfort zone in the corporate world, and she’s always been this very strong character who goes after what she wants. So to see her struggle and come up against that system, I think is very interesting. So I’d like to see more of that and more of her interacting with the group. I’m just so jealous. I want to be in the fashion closet. I’m waiting for my invite.
Right! I think you’ve earned [being in the fashion closet].
Right! I mean it’s season 4! Come on! [laughs]
After being on the show for four seasons, what do you think has been you favorite scene to film?
[Laughs] I know that it was so short and I was barely in there, but this scene in I think season 2, Adena gets to go to the club with the girls and there’s that one shot where four of them are standing all next to each other and they walk in and they stop in line before they separate. That was super fun… that I got to be apart of the girl gang.
I hope we get to see more of that!
Me too! Me too!
Thanks so much to Nikohl Boosheri for speaking with us! Don’t miss her as Adena El-Amin in The Bold Type mid season finale!
The Bold Type Season 4 Episode 10 airs on Thursday May 26th at 9 p.m. ET. on Freeform!