Alex Newell (‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’): It’s ‘refreshing’ to have gender fluid characters be ‘represented’ and ‘seen’ on TV [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“Everything we do, we do with our whole heart, souls and mind,” declares Alex Newell about working on NBC’s musical comedy “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” “I think it comes from such an authentic place from the actors’ standpoint,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Newell above.

SEE Jane Levy Interview: ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’

In “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” after a freak accident Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy) can see and hear strangers, friends and family unknowingly sing about their intimate feelings to her through pop music. It’s an emotional roller coaster that wears its heart on its sleeve particularly when it explores themes like empathy, love and loss so poignantly through song and dance.

Newell plays Zoey’s neighbor and confidante Mo, who shares some similarities with Newell in that he is gender fluid and non-conforming, and can belt out a tune unlike almost anyone else on television.

SEE Emmy spotlight: Is ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ a dark-horse contender for Best Comedy Series?

Newell relished the opportunity to play a character that is non-binary. “I want someone younger than me to have someone that they can look up to and I think it starts with taking a risk. Growing up, I didn’t see anyone that looked like me on television,” he says, noting that while he is comfortable with the “he” and “him” pronoun, he is not too fussed about it and likes to let others decide what they’re comfortable with.

At the end of the day, for Newell, it is all about living authentically and representing that on network television. “It’s so refreshing that TV is starting to accept and understand that it’s something that is not going away,” he explains. “More and more people are living their lives this way and they’re people that need to be represented and people that need to be seen.”

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