Bold, Beautiful, and Unexpected

Scott Schofield 02C breaks new ground with soap opera role

By Paige Parvin 96G

Schofield

Olivia Hemaratanatorn

Plot Twist: Scott Schofield 02C (left) is making television history as the first transgender actor to appear in a daytime drama, The Bold and the Beautiful.

Television fans are known for their fierce loyalty to their favorite shows, and there is arguably no more dedicated audience than those who follow daytime drama.

“Soap opera fans are the best, most engaged fans,” says actor Scott Turner Schofield 02C. “These are people who watch stories play out, 28 minutes at a time, five days a week, about love and loss and daily drama. They love their stories and characters.”

That’s one reason why Schofield was thrilled to be cast in a recurring guest role on The Bold and the Beautiful early last year. But for Schofield, the part is more than an acting job; it’s also a continuation of the social justice and diversity education work he’s been doing since he was an Emory student. On the popular, long-running soap, Schofield is Nick—a transgender man who mentors one of the main characters, Maya, as she reveals her own male-to-female transgender identity to family and friends. Schofield is the first openly transgender actor to play a major role on daytime TV.
“It’s really remarkable that The Bold and the Beautiful has made a lead character transgender,” Schofield says. “Maya is a consistent role, she has a family on the show who supports her. It’s amazing.”

Schofield’s own story could be a soap opera plot. When he got engaged to his fiancée in early 2015, he moved to Los Angeles to be with her and joined an acting studio—a sort of farm team for would-be actors. About two weeks later, a contact from the studio tipped him off that a casting director for The Bold and the Beautiful was looking for a trans actor. With no agent, Schofield managed to get the audition and then the part—a month after moving to L.A. He’s now done 15 episodes and expects that the recurring role could continue for years as Maya’s character evolves.
Although this is his first professional TV role, Schofield is a seasoned actor, performer, and speaker. He has toured internationally with his original solo performances Underground Transit, Debutante Balls, and Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps, which was commissioned by the National Performance Network. His fresh, edgy, and warmly funny voice has garnered much acclaim, including a “Fruitie” audience choice award for Best Off-Broadway Performance, and a Princess Grace Foundation Acting Fellowship. He also has published a memoir, Two Truths and a Lie.

Née Katie Kilborn, Schofield came to Emory as an out lesbian, and found opportunities as a student to explore questions of gender and sexual identity. “I needed to educate myself and find context,” he says. “Emory gave me the space and support to deeply investigate, personally and academically. Emory recognizes nontraditional identities and supports all cultural backgrounds. I appreciate that it is very welcoming and progressive.” Schofield earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies in society and culture, a self-directed major that encompassed history, gender studies, cultural studies, creative writing, and theater studies. He also performed with Theater Emory.

In addition to The Bold and the Beautiful, Schofield has several other projects in the works, including a children’s book and a movie deal for Becoming a Man. He recognizes that he’s building a career around being a trans actor, and he’s okay with that. He has heard from many B and B fans whose lives have been changed by his role—such as a trans man who works in a nursing home and was afraid to reveal his gender identity, until he overheard a group of elderly residents and fans talk about how they love the Nick and Maya storyline. That gave him the courage.

“I might not have the privilege of being able to work just as an actor, but it will be worth it,” Schofield says. “In 20 years, there will be trans actors, and people won’t even know they are trans. For now, I am grateful that my diversity is being seen as an asset. That’s new, and it represents something. I feel like I’m here at a good time.”

Email the editor