Nia, played by Nicole Maines, putting on the suit for the first time will be a major moment on The CW series as Dreamer marks the fist-ever transgender super hero on American television. For Maines, it's an amazing accomplishment, one that is only starting to sink in.
"It is so amazing," Maines told ComicBook.com in a recent interview. "Of course, I was so, so, excited about the suit. It came out so, so amazing. The photographs were also just incredible. They sent it to me the evening before they were going to post it. They said, 'You can send this to some of your friends, but don't post it on social media. Make sure it doesn't go anywhere.' I was like, 'Okay. I'll just send this to everybody.'"
"I mean, just seeing the reaction from people has been so amazing," Maines continued. "I think we're all in the same boat, where seeing that first picture was kind of like, 'Wow, we have a trans superhero' It really became real and it sunk in. Being able to fan girl with people on social media has been really, really great. I mean, because I was like, 'Guys, believe me. I am a lot more excited than the rest of you. I am freaking out.'"
That freak-out encompasses more than just the idea of a trans superhero with the visibility that comes from being on Supergirl. It also has a lot to do with the fact that the character is being portrayed authentically as Maines herself is a transgender woman, though not all fans are aware of that.
"I mean, setting out to cast trans actors in trans roles is so important," Maines said. "Now seeing Nia suited up as Dreamer has been like, 'We did it.' This is what we can do. It just makes it so much more meaningful and so much more like ... I've seen so many folks on social media be like ... It's really weird. People are like, 'Wow.' People assume, without knowing me, they hired a cis actress to play a trans role. They're like, 'Well, this is great, but I wish they'd have hired a trans actress.' Someone comes in and they're like, 'Um, they did.' They're like, 'What?' I'm like, 'Hey kids.'"
Even with some people not initially realizing that the character is, in fact, being played by a trans actress, Maines said that it's been gratifying to make a difference through her role as Nia.
"Being able to put your two cents in there. Being able to be political and to stick up for minority and marginalized people, while doing something that you love, while making entertainment, feels really, really great," Maines said. "Being able to go to work every day and be like, 'I am making a difference. I am adding to the conversation.' That feels really good. When you're having a bad day and you're like, 'You know, but this show means so much to so many people," Then, seeing every time something happens on TV and how people react to it on social media. That's like, 'Wow, this is a tangible difference.'"1comments
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Maines' Dreamer will suit up for the first time in "Menagerie" on February 17th.
Additional reporting by Russ Burlingame.