Nickelodeon has made history by casting its first-ever openly trans actor in the live-action superhero show Danger Force.
In a first for the television channel, 13-year-old actor Sasha Cohen has been cast alongside his twin sister, Natalie Cohen.
Sasha will star in an episode set to air 19 June, written and directed by fellow Danger Force star Michael Cohen, who is not related to the siblings.
“I had never felt comfortable about who I am, and I always thought that I would never play a transgender role,” Sasha told Variety.
“But there are so many kids out there who need to see someone like them – a role model who has the ability to put themselves out there.”
“I want Sasha to see his own power as an actor and as a human,” Michael added.
“I want him to feel proud of his work and feel real confident in himself in every aspect and to know that he will help change kids’ lives by being the first kid of trans experience on Nickelodeon in live-action.”
Sasha’s role came after Michael launched the Trans Youth Acting Challenge in December to act as a springboard for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming youth to break into show business.
The casting call culminated with a virtual masterclass taught by Michael, in which he received some 200 applications vying for the 15 coveted spots – one of which went to Sasha.
After the news was broken, Sasha shared a photo on his Instagram account from the Danger Force set of him and stars Terrence Little Gardenhigh and Dana Heath.
“I had so much fun working on Danger Force and I can’t wait to see the episode!” he added in another post.
The episode Sasha is set to debut in, entitled “Manlee Men”, will see him and Natalie star as fashion-forward twins who help the main heroes as part of the 100th annual Swellview Fashion Show.
In 2019, Michael revealed that he himself is trans and transitioned in his 20s. Telling Time: “I was misgendered at birth.
“I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience – a transgender journey.”