This week’s Ready Room features an interview with Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio, who play Gray and Adira on Discovery.
I respect, admire, and genuinely like both of these young actors. I can’t imagine the responsibility and weight they carry, not just as young people in a cast of adults (something I’m familiar with and will get into in a quick second), but also as transgender actors who represent so much for so many people. I don’t know how they feel about that. We talk about it a little bit in the interview, but it must be exhausting to constantly hear, “…as a trans person blah blah blah” when something like “…as a person blah blah blah” is an option. It’s a fine line to walk that I’m still learning how to navigate, and I hope I did it with respect and grace.
Now I want to make this all about me for a moment, because this week and next week, you’re going to hear a little bit from me, personally, about how Discovery and its characters have directly touched my life in deeply meaningful ways.
Here’s what I said in this week’s Ready Room, about Adira and Gray:
This week, we have two special guests joining me right here in the studio: Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio, who play Gray and Adira on Star Trek: Discovery. And real quick before we get to the interview, I’m going to beg your patient indulgence for a brief, personal, sidebar.
It is no secret that I have tremendous respect and admiration for these two actors. We share a similar experience, as the only very young actors on a Star Trek series. And it’s comforting to me to know that there are a few other people in this world who, in their own way, also know what it’s like to be a kid in Starfleet. It’s a small club, and it’s pretty cool to be part of it. At least, it is for me. I do not presume to speak for anyone else who meets the membership requirements.
But I do want to share how much Adira, specifically, means to me, personally. As an ensign on Discovery, Adira is everything I ever hoped Wesley Crusher could be. Surrounded by extraordinary adults, they are a respected, valued, trusted member of their crew. And they don’t take it for granted. We get to watch them work hard to earn and keep it. Starfleet is better, because they are part of it.
In what I think is my best episode of Next Generation, Final Mission, Picard says, “I envy you, Wesley Crusher. You’re just at the beginning of the adventure.” I didn’t fully understand what that meant, then. But watching Adira and Gray begin their adventure, right now? I do. I get it. And that’s pretty cool, too.
Thank you for your patient indulgence. We now return to The Ready Room, already in progress.
Hosting Ready Room is so cool for me. I get to occupy this space as both a veteran of the Star Trek universe, part of what we’re calling Legacy Star Trek (let me tell you how old that makes me feel), while I am also a huge fan.
It is my goal as the host of the Ready Room to bring my fellow nerds into the room where it happens, by asking questions and relating to experiences that I hope are as interesting to the audience as they are to me. This season on Ready Room, there are a couple of episodes that really landed on me in unexpected and profound ways. I chose to talk about those experiences with my guests, and the part of me that is just drowning in endless, bottomless, relentless anxiety has been screaming at me ever since that I fucked up. The rational part of me is telling that other part of me to take a deep breath and trust my instincts that it’s all okay, maybe it’s even good. But WOW am I anxious about all of it.
Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity to say in public, in front of Star Trek and the world, how much these actors mean to me, and how much Adira, specifically, means to me, personally, as the guy who played Wesley Crusher.