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Dua Saleh in ‘Sex Education’ Season 3 and their new EP


Dua Saleh is an activist, writer and artist who is known for turning his poems into beautiful songs that address issues such as systemic racism and LGBTQ + rights. Fortunately for us, creativity can now be used in other mediums: Saleh has made his debut as Netflix’s teen drama season Tu Cal Tu Cal. Sex education.

The UK series follows Murdoch High Student Otis (Asa Butterfield), who conducts an underground sex therapy practice on campus, inspired by her real sex therapist mother Jean (Gillian Anderson). Although Otis and Jean are at the center of the show, it’s really the fault of the surrounding high school, starring teachers and bizarre parents. Sex education One of the most intoxicating, authentic and inclusive programs on television.

Saleh Cal is a free-spirited skater who goes to bat with Hope (Jemima Kirke), the new headmistress of Murdoch, after being forced to wear girls’ school uniforms. Like their character, Saleh is nonbinary. Also like their character, Saleh is intimately acquainted with a frustration that lives in a world that tries to box you in. “Cal is not one-dimensional, Cal is someone who has depth and texture কেউ someone is layered, who has complexity,” Saleh told ELLE.com. “I honestly shed tears from time to time on the set.”

Below, their personal experience of playing multi-hyphenate cal, the influential role of fashion in the series and and how Sex education Inspired by their new EP, Crossover.

Sex education Your acting debut. What was it like to be on set for the first time?

The producers all made me feel comfortable, as I made sure people knew my pronouns before I got on the set. All the cast members were really welcome and warm and sweet for me too. Jemima Kirk was really funny. He’s a Taurus, and I’m a Scorpio, so I saw that we were really together. Nice to meet someone I could really connect with.

It’s funny, especially considering how much the two of you have clashed on the show.

I’m not lying, my scene with him was really tough. Sometimes I was afraid to go inside, because I knew his acting was going to be so good. The scene that got me the most was when Hope kicked Cal in the room we had to do again and again. There’s also a scene where Hope “chains” Adam, Lily and Cal on a stage. It was hard for me to process, because there were supporting artists in the audience, so it felt like we were really laughing.

It’s a moment before the season, but I love when Cal is confronted with Hope about the dress code.

It’s beautiful that Cal is so clear about the devastation of their gender depression. It seemed amazing to put that narrative there, because I know for many trans and non-binary people, dysphoria is a subject that is a huge part of their daily lives. Often, it comes down to playing with clothing. Cal felt a surge of sex after pants and a tie, and a suit and baggy dress. It was really nice that they were impressed enough to be honest and say, “I don’t want to wear this” and “I’m not going to wear a skirt.”

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Was your time in high school similar to Cal’s experience?

In high school I was a high school student. I went to class and did after school program and work with the city of St. Paul and organizing town planning, so I wasn’t really worried about how I got dressed. I wore really inappropriate and weird kind of clothes, because I shopped at many more affordable stores. I grew up on a low income. People would occasionally comment on the randomness of the clothes I wore. I’m attracted to a variety of outfits, but one of the things I like most is a flannel shirt with a long, tight floral skirt. People were saying, “I like it. I’ll never wear it, but I like it. It’s different from the way I am now. As I get older, I learn more about gender inconsistency and the term nonbinary and indigenous gender expression.” So I started wearing oolola clothes. I started experimenting with makeup in a way that differs from people’s expectations of what people think about women at birth. I was probably like Cal in my youth when I was younger. We were essentially exactly the same. I don’t wear any kind of clothes, but I wear a binder and most of the clothes I buy are quotes, quotes, from the “men’s category”.

Saleh with TKTK

Sam Taylor / Netflix

What were some of your favorite scenes for the movie?

There’s a moment after Layla [Robyn Holdaway] Feeling confirmed by Cal, when Cal brings a bind to Layla. A few people told me DM- how important it was to come to a non-binary character show, and I just started crying. I was probably emotional in general because doing the show was such a big change in my life, but seeing those messages and seeing a scene about transcendence with another trans person in a way that binds trans people telling them to take care of themselves and not hurt themselves, that’s right. .. I’m just getting emotional right now just talking about it.

That moment seemed very true.

I studied gender and sexuality in college and studied sociology. So I know there is really nothing like this scene in pop culture.

One thing I felt was very important to emphasize was the narrative around Cal’s curiosity, or discussing Cal’s sexuality in general, because I thought it would be important for many non-binary people – especially those who had cisgender partners. Conversation with.

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Speaking of, what do you think of Cal’s relationship with Jackson?

You can see the sparks initially, when they were first seen-beautiful. You could say that they have an instantaneous spark, perhaps a spiritual spark, something like a double flame. But I think it’s beautiful that they were able to be weak with each other and trust each other and be able to love honestly and clearly enough about what they both want and how they both feel in their romantic dynamics.

Cal reinforces the fact that they are non-binary and not a girl, and focuses on how their potential love interest will perceive them and how they will work in that dynamic. Jackson said, “Oh, I have to work on it. So I don’t think it would be right for us to try to keep it going when we’re in two different mental states with gender and sexuality.” [Williams-Stirling, who plays Jackson] And as I rehearsed before taking over, our main focus was trying to get a sense of the melody before moving on to a scene. We talked through some things, either with each other, or with the coordinator of intimacy.

Still sex education

Saleh with actors Kedar Williams-Sterling and Chinie Ijedu Sex education season tu 3.

Sam Taylor / Netflix

What was the process of adjusting the closeness of the set?

An intimacy coordinator was good for me for a variety of reasons, one being that I was Sudanese. We really value our privacy. So our closeness will ensure that the coordinator sets off and there will be as few people as possible. He warmed us up even before the scene that I was particularly concerned about. We’ll do icebreaker and fun little games to make us feel more comfortable. We did compliance activities, asking where exactly to touch and what was comfortable.

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Your new EP, Crossover, 2 September comes out Sex education And make music?

I had a home studio, and I was trying to make as much music as possible, but the filming schedule was so overwhelming that I didn’t have much time to work on it. While I was working on the show, I released a song called “Signs”, but many of the other songs I’ve worked on have not been released. I’ve worked on some songs that will continue Crossover, Which is one of the many changes I’m experiencing right now – my move into the mainstream Sex education, And the hyper-visibility that comes with it. For me, crossover also refers to the kind of music I’m making. I’ve been described as gener-bending in the past, and in this EP, I’ve fused a lot of Afro-diasporic sounds and trans-dialectical pop, influenced by artists like SOPHIE, who invented hyper-pop. The other crossover I feel is my transcendence যা which is eternal. I think I think it’s actually more serious. Honestly, it’s just a lot of party songs, because I think people are in a lot of darkness because of the epidemic and I want people to be able to do something and dance and feel good.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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