Writer-director and transgender activist Janet Mock has just inked an overall deal with Netflix, making her the first transgender woman to helm a slate of shows for a major content platform.
Mock — who served as a director and producer on the FX hit Pose (a love letter to New York’s ballroom scene in the 80s) — has signed a three-year “multimillion-dollar” deal with the digital giant, per Variety. In return, Netflix will receive exclusive rights to Mock’s future TV ventures, as well as a first-look at feature films. At the same time, Mock will be able to continue to serve as a writer-director on Pose.
Mock was brought into the Pose fold by series creator Ryan Murphy — who inked his own deal with Netflix in early 2018 that’s rumored to be worth $300 million. As part of her pact, Mock will also serve as an EP and director on Murphy’s third Netflix series Hollywood, which he has described as “a love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown.”
Variety notes that Mock’s forthcoming programming ventures will seek to target and tell the stories of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in the entertainment industry. Mock is currently interviewing execs to join her production company. Projects in the works include a college-set drama about a trans woman, a series about New Orleans after the abolishment of slavery, and an as-yet-unnamed classic sitcom reboot. Mock also plans to adapt a memoir she wrote in 2014 titled Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.
“As someone who grew up in front of the TV screen, whether that was watching talk shows or family sitcoms or VHS films, I never thought that I would be embraced,” Mock, who transitioned as a teenager and formerly worked as a People magazine editor before becoming a transgender rights advocate, tells Variety. “And more than embraced. Given not just a seat at the table, but a table of my own making.”
“Upon my first meeting with Janet, I knew she was a star and had the stuff moguls are made of,” Murphy told Variety. “Being able to watch her grow, first as a writer, then a producer, and now an acclaimed director who’s helmed four episodes for my productions, has been a gift. I am honored to be her mentor and friend, am grateful she’ll be joining me to write and direct on Hollywood, and am so excited to see what she creates at Netflix. Janet is a cultural force, and the world needs her stories.”
Other trans TV executives have been fairly few and far between, Variety notes. Jill Soloway, who created Transparent for Amazon, identifies as non-binary, while The Matrix sister directing duo Lilly and Lana Wachowski — both of whom are trans women — also created the Netflix hit Sense8.