If you were a fan of Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven and have since followed its Disney+’s ongoing spinoff Raven’s Home, you’ll know Raven Baxter’s life (though still played by the amazing Raven-Symoné) is pretty different.
The beloved series’ spinoff follows a grown-up Raven, now a divorced mom of twins, and fellow divorcée and childhood BFF Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol). Recently, Raven-Symoné stopped by Levi Chambers’s PRIDE podcast and revealed she was actually asked by Disney if she wanted the character to be a lesbian — and she declined for an important reason.
Raven, who has been publicly out since 2013, got married to Miranda Pearman-Maday in June 2020. But just because the actor who plays a character is queer, it doesn’t mean the character also has to be queer – just like it doesn’t work the other way around. “The reason I said ‘no’ wasn’t because I wasn’t proud of who I was, or I didn’t want to represent the LGBTQ+ community in any way. It was because Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter. There was no reason for me to change the human that she was in order to fit the actress that played her,” Raven explained.
“Raven Baxter is a character that I was proud to play. Even if she is straight, cisgender, I don’t mind, let her have her moment,” the actor continued. “I didn’t want to change who she was. When you really start blending your personal self with your character self, it’s even harder. Like, I’m stereotyped for the rest of my life. Let’s just keep it 100. You know what I mean? If you ever see me in another character, you see Raven Baxter, and that’s just what the deal is.”
While on the podcast, Raven also took the opportunity to talk about landing roles since she decided to come out publicly and the stereotyping that came with it. “There was a very prominent Black show that asked me to come on when I first came out and they wanted me to be the lesbian representation of all lesbians,” Raven narrates. “They had this stereotype of what this character should be and I turned it down. I remember people in my camp were like, ‘this is your moment.’ I said, ‘No, no, no. You know, if I get into this and I start representing that… I’m not going to say label, but more of identity, if I’m going to start representing really my true identity on screen is not going to be in a stereotypical fashion. It’s not going to be written from a straight person’s mindset. It’s going to be more authentic. I’ve had to really cross that threshold of acting within that lesbian world. So, that’s probably where my frustration lies at the most. And not just here but also on my size.”
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