Janet Mock Becomes First Black Transgender Woman to Secure Landmark Overall Deal With Netflix

Janet Mock has made history by becoming the first Black transgender woman to sign a landmark overall deal with a major studio.The “Pose” director, producer, and writer signed a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix. The landmark deal gives Netflix exclusive rights to Mock’s TV series and a first-look option on any feature film projects, Variety reported.

Mock will continue to work as a writer-director on Ryan Murphy’s “Pose,” while also serving as an executive producer and director on Murphy’s upcoming Netflix series, “Hollywood.”“This deal is so bonkers,” Mock said in a video announcing the deal posted on Twitter. “This is the first kind of deal of its kind for a trans person, no less a trans woman of color.”She continued, “You know, 84 percent of Americans say that they don’t know and/or work with a trans person. And so, there’s potential now with Netflix’s worldwide audience to introduce millions, hundreds of millions of viewers to trans people and showing people who may not understand us that we can tell our own stories.”

Mock told Variety, which first reported the deal, that she never expected Hollywood to embrace her. “And more than embraced,” she said. “Given not just a seat at the table but a table of my own making.” She added that she hopes the deal will empower people to tell their own stories.

In the video announcement, Mock revealed that she will be writing, directing, and developing a few “hush-hush” projects. One of her projects is described as a college series that follows a young transgender woman. Other projects include a series about post-slavery New Orleans as well as a classic sitcom reboot. According to Variety, Mock is interviewing creative executives for her still-unnamed production banner. Netflix did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment. But in a statement to Variety, Netflix VP of Original Content Cindy Holland called Mock a “creative force” who will fit in at the streaming service.

“As a best-selling author, producer, and director, Janet Mock has demonstrated she knows how to bring her vision to thrilling, vivid life,” Holland said. “She’s a groundbreaker and creative force who we think will fit right in here at Netflix.” Mock’s colleague and mentor Murphy said that he knew she was “a star and had the stuff moguls are made of” the first time he met her. “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,” Murphy told Variety.

The “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator added: “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.”

Mock, who was born in Hawaii, transitioned as a teenager, Variety reported. The 36-year-old was a journalist and editor before writing her bestselling memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. The FX series “Pose” depicts New York’s LGBTQ ballroom scene during the 1980s and 90s, according to TechCrunch. In March, while presenting the GLAAD Vanguard Award to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Mock spoke on the importance of transgender representation in pop culture, Variety reported. Mock is one of a few transgender creators to reach this echelon in Hollywood right now. Directors Lilly and Lana Wachowski, who created “The Matrix” franchise and the Netflix series “Sense8,” are regarded as trailblazing transgender figures in the industry. Meanwhile, Jill Soloway, the creator of “Transparent” who identifies as non-binary, has a deal with Amazon. Shows such as “Tales of the City,” the “L Word” reboot, and “Orange is The New Black,” have provided a platform transgender writers and actors to thrive.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.