Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Mexican Netflix star making waves in the activist community

Exploding onto the scene in Netflix’s harrowing drama “Baby Reindeer,” Nava Mau is a Mexican filmmaker, actress and advocate making waves on and off the screen. Born in Mexico City in 1992, she was raised in San Antonio, Texas, and Oakland, California. Mau’s multicultural background and transgender identity has deeply influenced her work and drives her commitment to pushing boundaries.

Beyond being a star of the screen though, Mau has spent much of her career advocating for justice and supporting the victims of gender violence.

Activism and awards

Mau’s work has revolved around cultural issues and how to foster positive change. She received her BA in Linguistics & Cognitive Science from California’s Pomona College, after studying in Paris and conducting research in Guadalajara. She then worked with survivors of violence for three years; first with immigrant survivors as a legal assistant, and then as a peer counselor and advocate for LGBTQ+ survivors of violence.

In 2019, Mau starred in, directed and produced “Waking Hour.” In this poignant film, she portrays a young transgender woman navigating the desire for intimacy while grappling with safety concerns. Her impactful storytelling earned her the NewFest Audience Award and a YoSoy Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for her advocacy work as a Latinx creator.

A trailblazer in the entertainment industry

Mau was a production fellow for the Netflix documentary “Disclosure,” delving into the representation of transgender people in the media. She then worked as a producer for the Sundance-premiered short film “Work,” along with producing the short films “Sam’s Town” and “Lovebites,” further solidifying her presence in the industry. As an actress, Mau shines with depth and authenticity in her role as a series regular in HBO Max’s “Generation.”

Baby Reindeer catapulted her into global stardom

Mau’s role in “Baby Reindeer” has significantly raised her public profile. A 2024 Netflix series about the creator’s real-life trauma, Her starring role is part of the reason for the series’ success.

In “Baby Reindeer,” Donny is a struggling comedian and bartender. When he offers tea to a stranger who walks into his bar, his kind gesture sparks an obsessive fixation. Meanwhile, Donny is struggling to build a meaningful relationship with his girlfriend, a trans woman named Teri. 

Baby Reindeer | Official Trailer | Netflix

Mau has received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Teri, who serves as a source of stability amidst the turmoil caused by Martha’s obsession. Her authentic portrayal highlights the importance of representing transgender characters in mainstream media. Gadd has confirmed that Teri is based on a real person he was dating at the time.

Soon, events take a dark turn as it explores topics including identity, trauma, shame and validation. In an interview for Vogue, Mau said that a huge part of daily life for a lot of trans people is having to contend with other people’s shame and judgment. Furthermore, she emphasizes that men can also be survivors of trauma and violence and it’s crucial to address these issues.

Nava Mau: leading the fight for social justice

Mau is a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and the empowerment and visibility of people of all genders. Mau’s work addresses topics ranging from gender identity to violence prevention. As her profile has risen, she has used her visibility to push for systemic change in the entertainment industry and beyond. Her dedication to breaking down barriers is an inspiration in the fight for equality and social justice.

Mau’s remarkable journey speaks volumes about her courage and talent. With each project, she reaffirms her dedication to amplifying marginalized voices and driving meaningful change. Her authentic storytelling and activism inspire embracing diversity as the new norm. As we continue to witness her impactful career, we are reminded of the transformative power of art for creating a more compassionate world.

Whatever she chooses to do next, Nava Mau looks set to continue her rise to stardom.

Sandra Gancz Kahan is a Mexican writer and translator based in San Miguel de Allende. who specializes in mental health and humanitarian aid. She believes in the power of language to foster compassion and understanding across cultures. She can be reached at: [email protected] 


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