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NC Actor From ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ Pushes Boundaries In Hollywood

Courtesy of Lachlan Watson

Raleigh-native Lachlan Watsongot their start in acting by being at the right place at the right time. As the smart, quirky kid who hung out at Burning Coal Theatre while their mom worked front of house, Watson got called in to play all kinds of roles, from a child in the throes of the Enron scandal to a dog. Their acting chops earned them many future roles including the titular part in “Henry VI,” but it was the experience of playing such a wide swath of characters that Watson says helped them learn to express their identity in an authentic way. 

Seventeen-year-old Watson identifies as genderqueer or non-binary and currently stars as the nonbinary character Susie Putnam in the Netflix series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” The show has been a massive success and thrown Watson and their own personal story into the limelight. Watson wakes up to hundreds of messages a day from parents, teachers, and gender-nonconforming kids who are thrilled about the Susie storyline and what it represents for others around the country.

I like to think about my gender journey as a three-part opera in a way ... It was a revolution against the system. I don't have to live my life and do the things to my body that the world tells me that I have to do. - Lachlan Watson

Being myself at all is seen as an act of rebellion. It's hard being yourself when being yourself holds you back in a way ...It's overwhelming to be one of the only ones. It's hard to not see yourself reflected. - Lachlan Watson

While Watson is clear to express that that they and Susie are not the same person, Watson has used their own personal experience to shape the character and encourage the show’s writers and showrunner to be more sensitive to a storyline that will resonate with other genderqueer kids.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Lachlan Watson about their acting career, the upcoming second season of the show and their hopes for a less-binary Hollywood future.

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Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.