The strength of a hero is not just defined by their powers. Who they are, outside of those uncomfortable looking tights, is just as important. A hero with a strong sense of character has the ability to do what’s right, and turn their long and difficult journey into a message of hope for everyone who sees them. With that being the case, Nicole Maines is just as much a superhero offscreen as she is on.
Maines is an actor and transgender rights activist, and if you’re reading this, you probably know her from her role as Nia Nal/Dreamer in The CW’s hit series, Supergirl. Maines has portrayed Nia, an original character, since 2018, joining the team’s main roster during the fourth season. With Supergirl coming to an end with the current sixth season, we thought that now was as good a time as ever to sit down with Nicole Maines (remotely of course, we are still in a panini) and talk about her role in the show, Dreamer’s future, and even a little bit about her life outside of playing the character. Read on below.
First off, I just wanted to say how incredible it is to be able to chat with you today. As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, it’s always great to be able to sit down and talk to people such as yourself who are making waves and really representing.
Nicole Maines: Well thank you! It’s great to be here.
So it’s been a bit of a rough year, to say the least. Everyone’s kind of been coping the best they can and kind of doing different hobbies during quarantine. What have you been up to during this pandemic?
I’ve mainly just been doing the whole Disney Plus thing. I discovered it kind of late. I’ve just been rediscovering blanket forts and watching movies all day. I watched all the Star Wars movies and I think I watched Beauty and the Beast over ten times [laughs]. Oh! And I worked on a comic book, because what else are you gonna do during this, right?
Speaking of, is there anything you can maybe tell us about Dreamer’s comic book debut?
Of course! It’s part of the DC Pride anthology. What I wanted to do with the story was talk about Dreamer as Dreamer, you know, as a person. It’s not necessarily as grounded in her queerness, more about Dreamer being herself, being as Dreamer as she can be! I tried to throw in a hunch of references from the show and from other comics too, so there’s definitely some things for long time Dreamer fans to be excited about.
Well I’m a bit of a light shipper when it comes to certain pairings, and I’m definitely a fan of Nia and Brainy as a thing. Are we going to be seeing more of them in the future, whether in the Arrowverse or the comics?
Well I don’t know much about the future of the Arrowverse, but I can say that Brainy will have a cameo in the comics. I’m already working on the title, I’m calling it “Date Night Debut.”
Can’t wait to read it! Supergirl is unfortunately coming to an end soon. Obviously leaving the set is gonna be hard, but is there anything in particular you’re going to miss most about your time on the show?
I think obviously the cast. I’m very afraid of not being in close proximity of all of them [laughs]. I’ve learned to love them all so much. But I think [the best thing] about Supergirl was getting to read new Dreamer stories every week. Because I’m as much a fan as anybody of her. So my favorite thing was getting the script and getting to see what Dreamer was up to this week, and getting her to evolve. She went from a girl falling asleep at her desk to one of the strongest heroes in the universe!
Dreamer is definitely a powerful character in terms of superpowers, but she’s also a very strong character because of who she is. Being the first openly transgender superhero, that’s a big deal. Is there anything that you hope fans will take away from her journey, as well as your own developing the character?
I hope people watching her take away that there is no thing that defines you. Our identity is made up of a bunch of different characteristics and traits and we are not defined by any one of those things. We’re an amalgamation of everything that makes us who we are and we have a right to be proud of that. And we should not have to hide who we are from anybody.
Going back to Dreamer’s influence on others, who are some people that you look up to personally?
Um, well I think the cheesy answer is parents [laughs]. When I was a kid, especially coming out in the late ’90s/early ’00s, there wasn’t nearly as much information regarding trans youth as there was now, and my mother was kind of on her own trying to figure out what the best course of action was. She always fought for me, even when my dad wasn’t fully on board, because it was a confusing time. My dad finally jumped on board when people started targeting me and my family and he basically said “I’ll be damned before I let you hurt my family!” They really put everything aside to help me and my brother and to me that’s the definition of a superhero.
That’s so sweet.
Don’t Tell them I said that!
Haha, I’ll keep it hush.
[laughs] Good, I have a reputation to uphold after all.
So last one, and this is just a bit of a fun one. I know you can’t say TOO much about Dreamer’s comic future, but just as hypothetical: If you could have Nia face off against any big bad from DC Comics, who would you choose?
Hmm, Scarecrow. I think his fear toxin, that whole nightmare shtick would be a great match up against Dreamer’s powers. Plus, I’d get to team up with Batman!
Personally, I would love to see Dreamer team up with Harley Quinn!
I would love that! Harley would just be doing her thing and Nia would be like “Ahhh you’re so cool but you’re kind of wild” [laughs].
It was amazing getting the chance to sit down and talk with Nicole Maines. Her journey both off and onscreen is full of inspiration, and I can’t wait to see where she goes next, and where she takes Dreamer. In the meantime, you can watch Dreamer in Supergirl, currently on it’s sixth and final season, airing Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW!