Quintessa Swindell gives a committed performance as Tabitha, the student from an affluent background, in “Trinkets.” But the role in the Portland-filmed Netflix series at first felt like a stretch, Swindell recalls.
“When I first read her,” Swindell says, “I thought, no, I can’t do that, I’m not that type of person. I don’t know where she’s coming from. I just didn’t see myself in her.”
But then, Swindell says, “I started understanding” that Tabitha was more complex than she initially seems. “After I dropped my own personal ego,” Swindell says, “I saw Tabitha, with so much grace and strength.”
When Tabitha first appears in “Trinkets,” she seems like a rather snooty teen, who’s very conscious of her status. But as Tabitha forms a friendship with fellow high schoolers Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand) and Moe (Kiana Madeira), viewers see there’s much more to Tabitha than her polished surface might indicate.
Swindell, 22, says that “Trinkets,” which combines youthful characters with scenes that often feature adult language and content, is “relatable” for a variety of viewers.
“I feel like growing up, so many of us have had friends who have gone through experiences similar to those in the show,” Swindell says.
The fact that “Trinkets” presents a group of diverse characters is appealing to Swindell, who identifies as non-binary and gender non-conforming, and uses “they/them” pronouns.
“Absolutely,” says Swindell. “It’s a privilege growing up in this current time frame, with people being so open and reaching out, and helping a non-binary person, or any queer person, or any person who identifies as being other, be completely comfortable with how they want to be identified.”
Swindell says that “the people at Netflix were so gracious, and everyone was so supportive. I was given this golden opportunity,” and they felt the message was, “you can be whoever you want to be. It’s your career, and you should be empowered to do these things.”
In terms of role models, Swindell says, “I feel like every person has to have their own experience and momentum,” but, “if there’s an icon, I look up to Laverne Cox,” who starred in “Orange is the New Black” and “Doubt.”
Swindell admires how Cox “speaks about her identity as a trans woman, and a woman in general, and the way she balances that with her activism, and her work.”
Though Netflix hasn’t yet announced if “Trinkets” will have a second season, Swindell says, “I hope so, one hundred percent. Any opportunity to go back to Portland would be beautiful.”
“Trinkets” streams its 10 episodes beginning Friday, June 14, on Netflix.
— Kristi Turnquist
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