Celebrating Trans Expression with Sex Education’s Felix Mufti
Netflix’s Sex Education star, activist and multitalented performer Felix Mufti discusses Trans representation in TV, gender expression and his eclectic, bold fashion style, delivering a special message for all his queer fans to “share your blessing with the world”.
Following the introduction of non-binary character Cal (Dua Saleh) in season 3, the latest and final season of Sex Education saw Felix Mufti play the trans-masc character Roman alongside Anthony Lexa as his on-screen trans-fem love interest, Abbi. Roman and Abbi’s coupling has been ground-breaking in presenting such an intimate, joyous depiction of a relationship between Transgender people within a teen drama and is trailblazing as one of the first Trans sex scenes to be shown on a major global streaming platform.
We speak to Felix about his experience playing such a monumental character on Sex Education and he tells me about his personal style including his passion for all things Bratz and offers us a much a much-anticipated tattoo tour.
It’s been incredible to see representation of a trans relationship in Sex Education. Do you have any favourite moments and details which stood out as meaningful when portraying this?
For me, the most influential part of our relationship is the fact that Abbi and Roman are so supportive with each other’s gender expression. When including Trans characters, there is often a lot of pressure for them to conform to gender roles in order to be understood by a worldwide audience. However, we showed relationships between Trans people authentically. We showed it is a love between people that surpasses gender roles and stereotypes. That goes further than expectations and defines itself. Love in its truest form, unconditional.
How much of yourself did you put into your character Roman and are there any moments from your own school experience which you felt resonated with your on-screen life?
Roman definitely shares a lot of my personality traits, with his self-deprecating humour and his want to make people laugh! I definitely put a lot of my softness into him and also balanced this out when it was time to show his angrier moments. Roman is just like me in the way he feels everything very strongly, us extra people don’t do halves! In my real life, in school I was the first out trans person so I didn’t have the support of ‘the coven’. My school was definitely not like Cavendish either, however I was supported by the other students for the most part and always expressed myself authentically, even with our strict uniform policies!
LEFT: Coat – Asos // Jewellery – Vivienne Westwood. RIGHT: Set – Named Collective // Top – Hollys World // Trousers – Dollskill
From this shoot and your musical identity as Bratphase, it’s clear that you eat up the Bratz look. Does the Bratz doll, attitude and aesthetic mean anything special to you?
You could say I’ve always had a ‘passion for fashion’. I’ve always been fixated by dolls, dressing them up and creating them. I resonated with Bratz dolls from a young age because of their expression and attitude. I always loved their big, shiny eyes and glossy lips. I also loved the diversity of the dolls and their musicality. The way I’ve curated myself and my style takes a lot of inspiration from them.
You have so many fun and interesting tattoos, could you talk me through your favourites and whether there are adventures behind any of them?
My tattoos don’t all necessarily have meanings but they all capture important phases I’ve gone through in my life. A lot of them are done by apprentices as I love seeing how their work grows and develops, I know they always put a lot of work into each tattoo. For example, with my main tattoo artist, Davina @davinatattoo, I was one of her first clients and now she is fully qualified and smashing it. I have just loved going on that journey with her. She has done some of my favourite pieces, like my knuckles which say ‘Star Gaze’, which serve as a reminder to not get too caught up in the world and take the time to centre yourself by admiring the beauty nature provides. She has also done my two Coraline tattoos, one outline of the house and an incredible portrait of Wybie on my hand with the quote ‘Thou art Alive’. Coraline has always been my favourite film and really started my love for horror and emo-y things which has become really defining of me as a person. Davina also did this amazing y2k flip phone on the back of my arm with the words ‘Pick up,’ which is definitely one of my favourites.
As a total style icon, do you have any wardrobe staples and favourite pieces which make you feel like your best self?
I’m loving all the Named Collective tracksuits right now, especially the grey camo print ‘Forbidden’ set with the pink ribbon details. I love the attention to detail they put into all their pieces. I am also a Juicy trackie boy through and through; they are my everyday staple and I pretty much live in them. I have them in practically every colour but my black ones and pink ones are my favourites.
RIGHT: Set – Named Collective // Top – Hollys World // Trousers – Dollskill
Both within and outside of your character Roman, you are consistently breaking down gender binaries. Are there any ways you would describe your relationship with masculinity and femininity and do you have advice for others wanting to express themselves outside of gender norms?
I think people are often surprised by my ability to embrace myself in my femininity as well as my masculinity. As a trans person, I am living truthfully and honestly to how I want to express myself. This does not conform to unwanted gender expectations. How we should dress, act and feel should not be constricted by our gender. I am free from any rules of how I should perform gender. I believe this is an attitude and lifestyle everyone should adapt, whether you are Trans or not. There is no need for us to live our lives serving this invisible idea of gender that benefits us in no way. Free yourself from expectation and feel fab!
With the vast and varied queer representation in Sex Education, is there anything specific you hope to see more of in mainstream TV series and films going forward?
I hope to see more Trans people cast in non-Trans roles! Although when creating a character, you may not have thought of them as Trans, writers and casting agents should definitely start to consider Trans people for any role. Their transness doesn’t need to be mentioned and it can add another layer and perspective to the character that might not have been previously considered.
Seeing trans characters such as Roman living happy lives is affirming and life changing for Trans audiences. Do you have any messages for your Queer fans?
Although the worst parts of society will try and bring you down, hate will never define your life. Love will always enter the deepest, darkest moments of your life and journey with your reality so let it. Don’t get consumed by bullshit conversations surrounding our lives, you are blessed to know yourself so well so share your blessing with the world. Queer people have existed throughout time and will always be here so surround yourself in a bubble and love yourself unconditionally.