'The Bold Type' star Aisha Dee highlights the importance of diversity behind the scenes

Freeform's "The Bold Type" is celebrated among its fans as a show that showcases a diverse group of characters and stories that aren't often told on television. One of its main stars, Aisha Dee wants to point out that behind the camera, more work still needs to be done hiring people of color to tell those stories. 

Dee, who is biracial, stars as Kat Edison, one of three main characters and best friends who met working for a Cosmopolitan-esque magazine. Her character, an activist who spent most of her time prior to the present Season 4 as the outlet's social media editor, was an exciting opportunity, she wrote, because "for the first time in my career, I got to play a character who was centered in her own narrative," not just the best friend to the white stars. 

"I'm ready to take a cue from my girl Kat. What would Kat do?" the actress, 26, wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday. "She would take a stand and advocate for herself and all other marginalized voices to influence change. I am ready to push harder and speak louder for what matters to me: The diversity we see in front of the camera needs to be reflected in the diversity of the creative team behind the camera." 

"The Bold Type" star Aisha Dee attends the 2nd Annual Freeform Summit, a series of panels highlighting the cable channel's inclusive programming slate, held March 27 in Los Angeles. She plays social-media editor Kat, a gay woman of color, in the magazine dramedy, which returns for its third season on April 9.

She added: "For a show that frequently uses words like intersectionality, inclusion, discourse and the various ism's, I wonder how its stories may have been elevated had they been told through the lens of people with a more varied lived experience."

While Dee is proud of the way "The Bold Type" has pushed boundaries with topical conversations including "workplace politics, white privilege, women's health (and) gun ownership," she felt the need to speak out after her character, a queer Black woman, began a romantic relationship with a prominent female conservative TV pundit. 

The actress recalled growing up in "very white, very conservative spaces" in her Australian hometown, facing microaggressions and other racist comments that made her feel like an outcast.   

More:How 'The Bold Type' gets media jobs right and wrong, from a social media editor

"I spent so much time searching for a reflection of myself, and I found it in art, TV movies, poetry, music," she wrote. "This was my guiding light, a place of refuge where I could celebrate my blackness and all the things that made me different. It sounds kind of cliche, but the characters in these stories were my friends, they made me feel less alone." 

Through her career, Dee has experienced issues on set with makeup artists not having the correct shade of foundation for her, agents and casting directors telling her not to get "too dark" so as to not risk losing her marketability and a white stand-in for one of her characters who was put in "brown face with a curly-haired wig." 

"I could list every microaggression and example of problematic behavior I've encountered throughout my career, but I'm not writing this for sympathy or to incite anger – I'm writing this in the hopes that the people who come next don't have to experience the things I have," she wrote. 

Meghann Fahy (Sutton), Katie Stevens (Jane) and Aisha Dee (Kat) star in an episode of Freeform's "The Bold Type."

Now on "The Bold Type," Dee noted how the show's diversity onscreen didn't necessarily translate to diversity offscreen: The show's first and only BIPOC writer joined after two seasons and it has never had a queer Black or Muslim writer, despite her character's long relationship with a Muslim woman.

As of Season 4, three out of 10 writers identify as LGBTQ+, five are people of color and eight are female. And three seasons in, the show finally hired a hair stylist who was able to work with textured hair.

"I want to make sure that no one else ever has to walk onto a set and feel as though their hair is a burden," Dee wrote. "It is not."

With a show that has been that "guiding light" for many of its fans, she wants to make sure it can "walk the walk." And she noted the issue was bigger than just her show, calling on the entertainment industry as a whole to do better.

Dee said she's had conversations with "Bold Type" writers and producers, plus Freeform and Universal TV executives over the past few weeks about hiring more diverse voices to help tell more authentic stories.

“We applaud Aisha for raising her hand and starting conversations around these important issues," Freeform and producer Universal Television said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing that dialogue and enacting positive change. Our goal on “The Bold Type” is and has always been to tell entertaining, authentic stories that are representative of the world that Kat, Jane and Sutton live in – we can only do that if we listen.”  

Dee concluded: "By speaking out, I'm taking a risk. It's scary, but its worth it. This is not judgement. This is a call to action. We deserve to see stories that are for us, by us."