by Chris Harnick | Wed., Jun. 17, 2015 8:00 AM
Royal Pains has tapped transgender teen Nicole Maines for a very special episode, E! News has learned. Airing June 23 at 10 p.m., "The Prince of Nucleotides" sees Dr. Hank (Mark Feuerstein) treat Anna, a transgender teenage choreographer whose hormones may be endangering her health.
"Playing Anna on Royal Pains was an incredible experience and the amount of warmth and encouragement that I received from the cast and crew was so unexpected, but welcome," Maines said in a statement. "Everyone's words were so supportive and kind and they really made me feel part of the cast immediately, and made my very first television acting experience a pleasure—one I will remember forever."
Maines, a 17-year-old high school senior, made history in 2014 after winning a transgender rights case in Maine. The court ruled transgender students were allowed to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
For the episode, USA Network has partnered with PFLAG to raise awareness of people who are transgender and to provide support and resources to viewers. Feuerstein will appear in a PSA that will run during the episode and on social media. You can see it below.
"The Maines' family story has been a journey of love, education, acceptance and celebration, but initially they thought they were on this path alone. Now, as part of the extended PFLAG family, we are so proud to see Nicole step confidently into this challenging and groundbreaking role on Royal Pains," Elizabeth R. Kohm, deputy executive director of PFLAG National, said in a statement. "With the visibility of people who are transgender at an all-time high, it is more important than ever that PFLAG's support and educational resources are easy to find and readily available. We are thrilled to partner with our friends at USA Network on a public service announcement to bring that important, and potentially life-saving, information to its viewers."
"We are thrilled to be telling the story about Anna, a transgender teen, in this episode of Royal Pains. Spreading the word about the complicated issues that arise in identifying as transgendered and about how crucial support from friends and family, and quality healthcare is, in making transitioning less stressful, seemed not only organic to our medical show, but an important story to tell," Michael Rauch and Andrew Lenchewski, executive producers of Royal Pains, said in a statement. "In telling this story, casting a transgender person was essential to us. The opportunity to have Nicole Maines, a transgender teen herself, who in her acting debut proved to be a very talented actress as well, was deeply gratifying. Nicole brought the character of Anna, written beautifully by Carol Flint, to life, and depicted her with strength, intelligence and humanity, all traits Nicole possesses herself. We are very proud of this storyline, of the episode and of the opportunity to work with Nicole."
Other storylines in the episode include Evan (Paulo Costanzo) and Jeremiah (Ben Shenkman) hosting a gala fundraiser, Paige (Brooke D'Orsay) and Evan's journey to become parents taking a turn and Divya (Reshma Shetty) growing closer to Prince Quami (guest star Wole Parks). Vanessa Williams also guest stars in the episode.
Maines' episode airs Tuesday, June 23, at 10 p.m. on USA.
(E! and USA are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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