Photo by: Ari Michaelson
We caught up with Blu del Barrio who plays Adira Tal in Star Trek: Discovery, and is one of the first trans actors in the Trek space. The fifth and final season premiered May 30th on Paramount+ and finds Captain Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery uncovering a mystery sending them all on an epic adventure across the galaxy. Season five follows the crew as they hunt for an ancient power whose very existence has been deliberately hidden for centuries, and come across dangerous foes who are desperate to claim the prize for themselves.

We asked Blu about playing Adira, working on the series, and some of their upcoming projects. For those who are not yet caught up with the final Star Trek: Discovery season, not to worry – we don’t discuss any spoilers!

Check out our conversation below.

What do you enjoy the most about acting and storytelling?

Blu del Barrio: What I love the most is the freedom. The play. That’s what I loved as a kid, and I believe that’s still the core of why I do what I do. It’s rare to continue to grow and explore your sense of play as an adult, and I love my job for allowing me to do that. There are also no rules in storytelling. And I love the absurdist and strange. There is a sense of duty I feel to telling the stories that need to be heard, but I cherish holding that responsibility. 

What is the best advice someone has ever given you about acting/storytelling?

Blu: It was my high school acting teacher, Lea Floden, who gave me every good piece of advice I’ve ever received. My favorite being from Sanford Meisner, which is “To live truthfully under imaginary circumstances”. 

What can you tell us about your experience working on Star Trek: Discovery?

Blu: There is a lot to say- It was the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me. Because of that, I had a lot of anxiety and imposter syndrome stepping into it. It’s a massive universe that’s been going on longer than I’ve been alive. I was scared. But there is something so unique about the cast and crew of our show that I doubt I’ll find anywhere else. I found family on this show. I found people I will hold close for my lifetime. They eased my anxiety and changed my life for the better. I love them endlessly. 

Blu del Barrio. Photo by: Ari Michaelson

What can you tell us about your character?

Blu: Adira is a lot like me, I think. Except for the genius bit. I could have done better on the SAT. They have a more rigid exterior. They’re quick to be closed off to new people and hold things close to their chest. But once they’ve chosen their people, they completely open up and are almost a different person.

I feel very similar to them. They keep a small few close, and other than that, they are very introverted. Their humor also comes out when you’re closer to them. Adira may sometimes seem nervous and shaky, but they are stronger than most give them credit for. They’re just a kid. Yet, in many scenarios, they could handle more than every adult around them. 

How excited are you to be part of the recently announced vampire horror comedy Blue Balls?

Blu: If I could scream from the rooftops how brilliant this script is without looking insane, I would. I couldn’t be more excited. I love this project so much, and I cannot wait to film it. This script is genuinely one of a kind. 

What else is next for you? 

Blu: I just wrapped up a really cool film called Trap House with Dave Bautista, which I’m very excited about! I’ve also got the Blue Balls film coming up, as well as a beautiful queer heist drama called Pink Moon. I feel grateful and hopeful about the future and am thrilled to start these projects. 

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Star Trek: Discovery is streaming on Paramount+

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