Name: Nomi Marks
Location: San Fransisco, California
TV Show: Sense8
Actor: Jamie Clayton
Nomi Marks is a kickass TV heroine for the 21st century. She’s a self-proclaimed hactivist (and a successful one, given that after being caught in her younger years, she now works freelance in cybersecurity). She’s a successful, eloquent blogger. She’s a proud trans woman, and her relationship with her girlfriend Amanita is probably one of the most healthy ones you will ever see on television. Oh, and she is a member of a psychic cluster which means she can access the abilities of and communicate with seven other people all over the world. She’s one of the most amazing and capable women you’ll see on television at the moment (or on Netflix as the case may be).
Nomi was the first character that drew me into Sense8, which quickly became my favourite TV show of all time. But it’s not just because the first time you see her is a somewhat graphic sex scene with her partner (Freema Agyeman, who I still thought of as Martha Jones at the time). It’s because Nomi, despite being incredibly charismatic, is still very grounded and relatable. In the first episode, we see her vulnerability as a trans woman in circles where people wouldn’t necessarily expect to see it. In a flashback to Nomi and Aminita’s first Pride as a couple, we see Aminita excitedly introduce her girlfriend to her friends only for one of them to call her a “tranny” and a “colonising male”. Nomi is moved to tears after Aminita stands up for her as no one ever has done it before. In the next episode, we see how she has used her traumatic experience to help others, as we see her recording a vlog, which I still listen to when I need inspiration to this day.
“I am not only a me,” says Nomi, “I am also a we.” That quote has come back to me again, and again and again, particularly in recent days when my country has been having a non-binding poll on marriage equality, the ability for people of the same gender to get married. It reminds me that my actions don’t just affect me, they affect the human race, and that as a fellow human I should fight as hard as I can for the equal rights of those around me. It reminds me that other people in their turn have fought for the rights I have today. It makes me feel less alone in the world. It’s very rare that a single quote from a character can make you totally fall in love with them, but that’s what Nomi Marks accomplishes in her blog about Pride.
In many ways, that is why Nomi is such a strong character. She isn’t the most physically strong of her group, or the most independent (having to rely on the skills of the others in her cluster frequently throughout the first season), but she is definitely the beating heart of the group. She’s the one with the most emotional intelligence and quick wit which make her the natural leader. She has an unparalleled ability to balance the emotional needs and the practical needs of her cluster, and she does it all quietly, without pushing her leadership or agenda on anyone. It’s a true example of respect being earned rather than given.
Sense8 has its finale special next year, after being cancelled at the end of season 2 by Netflix. I love all of the August 8th cluster, but it’s Nomi that I think I will miss the most. Not having her quiet leadership or strength of character around anymore will feel like losing a friend, and an inspiration. While there is only one Nomi, I hope that she inspires other writers to make more female characters like her, women who don’t lead through being aggressive but rather through empathy, wits and emotional strength. It would be great to see more women who kickass with their heart and mind, not only with their fists.
Of course, it’s impossible to mention Nomi, without talking about her fantastic girlfriend Amanita Caplan. Amanita is the loudmouth version of Nomi, having grown up in a much, MUCH more supportive family. She is happier to loudly argue with life’s antagonists face to face than to publish blogs and videos, and never shies away from telling people what she thinks. She also supports Nomi through the whole series, never doubting her girlfriend’s abilities, strength or sanity. Both Nomi and Amantia show what true love looks like and are willing to face any danger or obstacle in order to be together.