Living legend Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton recently opened up about the importance of arts education and why they’ve always been LGBT allies.
The mother-daughter duo ruminated on these important topics while speaking with The Advocate about their new Netflix series Julie’s Greenroom.
The children’s program explores the world of theatrical art via music and acting lessons delivered by Andrews and some of her famous pals, including Alec Baldwin, Sara Bareilles and longtime BFF Carol Burnett.
“[The arts] are the first thing to be cut in budgets and schools and of course at the administrative level, so from our point of view, we really wanted to advocate for them, because we are so aware of how essential they are,” Hamilton explained of the show’s inspiration.
“There’s no doubt that they help people understand each other and they transcend all barriers, and I cannot think of anything more important,” Andrews added. “They give so much joy and don’t really get in the way of anything [and lead to] getting on with a very wonderful, stimulating life.”
The show has not only drawn praise for its arts advocacy, but also for its diverse cast of characters, which includes a gender-nonbinary character named Riley.
“We really wanted all the characters to be as diverse as possible so that every child watching might see themselves reflected there,” said Hamilton. “I have a transgender nephew on my father’s side of the family. So I’m extremely aware of how important it is to support and advocate for young people who are experiencing that in their lives.”
When asked about when she first realized she was an ally of the LGBT community, Andrews stumbled for a moment, but only because she couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t.
“That’s hard to answer, because, just always!” she replied. “Theater, anyway, is such an open community and free. I don’t think there’s been a time when I haven’t been [an ally].”
“I have to say, though, in my hometown, in my community, I was very aware of bias and bigotry, and couldn’t understand it,” Andrews continued. “I was raised not to be that way and not to think that way, and it always seemed puzzling to me that the world wasn’t just embracing human beings.”
Julie’s Greenroom is now streaming on Netflix. Enjoy the trailer below.