Meet Dua Saleh, the 26-year-old who plays Sex Education’s first non-binary character
‘Just being ourselves, not having to have somebody else play us. It feels amazing’
One of the new characters in Sex Education season three is Cal, a non-binary student who moves to Moordale from Minneapolis and befriends Jackson. And the person behind Cal in Sex Education is Dua Saleh, a 26-year-old non-binary Sudanese-American musician.
In Sex Education we see Cal clash with Hope, the new Moordale head teacher, have a possible romance with Jackson, and tackle issues about gender identity. Everyone’s fallen in love with Cal and is talking about how important their storyline is.
Here’s everything you need to know about Dua Saleh, who plays Cal in Sex Education:
Dua Saleh is an indie musician and songwriter
Like Cal, 26-year-old Dua is based in Minnesota, but they were born in Sudan. Dua grew up writing poetry and making art (one of their poetry readings went viral a few years ago), but now is an indie artist, musician and songwriter.
You can listen to all their music on Spotify here – their songs are absolute bops. Sex Education season three is their first time acting professionally.
Dua Saleh has 120k followers on Instagram
Dua’s Instagram account is @doitlikedua and right now they have 120k followers on Instagram – but this is obviously only going to massively increase as more people watch Sex Education.
They mainly post about their music, along with some very vibey and arty photoshoots – as well as a whole load of pics from their time on Sex Educadion, obvs.
You can also find Dua on TikTok @doitlikedua. They have 49k followers on there right now.
Cal is Sex Education’s first non-binary character
Along with Cal, played by Dua Saleh, another new non-binary character in Sex Education is Layla, played by Robyn Holdaway. In season three Cal and Layla tackle issues surrounding their gender identities, such as binding, school uniforms, and the issue of which changing rooms to use at school.
Talking to Teen Vogue, Dua said: “I don’t really see that many non-binary characters depicted in ways that are authentic and true to a whole person. It didn’t feel like Cal was a caricature of what a non-binary person is supposed to be.”
They continued, talking about how important it is for non-binary people to play non-binary characters: “Knowing that a role like this is so remarkable and so important and has such historical value progress-wise, is making me reflect a lot, and have a lot of gratitude for where the world is going and how we can find ourselves in these characters and how we can portray these characters.
“Just being ourselves, not having to have somebody else play us. It feels amazing.”
Apparently Sex Education was specifically looking for non-binary artists when they found Dua. Dua told The Face: “I was surprised Sex Education even found me or had heard about me. They were searching for artists that were non-binary… I think they just listened.”
In an interview with Gay Times, Dua said on-site LGBTQ+ consultants hired by Sex Education ensured everything was accurate and sensitive. They said: “We had non-binary consultants and non-binary people in the writing rooms who talked to me. We had an intimacy coordinator and a non-binary consultant to ask us questions that a cis person wouldn’t necessarily ask.”
Sex Education season three is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
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Featured image via Instagram @doitlikedua and Netflix