Still from Motherland
Still from Motherland: Fort Salem

Ange Hall had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Taylor Hickson, one of the stars of the US fantasy drama series Motherland: Fort Salem.


They discussed the show’s second season, queer representation and the power of the online community. Here’s a preview of the full interview, coming to the LOTL YouTube channel this Friday.

This interview was conducted on the lands of the Cammeraygal people of the Eora Nation. Sovereignty was never ceded. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.


So, in Australia, the first season of Motherland is available on Disney+, but we got to watch the second season the same day on Foxtel, so we’re all caught up. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, and for a lot of our LOTL listeners, could you give us a quick rundown of the show and your character?


It’s very hard to condense the whole of Motherland, but I’ll try my best, thank [show creator] Elliot for that. I’d say the best summarisation I can give is back during the Salem Witch trials, it was said that the witches came forward to the American government, and said essentially, if you stop killing our people, we will fight and win your wars for you and this concept caught on globally. The way that technology has developed has been drastically different, because our war times were drastically different, and they were fought with the Wiccan Work. Where we fall in this is and myself individually, I play Raelle, one of the individuals that we follow navigating, being conscripted at a very young age and her journey with them.


Scylla has got a crow as her familiar now. Nicte’s has her bats. What animals do you think Raelle and the unit have as their familiars?


Okay. I’m going to go through the coven. Tally has a hamster. The same colour as her hair. Abigail would have like a hawk or something super cool. Like, of course, she would. I’m going to say M will have an extremely abnormally intelligent baby monkey. Like the one from Night of the Museum. Kind of really mischievous, and just like sits on their shoulder all the time. Raelle would have something, I think that looks menacing that people are always afraid of. But has a softer nature once you get to know them, like a snake or a spider. Also, I think something that would be able to transport underground to give messages to the mycelium. Watch her actually have something like a rat or something! Something that people are afraid of because they’re like, “Ew, it’s a cockroach.”


Just a little cockroach sitting on her shoulder?


She would, she literally would. People would be like, “Raelle, really?” Alder would have a black panther, I think, for sure. If Raelle didn’t have a snake I’m going to say, Raelle would have something more like a spider or something. I liked the imagery of her with the spider when she lit the candles. Anacostia, I think would also have a snake. Because she very much likes to spy on people. She gives big Scorpio energy. She’s always in the know, but she’s just also a fly on the wall. But she’s always acting out of the goodness of her heart or what she stands for. I feel like Scorpios really stand by their morals. Then Gregorio would definitely have a golden retriever. Because obviously, that speaks for itself. Okay, for whoever’s going to watch this. I want to hear what the assigned familiars would be for us! I want to hear what they have to say.


Absolutely. That’s the mission. Anybody on Twitter!


Hit it up on Twitter! You know where to find me.


Ange Hall had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Taylor Hickson
Ange Hall (r) had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Taylor Hickson (l)

So, talking more about queer representation on screen. I can confidently say that Raylla [Raelle and Scylla] is one of, if not the most complex queer relationships on television right now. It’s not tokenistic. It’s really well rounded and feels realistic regardless of the fantastical elements of the world. How important to you was it to keep the relationship feeling genuine and whole, especially with how much pain both characters have been through?  


As an actor, I think that’s just the goal regardless. I think that’s what really took me aback. I didn’t realise how poor the lack of representation was and it was tokenistic because, you know, I see people kind of throwing crumbs everywhere, and I’m just like, “Oh, well, everyone’s doing it.” They’re just kind of like, “We’ll give this pay-off to these people and this pay-off to these people.” You know, “We have an Asian person, we have a Black person, we have a gay person, we’ve done our work”. It didn’t dawn on me. That’s where I realised like, I wasn’t doing my work, and I wasn’t giving myself the education that I should have been until I saw the reaction online and people reaching out to me and sending me messages. I had no idea what Elliot’s work – and I mean the entirety of our crew – how it would impact people and how important it is to see yourself in media and see yourself on screen. I guess, I never really had that problem. I had Cinderella, who was me. I looked just like her. I have blond hair and blue eyes. She gets everything she ever wanted. It didn’t dawn on me because it wasn’t a problem that I suffered from. Or I guess that it was something that I was blind to. That was a really pivotal point for what I take on now as a creator and what my mission is, and what my message is [in regards to] having a platform where there are people that listen. It’s definitely changed my career path for the utmost better.


I was really taken aback by even people reaching out to me and saying, you know, “You saved my life.” That’s a really heavy responsibility. It wasn’t something that I realised. It wasn’t the position I realised I’d taken at the time. I was just enjoying creating with Amalia [Holm] and playing with our chemistry, and I was just doing my job, doing what I love as a creator and as an artist. It wasn’t until it was given to the world that I realised the amount of responsibility and power that it came with. Which I’m so grateful for. But I think it’s not to be abused. So, it’s something that I’m very mindful of going forward. I’m so proud of our show. I’m so proud of myself, and all of us, and all of the viewers, and the community, like the Twitter community. It’s just like, my safe space. The friendships that it’s brought is just like, I’m literally going to get emotional because I’m just so moved by it.


Are there any messages that you want to send to the fan base?


Being vocal is the biggest step we can take. That’s really what [the streaming platforms and networks] listen to. It’s just persistence. “If we’re really fucking annoying, someone might hear us” is my life motto.


Thank you. You’re the reason we get up every day, and we get to create. I’m so happy to be on a team with you guys. I love you. Every day I go on Twitter to just see what you guys are up to and see what you’re thinking. Whether I respond or not, I’m watching all of you, and they know that.


The thing is like, we’re all not even fans of the show anymore. We’re just fans of each other as people, which is so valuable to me and I cherish so deeply.



Stay tuned for the full hour-long interview coming Friday, and don’t forget to follow @AngeHall3 and @LOTLmedia on Twitter to see it first. 


Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.