Who Is Nava Mau? 5 Things to Know About Baby Reindeer Actress

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Nava Mau in Baby Reindeer series

Nava Mau, one of the stars of Baby Reindeer, portrays the therapist character Teri, whom the protagonist meets through a dating app.

In Netflix’s Baby Reindeer, which is based on a true story, comedian Richard Gadd plays Donny, a less-than-successful stand-up comic who finds himself being stalked by a woman named Martha.

5 Facts About Nava Mau from Baby Reindeer

Nava Mau in Baby Reindeer

In 2019, Nava Mau (born in Mexico City on May 14, 1992) was the lead actor, writer, director, and producer of a short film entitled Waking Hour with a crew of volunteers.

In this film, Mau starred as Sofia, a young transgender woman (Mau herself is also trans) who meets a potential romantic connection Isaac, a cis man, at a party. She must balance her desire to be intimate with someone and her own sense of personal safety.

Mau was able to directly draw upon her own personal experiences when crafting Waking Hour, as she explained while speaking to Out. She asserted that one of the reasons she chose the ending for the film that she did was to shine a light on “the power of choice:”

“I had recently started dating straight, cisgender men and as a trans woman I was not prepared. I had to learn a lot of hard lessons when I started dating straight cis men. 'Waking Hour' was inspired by personal experiences I've had, but I wanted it to end differently than how a lot of my stories have ended. I wanted Sofia to be a character who realizes in the moment that she can exercise choice because so often I have not realized that I have the power of choice. And I know that's the case for a lot of people.”

Waking Hour is available to watch in full on Vimeo.

Prior to her acting and filmmaking career, Mau studied in Paris and carried out research in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to her website. She then attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, where she earned herself a BA in Linguistics & Cognitive Science.

Mau kept busy during her time as a student, taking part in live sketch comedy shows and a play named Drawing the Shades, which revolved around survivors of sexual assault.

According to her official Vimeo account, her ultimate goal is to "illuminate the stories of marginalized people in order to expand their access to resources."

In 2021, Mau starred in the HBO series Generation, stylized as Genera+ion, as part of the show’s main cast. She brought life to the part of Ana, the aunt of one of the series’ teenage characters.

How she was cast in Genera+ion was another story. Mau was living on friends’ couches in Los Angeles when she got a direct message on Instagram with an offer to audition. This was unusual enough, but the message also included a typo, making things all the more suspicious.

As it turned out, the offer was a legitimate one. Mau auditioned, won the role, and played Ana on Genera+ion‘s first and only season.

The actress (via Elle) called Ana’s relationship with her niece Greta a "magnificent dynamic to explore:"

“I was really drawn to [Ana’s] honest relationship with her niece, Greta. I felt like that relationship was so unique in both of their identities, but also in their dynamic situation that they're living through where Greta's mom has been deported, and her trans aunt is taking care of her while she's discovering her queer identity. That's just such a magnificent dynamic to explore.”

Mau (who stands at 5’6”) seems as equally content in front of the camera as she is behind it, possessing plenty of experience with both acting and directing. 

It was during the making of Waking Hour that she truly realized her passion for directing (via Out), noting how, even though she prioritizes acting currently, she believes being a director will “feed her soul the most:”

“I like directing and that's what I see for myself in the long-term, but acting in this short film really reminded me that I love it and it's something I want to do more of. In the year since we've shot this short film, I've decided to pursue and prioritize acting at this stage in my career. I'm definitely being strategic about my career. For now I'm focusing on my acting, but long-term I think directing will feed my soul the most.”

Mau also spoke to Elle in 2021 about how fluid and interchangeable her preferences for both directing and acting can be:

“It's funny. I was directing yesterday, and I thought I had a great day. I worked with a wonderful cast and crew, and yet I did have a thought at one point where I was like, 'Actually, I miss acting.' And then when I'm acting, sometimes I'm like, 'Ah, I wish I could be directing.'''

Nava Mau, who is now 31 years old, is a staunch supporter of LGBTQ+ individuals. She’s worked in multiple fields centering around social justice and reform, including as a peer counselor, legal assistant, and an advocate for queer youth.

She remarked to Elle, that while she’s choosing to put all of her focus into her creative output, she often finds herself "running back" to cultural and political work:

"Now, I am focusing full-time on my creative work and feeling like, maybe, I can't meet the responsibility of cultural and political work in film and TV, so I find myself running back to it."

So, for the projects in which she participates where she has a creative voice, Mau places special emphasis on bringing in "the frameworks that [she believes] in" from her cultural endeavors:

“Thus, I think that, for projects where I am leading, it is really important to me to continue to bring in the frameworks that I believe in from my cultural work. I also believe that culture change is desperately needed in the film industry, so I hope to never let go of that. That is my mission.”

According to Mau’s official site, she’s also involved with anti-violence, healing justice, and political education. She additionally gives a great number of public speaking engagements.

How To Follow Nava Mau Online

For those who want to catch up on the life and times of Nava Mau, she can be seen on Instagram at @navamau and on X (formerly Twitter) at navamau.

Baby Reindeer can be streamed exclusively on Netflix.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.