Cherie Johnson opens up about queer love on ‘Punky Brewster’ reboot: ‘It defines girl power’
EXCLUSIVE: The sitcom star is dishing on her character's LGBTQ relationship and sharing a family feeling with her co-stars on set
Cherie Johnson is enjoying a full circle moment.
Known for playing the adorable Cherie on the ’80s sitcom Punky Brewster, Johnson has stepped into her character’s shoes once again for the upcoming Peacock reboot. The 45-year-old revealed in an exclusive interview with theGrio that she couldn’t more thrilled to be apart of the project, which follows Punky and Cherie as adults with children.
“Coming back on the set is everything. To be able to sit with Soleil [Moon Frye] on that couch and have girl talk, it’s like we never skipped a beat,” she explained recently.
Johnson’s character is not only a full-grown adult now, she is also in a serious relationship with her girlfriend, played by actress Jasika Nicole. The author told theGrio that the show’s emphasis on queer love is one of the stand-out moments of the revival.
“I can tell you that our relationship is strong. I done found me a strong, smart attorney,” she said with a laugh. “We are a power couple who just—it defines girl power and a lot of love.”
The Punky Brewster reboot follows the original show’s legacy of diversity with several POC actors starring in the project, including Oliver De Los Santos, Noah Cottrell, Nicole and Johnson. As a Black actress, Johnson said that the inclusivity on the show—in terms of race, LGBTQ representation and non-traditional families—was especially important.
“We have always believed that representation matters,” Johnson shared. “I’m so proud for us to come back and see the children and myself and Soleil and Freddie [Prinze Jr.]. There will be somebody on the show that resonates with you and reminds you of either yourself or someone in your household. To me, that’s everything. It’s a big old melting pot of love.”
Johnson is working alongside her longtime friend and original Punky co-star Moon Frye—an experience she says brought her tears of gratitude.
“To be able to come back and play with my homegirl 30-something years later, is the most amazing experience in the world,” she dished. “I think almost every day the crew had to sit there and watch us cry together. Because there is gratitude tears, you know? We’re just so happy to be there.”
Johnson continued, “Then they also have to come and rein us in and remind us that we’re miked because we’re saying things that are inappropriate, or they want us to settle down so that we can start shooting. Our life is so much like what’s going on in the scripts, we forget that we’re supposed to be there acting. We are just having a great time.”
Punky Brewster premieres on NBC’s Peacock streaming service on Thursday, Feb. 25. Watch theGrio‘s full interview with Johnson above.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!