Jillian Mercado Is Also a Sucker for a Friends-to-Lovers Romance

The "L Word: Generation Q" star on her character's unexpected but lovely onscreen romance with Leo Sheng's Micah.

Jillian Mercado ships #Micabel just as much as you do.

The openly queer model, actress, and disability justice advocate is getting even more screen time in Season 2 of The L Word: Generation Q, a sequel to Showtime’s cult-classic lesbian drama from the early 2000s. Throughout the season, her character — the sassy, fiercely loyal Maribel Suarez, a disabled Latina lawyer — sparks up an unexpected romance with Micah Lee (played by Leo Sheng), a transgender therapist and best friend to Maribel’s sister’s ex-fiancée. (Yes, it’s that complicated. This is The L Word, after all.)

Logo recently caught up with Mercado to chat about about all things Micabel after the pair’s groundbreaking, incredibly sexy hookup scene in Episode 5. Find our full chat below.

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I absolutely loved Maribel’s groundbreaking sex scene with Micah in Episode 5, oh my gosh!

Thank you! I love Maribel. She’s so spicy.

She really is. What are you most excited for regarding her character arc this season?

Well, Episode 6 just came out. She’s always been that kind of friend who tells you how it is and isn’t really afraid, especially if she holds you dear in her heart, which is very similar to me as a person in real life [laughs]. But now, I don’t think she realized that she was going to fall in love, and I think that scares her because Micah really cares for her. Maribel has always had to be that strong woman character. She was the boss of her own narrative, the main character. She’s been through so much that she has an extra five shells to protect her, which is why she’s so outspoken and spicy. And now, she’s found herself in a very vulnerable place.

Oh, totally.

She didn’t expect it to happen, either, because Micah’s always been around. He’s her friend. She’s venturing out in this new situation where Micah sees through all that, all those shells. And she’s a little scared. So I’m happy for her. I think we all need that moment where we realize we’re all loved, and capable of being loved. Vulnerability can be so beautiful, you know? You find yourself; you find your worth. And I love that for her.


I do, too. I’m also a total sucker for a friends-to-lovers romance.

Oh, same! It’s so safe. Me in my personal life, I love love love it. I also identify as demisexual, so I need that connection beforehand to go out with anyone or date anyone. So I love the whole narrative of a really good friend turning into ooh, something else.

Is there anything you can tease about what’s in store for Maribel and Micah during the rest of Gen Q Season 2?

I mean, if you know The L Word, you know this is just the beginning of the drama. Without giving too much away, I don’t think that people are going to anticipate how the season will wrap in the next couple of episodes. There will be as much drama as possible. And specifically for Maribel and Micah, it’s going to be a lot of unpacking, “What does this mean now?” Now that they’ve hit this level and went through the door toward being open and vulnerable, what does it mean from now on? I’m excited for everyone to see the extent of the drama.

It truly would not be The L Word without drama.

I mean…[laughs]

I’m curious, how familiar were you with the original L Word before you were cast on the reboot?

It’s really funny — it’s kind of a full-circle moment for me. I was one of those people who was scared to talk about watching the show. My mom didn’t really want me to watch it, so I’d watch the show under my covers. I didn’t have a lot of friend who— or maybe we were all in the same position and too scared to tell each other we were watching The L Word. [Laughs] But, oh yeah. When I found out that they wanted me to audition for this part, not only does my character have my mom’s name, but I used to watch this show without my mom knowing. And now, I’m in the show. My first day working, I screamed internally. I couldn’t believe I was there. My coworkers were Leisha [Hailey], Kate [Moennig], and Jennifer [Beales]. Like, what?

The L Word: Generation Q premieres Fridays via streaming and Mondays on Showtime.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.