“I get it: You see us on TV and think we’re getting paid millions and millions of dollars, that’s not true,” Stevens, 30, quipped during a Monday, July 31, appearance on the “Hold My Hair?” podcast. “The way that it used to be was when your shows aired on television, you got residuals and when they had reruns, you got residuals from that. You got paid every time somebody watched it.”
Stevens, who played journalist Jane on Freeform’s The Bold Type between 2017 and 2022, noted that her show currently airs on a variety of domestic and international streaming platforms. “I don’t see any money from it,” she added without mentioning the show’s name directly in accordance with SAG strike rules. “None!”
Stevens — who previously starred on MTV’s Faking It for three seasons before landing her five-year role on The Bold Type — explained that she only gets a paycheck if a viewer rents or purchases an episode of the show.
“It’s still pennies! Like, there’s a bar in L.A. called ‘Residuals,’ where if you bring in a check that’s under $1, you get a free shot. I would die there because the amount of checks that I get that are for, like 21 cents or 18 cents,” she told host Courtney Michelle Dlugos, noting she could get a lot of complimentary beverages at the establishment. “It’s not fair that these companies are making billions of dollars and they’re caring more about the investors that they’re in the pockets of and paying those people and not compensating the people that are doing the art form and creating the stories.”
Due to the onslaught of streaming platforms and outdated residual guidelines, unionized SAG-AFTRA performers banded together to fight for equal pay during contract negotiations last month. After the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) refused to compromise on new financial terms, the actors went on strike.
“The other misconception [of being an actor] is that you’re a series regular on something and that’s gonna continue,” she said on Monday. “I finished the show in 2021 and afterwards it was still pandemic-y [and] auditioning was a little sparse and in 2022, I did a couple jobs here and there because I needed the money and then I got pregnant.”
Stevens — who welcomed daughter Rome in March with husband Paul DiGiovanni, whom she wed in 2019 — subsequently did not go on many auditions amid her pregnancy since she was “getting bigger.” She concluded on Monday: “It’s hard and if we’re not getting compensated for the work we have done, which we should be, it’s hard to sustain.”