Jasika Nicole’s Cast in Punky Brewster as Cherie’s Girlfriend! Your Rainbow Gay 80s Childhood Is Back!

Feature Image via Jasika Nicole on Instagram

This afternoon news broke that Jasika Nicole will be joining the Punky Brewster reboot, coming later this month to the Peacock streaming network! Which, to be honest with you, was exciting enough. Punky is an icon of suvivors of 80s childhoods one and all, but her rainbow hued “You can do it!” pig tailed and mismatching socks energy was most beloved by the gays. And lesbian actress Jasika Nicole is an icon of our community in her own right, so this was a match made by the universe. But wait… there’s more!

Jasika has been hired to play Lauren, “a fun-loving and self assured lawyer who’s relationship with [Punky’s best friend] Cherie develops throughout the season.” That’s right, the Punk Brewster is officially officially now gay, and it’s our own Jasika Nicole who’s going to bring that gift to us!! Somebody get me a scrunchie!

Ok so in this new Punky Brewster, Soleil Moon Frye and Cherie Johnson will reprise their roles as Punky and Cherie respectively in a next chapter of the treasured ’80s sitcom, which originally followed a rambunctious young Punky being raised by a foster dad (Cherie lived on the third floor of the apartment building with her grandmother). I’ve never seen the original Punky Brewster to be honest with you, but I’m told there’s something about a refrigerator? I look forward to someone clueing me in! Peacock’s continuation of the family sitcom will find Punky, now a single mom of three, trying to get her life back on track when she meets Izzy (Quinn Copeland), a young girl in the foster system who reminds Punky a lot of her younger self. I dunno know y’all, this sounds HIGH KEY ADORABLE and I literally cannot wait.

In an interview with GLAAD Head of Talent Anthony Ramos, Jasika shared that not only did she watch the original Punky Brewster as a kid, but “I was a Cherie. I had always categorized myself as a Cherie” (aww, cute). But here’s the real shocker — despite working as an out actress in Hollywood for many years, “the first queer role I’ve ever played on network television.” Have I said enough times yet that I CANNOT WAIT!! Ok! Good!

In addition to her many roles on screen (Suicide KaleFringe, Scandal, Underground, The Good Doctor), Jasika is known to us for continued advocacy for queer and trans communities in our real lives. She’s worked with Project Q — a a Los Angeles-based non-profit that aims to provide gender affirming haircuts and a safe space for queer and trans youth — but you also may know her from her time spent with Autostraddle as a writer, special guest at live events, and an all-around kind friend of our site.

I asked noted Autostraddle writer and TV specialist Valerie “Punky” Anne — and yes she’s nicknamed after the character, we’ve already covered that queer women love Punky Brewster Thee MostTM — what she had to say about today’s developments, and she supplied us with the following perfect quote: “I must have only ever watched reruns since I wasn’t even 2 yet when the show ended, but I looooved Punky and Cherie and their mischief! The original Punky and Cherie were involved, and now JASIKA is going to be on it? As Cherie’s GIRLFRIEND?? My statement would just be a bunch of rainbow flag and sob emojis. My whole secretly gay childhood has been leading to this moment of my very not secretly gay adulthood.”

You can catch Peacock’s Punky Brewster revival on February 25th, however you like to stream good things. And here’s a trailer for those you craving that sweet dose of Punky Power:

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen Phillips is Autostraddle's former editor in chief. She began at Autostraddle in 2017 as a freelance team writer and worked her way up through the company, eventually becoming the EIC from 2021-2024. A Black Puerto Rican feminist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University, Carmen specializes in writing about Blackness, race, queerness, politics, culture, and the many ways we find community and connection with each other.  During her time at Autostraddle, Carmen focused on pop culture, TV and film reviews, criticism, interviews, and news analysis. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. And there were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. To reach out, you can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.

Carmen has written 716 articles for us.


  1. Punky Brewster was my IDOL as a queer kid with ADHD (neither of which I knew at the time). I made my mom put my hair in pigtails every single day even though it hurt, and I had high-tops with her name on them even though my family didn’t buy name-brand shoes, *ever*.

    I’ll probably watch the show, even though it looks like a normal sitcom (laugh track and all) about a “quirky” mom. But I know that what I really miss, and can’t get back, is the feeling of watching the show as a child. I was a weird little kid, and Punky made me feel a little less alone.

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