Francia Raisa discusses her character “Ana” in Grown-ish and celebrating different cultures.
Give us a rundown on the premise of Grown-ish and your character Ana.
It’s basically about growing up and going into a new season of life. It’s going into college. We are leaving the nest and holding ourselves accountable for good grades, going to class, and learning to adult. In the show, I am originally from Miami, and I leave for California, without my friends and family. I am put in a dorm room with Zoey, my first friend, only friend, and best friend, but then she abandoned me because I didn’t know how to control my alcohol intake, which we all do when we leave the nest. So, it’s really about my character finding herself and growing.
How did you deal with the added pressures of being a woman of color, if there were any? How did you grow into your skin and know your worth?
I think still something I am learning, growing up, there was a lot of discrimination. Money, religion, and politics were things that weren’t really talked about or welcomed. With so many people coming out and reaching out, I am learning a lot. I am reading a book about a Mexican family who dealt with discrimination and thinking, ‘Wow, I didn’t even realize that happened to me.’ I put a lot of pressure on myself when I first got casted because I play an American-Cuban, but I personally am not Cuban. I am Mexican-Honduran. I needed to honor that Cuban culture, and I needed to learn about it. I put a lot of stress on myself, and I am glad I did. It really helped when I received the dialogue; I would know it was more of a Mexican term and not Cuban. I’m glad I did that, but then I realized, she is just an average girl moving out of her house. I stopped putting that pressure on myself because I was reading the script and looking at the other girls and thinking about how we are all just trying to learn about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what color we are, so I focused more on telling Ana’s story from her perspective on transitioning from a teen to an adult. I loved being on set with all these empowered women who bring their cultures, and I am learning so much about the different cultures. I think it’s beautiful. It’s a really fun and interesting time for me, and I am excited about all the knowledge I am learning.
I’m sure most of the audience is stuck in that weird stage, stuck between adulthood and being a teen. What kinds of lessons did you learn in your own life during that stage, and how do you portray it in your character?
I think with my character, I let her make the mistakes because in my personal life, I have learned a lot from my mistakes. I learned to not take things so seriously; it’s not the end of the world. I’ve learned to be more outspoken and be okay with my opinion and not so much follow someone else’s. In the beginning, my character wasn’t much of a drinker, but she did it because she didn’t want to feel left out, which I have done. With this, and with other stuff, in conversation, she starts to become a little more outspoken. You see her open up, and in this episode [which came out a couple weeks ago], you see her really come out. She loosens up a bit.
STORY ELIZABETH STAFFORD
PHOTOS DERRICK FRESKE
CREATIVE DIRECTION ANNA ZHANG
HAIR ASHLEY RUIZ at CLOUTIER REMIX
MAKEUP ETIENNE ORTEGA at THE ONLY AGENCY
STYLIST VICTOR BLANCO at THE ONLY AGENCY
FLORIST SARAH SIEGEL at THE FLOWER METHOD
Read more in Volume III, Issue No. 002 – Spring 2018.