With Francia Raisa onboard, “Grown-ish” has to be a hit
Francia Raisa first rose to fame when she starred in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Bring It On: All or Nothing,” back in the early 2000’s. This past September, she returned to the spotlight as it was revealed that she donated a kidney to her bestie, Selena Gomez, in order to save her life due to Selena’s battle with lupus.
Now, Francia is in the spotlight again, because she is starring in the new “Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish” as the character Ana. We talked to her about starring on iconic TV shows/movies and how you can help in the fight against human trafficking during your next internship. Check out the interview below!
You’ve started in some cult classic shows and movies, including “Bring It On: All or Nothing” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” How was it acting in these hits? Did you know at the time how big they were going to be? I feel like everyone I know has seen both.
“Bring It On” was a movie I was obsessed with as a kid and it was also my inspiration to become a cheerleader in high school. I remember watching it and thinking, “I wish I was older and an actress so I could do this movie.” So imagine the feeling I had when I booked it! I still can’t believe it. I was just happy to be a part of it, but it is crazy to me that 12 years later I’m still being called Leti sometimes. I ran into Solange recently and we were laughing about that. She said, “All this time and we still have ‘Bring It On’ fans.” It’s amazing!
As far as “Secret Life of the American Teenager” goes, that was my first TV show. I loved playing Adrian and I really enjoyed my cast. I was hoping it would be successful, but I was blown away with just how successful it was. I mean, five episodes in we won a Teen Choice Award! What?!? It was a really fun time and I’m grateful for both of those projects.
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How did you first get into acting?
I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was a little girl, but I didn’t know how to get into it. I got heavy into dance when I was 16 and I started back up dancing for a rapper. Two of the girls I was dancing with were also actresses. I remember one of them coming to rehearsal really excited because she had just booked a commercial.
I asked her how she did it, and she explained she had a manager who would send her out on auditions. I asked if I could meet her manager, and coincidentally she was looking for a bilingual, young Latina, so she signed me and I booked “Bring It On” about six months later and I have been going ever since.
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You’re now starring in the new show “Grown-ish.” What can we expect from your character?
In the first 2 episodes you see that Ana is really just trying to fit in. Throughout the season, you see her grow into her own and feel comfortable with herself and her beliefs. You also see a beautiful friendship develop with Zoey and the rest of the girls!
Who’s your bestie on set and why?
I have a close individual friendship with everyone. I can’t really name one person because they’re all different. We honestly have a great cast and we’re all close friends. The girls especially are all very close.
What are you most excited about for “Grown-ish”?
I’m excited to see the audience’s reactions to the love triangles. I’m in the show and even I’m torn! I’m also really excited for people to see Yara bring more depth to her character, Zoe. She is so good on this show. Everyone does a really good job with their characters, and I’m excited to see where they take them.
What are you looking to do next in your career?
My team and I have lots of plans, and we’ll let those plans unfold in their respective times. Let’s just say my team kicks ass and I’m excited.
What are some of your other passions?
I still love to dance, so I do that when I can. I also love my dog, and I love giving back, so I do some philanthropy work.
What sort of philanthropic work do you do?
I work with an anti-human trafficking organization called Unlikely Heroes. We rescue young children from slavery and help restore and rehabilitate them. We have a quite a few restoration homes around the world.
How can someone reading this get involved?
Your voice is powerful. I think that’s one thing I’ve learned through working with Unlikely Heroes. Go to the website, follow them on Instagram, learn about the issue, and join them in raising your voice to stop human trafficking. They also run internships in the USA and at their international homes so there are a lot of ways to get involved.
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Favorite on-set snack?
Fritos with tapatio sauce.
I have it. Jeep Wrangler. Finally got it this year!
I have him, too!
What color do you wear most often?
If you were stranded on an island and you could either have ice cream or chocolate, what would you choose?
Neither. I’m not a fan of sweets. I’d go fishing.