America Ferrera is up to a lot these days. The 34-year-old actress who just had her first child, son Sebastian four months ago, with husband Ryan Piers Williams, has a lot of exciting projects she’s working on. For starters, her hit NBC show Superstore is returning for it’s fourth season and her new book American Like Me: Reflection On Life Between Cultures is officially out September 25th. In a recent appearance on The Morning show, Ferrera talks about what inspired her to edit this collection of personal essays and why she thinks these stories are so important.
“I grew up never seeing my experience of being American in the culture. I am whole-ly American, fully American, and yet inextricably linked to my family’s roots in another country and that experience as an American, I never saw reflected back as me,” she said. “And I felt alone and isolated in that experience until I grew up and realized, that is so many people’s American experience and it’s lacking in the cultural narrative, so I wanted to do this book and not just tell my own story but invite thirty-some of my favorite people Lin-Manuel Miranda, Uzo Aduba, Issa Rae, just wonderful—Kumail Nanjiani—just wonderful people to tell their story so that young people can look at a book and see their own experience reflected back at them by people who are awesome and making culture.”
Ferrera even spoke a bit about how her experience directing and shouted out some of her Latina friends and colleagues who have inspired her to direct.
“Oh my gosh, I love it so much. It’s so wonderful to direct and you know it’s great on the show, but you know I’m so inspired by all of my friends who I see also just stepping up and doing it,” she says. “Eva Longoria is directing up a storm. Gina Rodriguez is directing on Jane The Virgin. We see each other doing it and it inspires us because it’s a lot and it’s hard work and it’s sometimes scary but when you see others taking that step, you just go for it.”
We’re definitely inspired to see more Latinas taking on directing roles and hoping that this encourages young Latinas to know they can take these kinds of leadership positions in the acting world—or in any industry—too.
Check out the rest of the full interview below!