Seeing a Cuban-American future female president on the small screen is a sign of progress and so naturally we’re excited to see the return of Diary of a Future President on Disney+. Cuban American Elena Cañero-Reed, 12, (Tess Romero) is heading to seventh grade and is getting a little more accustomed to her inner voice which is a version of her future self played by executive producer Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin). The coming-of-age series follows Elena as she navigates the highs and lows of middle school before becoming president of the United States. The show is loosely based on the life of creator and executive producer Ilana Peña who told IndieWire that for this second season they’re focusing less on grown Elena in the White House and more on the development of her relationship with her inner voice and young Elena’s journey toward becoming president.
“This isn’t a show about a president; it’s a show about a teenage girl,” Peña told the publication. “So how do we break into her world instead of the other way around?”
The 10-episode season is available on the streaming platform and the season 2 trailer gives a preview of what’s going on in the lives of everyone in her household. Her mom Gabi (Selenis Leyva), is an attorney trying to balance being a mom with her career and a relationship that’s becoming more serious Sam Faber,(Michael Weaver). We also see her older brother Bobby (Charlie Bushnell) coming to terms with his sexuality. Jessica Maria Garcia (On My Block) shines as Gabi’s feisty colleague Camila and expect a cameo from disabled comedian/actress Danielle Perez on episode 7.
The cast is made up mostly of poderosas and we are here for it, especially with the cancellation of Latina-led series including Vida and One Day at a Time. That said, there’s still a long way to go for Latinx representation in Hollywood, especially showing the diversity within Latinidad. While we have shows like Gentefied and the upcoming comedy series about a Mexican-American family developed by Eva Longoria, we look forward to seeing more Latinxs behind and in front of the camera.
“I can’t be the only example of representation,” Peña told IndieWire. “I’m so proud to represent my community, but also I’m a white Latina; I have my specific story to tell.”
Being one of the few means she feels the pressures of succeeding with a Latinx-centered show, no doubt a reflection of the pressures of success Hollywood puts on productions by BIPOC. With Rodriguez as part of the project and her massive success on Jane the Virgin it’s certainly helped but the storytelling is the real heart of the show, much like ODAAT.
“I also feel the pressure to have it be successful,” Peña said. “So that gatekeepers don’t point to it and be like, ‘Well, ‘Diary’ didn’t work.’” Peña cited One Day At a Time as a show that broke barriers but was canceled. “I wish that we didn’t have to have such hard proof in order for representation to happen.”