Francia Raisa experienced a new — and overwhelming — level of fame in September when it was revealed that she donated her kidney to save the life of her best friend Selena Gomez, whose battle with lupus made the transplant necessary. Now, she’s in the spotlight again, but on a happier occasion — her latest role in the highly anticipated series Grown-ish, Freeform’s spinoff of the award-winning series Black-ish. Although the actress rose to fame in films like Bring it On: All or Nothing and the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the 29-year-old is center stage like never before and admits it’s a challenging adjustment.
“I’m still not used to it. At first — I’m not gonna lie, I was so nervous. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I should post this, what are people gonna think?’ And I’ve never been that person that cares what people think,” Raisa recently told Teen Vogue. “I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say, ‘You shouldn’t care what people think’ and then feel self-conscious, because people are gonna say something no matter what. I’ve just been myself on Instagram, honestly; I’ve gotten a lot of attention lately and I haven’t changed a thing.”
Even though she’s ratcheting up an impressive résumé in Hollywood, the actress told the fashion magazine that she’d advise her younger self to “go to college,” as has her character Ana on Grown-ish. “That’s something that I am going to do even if it’s later in life,” she said. “I know that it’s not for everyone, but I’m a person that likes to have a teacher, I like taking notes, and I like reading….So if I could find the space to actually be in a school and be like, ‘Well, gotta learn this, it’s important to me,’ I think that’d be really cool.”
The Los Angeles-born Honduran-Mexican also revealed the similarities she shares with Ana. Like Ana, she said, she was born in a conservative Catholic family, although unlike the character she plays, she is not a Republican, nor is anyone in her family: “We grew up in these super conservative…homes. [We both had] strict rules, and following the Bible and doing all the sacraments and stuff, so we’re similar in that we kind of want to unleash and do our own thing.”
Fans seem to be equally enthralled by Ana and the actress herself. When the show’s first episode premiered on Jan. 3, followers couldn’t contain their excitement online. One tweeted: “I love her character… I cant wait to see what her character does next!” Another raved about the actress’s return to television: “Love love love seeing @therealfrancia on tv again.”
Grown-ish airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Freeform.