Tess Romero's Revolutionary Role in 'Diary of a Future President' Forges a Positive Narrative (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
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Tess Romero is embarking on an exciting journey.
The 13-year-old actress takes the lead in Disney+'s new series, Diary of a Future President, bringing even more Latinx representation to the small screen.
Told through the narration of Elena, a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl, Diary of a Future President follows her journey through the ups and downs of middle school and family life, as it sets her on a path to becoming the future president of the United States. Gina Rodriguez, who produced the show, plays the older Elena. Orange Is the New Black star Selenis Leyva portrays her mother, Gabi.
According to Romero, the show's main message is understanding that "if you can survive [the challenges of] growing up, you can do anything."
"Growing up is a struggle, as we know from the show, and with that experience and getting through that you learn so much," Romero told ET ahead of the show's premiere on Jan. 17. "It really prepares you for life and [helps you realize] you can do anything."
Diary of a Future President is Romero's first major role -- and one that has the potential to inspire young girls to believe in their ability to achieve greatness. It's also a big moment for the Latinx community, as the show features for the first time a Latina becoming president of the United States.
Romero admitted that she didn't fully understand how revolutionary her character is until she landed the job. "All these people started telling me, 'This is insane! This is so cool that you're doing this! This needs to be seen. We don't see this enough.' And then I realized, 'Yeah, these people are right!'" Romero recalled. "It's such an honor that I am going to be a part of something that's helping represent many people of different backgrounds in media, and that's not happening as much as people want it to happen. It's really cool that I am part of something that advances that and is doing more for [the Latinx community]."
While Romero doesn't keep a diary like her character -- "It's just so much work," she laughed -- she does relate to and share a number of similarities with Elena. Aside from being around the same age, they've both experienced or had people close to them go through things that the show focuses on, such as living in a single-parent household, dating, school crushes, becoming a young woman, keeping secrets from friends and being teased by an older brother about a having a mustache.
You can see more of that play out in this exclusive trailer below.
Romero also shared what she most admires about Elena. "She's really strong and remains true to herself."
"She doesn't really care much about what everyone else thinks," she added. "She just cares about what she wants to do and what needs to be done. What she thinks is right."
Before becoming a teen, Romero was out attending women's marches with her family members. She learned at a young age the importance of equality and standing up for your beliefs.
"I love women, I love females," she said when asked why she's so passionate about attending such events. "I just think it's so important that women are represented, that people of color are represented, that all people are represented and have a voice."
"Everybody I know or that I'm close with considers themselves a feminist," Romero explained. "I didn't really realize that other people in the world didn't do that and that everywhere you go people weren't feminists. So once I realized that, I was like, 'Well, that's so weird. Let's do something about that.'"
The young actress also revealed the acting tips she received from Rodriguez and those incredible words of wisdom she shared.
"I remember she would always drop random tips that were so helpful," Romero said. "She gave me tips on how to do it and how she does it. Like, 'Try to connect with whatever is going on in your life, something stressful or something that hasn't been going well. Connect with the fact that the show is ending and you had such a fun time and you're so sad that it's over.' I was like, Wow, that's such a great piece of advice from someone so talented."
Romero said she's also passionate about the arts, storytelling and giving back. "There's still a lot I have to learn and a lot that I want to explore in the future," she shared. "I love acting and it's really fun, but who knows. Maybe [in the future] I'll do something else. I just want to do what makes me happy and whatever helps people and helps me. Something good and something that I connect with."
Diary of a Future President will be available to stream Jan. 17 on Disney+.
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