It’s been quite an adventure for Francia Raisa over her 16-year career. The Mexican-Honduran-American actress started working in Hollywood in 2005 at the age of 17. Soon after, her breakout role came when she starred in five seasons of the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Raisa is now starring in the fourth season of Grown-ish, a spin-off of the ABC hit series Black-ish. On the show, she plays Ana Torres, a friend of the main character Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi), who is starting her senior year of college and trying to work out her own relationship problems. The new season begins with Ana, Zoey, and the rest of the group on vacation in Mexico the summer before they start their final year at Cal U. The scenes portrayed in Mexico were actually shot in Southern California.
“With the pandemic and everything, we couldn’t [shoot in Mexico],” Raisa, 32, told Remezcla during an interview last week. “It was still nice to be by the water.”
When she does visit Mexico, Raisa said she likes trying to find the more authentic parts of the country. Her mother is from a very small town called La Ciénega in the state of Jalisco. “I was actually sad when I was in Cancún,” she said. “I was like, ‘Y este queso?! What is this? This isn’t queso fresco! Why is it yellow?!’ The less touristy, the better.”
Over the last few years, Raisa said she had seen a shift in the way Hollywood has received her as a Latina actress. It wasn’t so easy early in her career. “Before, I would go into auditions, and I’d see white people, and I’d be like, ‘I have zero chance at this role,’” she shares. “Now, people are a lot more open-minded. They want to know more about my culture rather than question it. It’s definitely an evolution I’m happy about. I’m a proud Latina, and I walk it. People appreciate that about me.”
New episodes of Grown-ish Season 4 air on Freeform every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.