6 Things To Know About Genius Grant Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lead Photo: Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty
Read more

Now that Lin-Manuel Miranda has won a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he’s been just about everywhere, meaning that as he does more and more interviews, we continue to learn new tidbits about the Hamilton creator. We already knew the basics, like he’s 35, he wrote the first draft of In the Heights while in college at Wesleyan, and he’s working on music for Disney’s upcoming Moana. This week, he’s opened up about different parts of his life, including immigration and issues of identity.

Check out six things we learned about one of the few Latinos Tina Fey can remember in high-pressure situations:


He's the slacker of his family.

For someone who has had two hit plays – In the Heights and Hamilton – this may sound like bullshit. But actually, when he called himself a slacker at this year’s Advertising Week, his words spoke more to how much he respects his father. “It’s a Hamiltonian story, my father’s story,” he said, “from a tiny island, being like ‘I’ve got to get out of here’ and he made an amazing life for himself.”

His dad came to New York from Puerto Rico at 18. He learned English and went into politics. “(My dad) is inexhaustible. I am the slacker of my family.”


He's tricking you into thinking he's a genius.

Miranda said the best way for people to think you’re a genius is to write about geniuses. “And then everyone goes, ‘Oh, my God, he’s a genius! Hamilton’s a genius!’ They conflate the two,” he said to Rolling Stone. “I’m not a fucking genius. I work my ass off. Hamilton could have written what I wrote in about three weeks. That’s genius.”


He didn't start off writing about Latino experiences.

In high school, his first two musicals sounded a lot like Rent, but there was nothing Latino in them, save for a character with a Latino last name. “It wasn’t out of shame or embarrassment, I just didn’t bring anything from home to what I was writing,” he told Grantland. “It was just like, ‘This is is for high school and I’m writing about high school shit.'”

When he was at Wesleyan University, he joined a Latino program house called La Casa.  “It was such a dope house; you had to write an essay to get in about why you were a Latino community leader, and that was the first time — there were kids whose parents owned bodegas, and there are kids whose parents were both Wesleyan alums and they always knew they were going to Wesleyan and they’re Latino, but they’ve got the code switch down easy like I do,” he added.

In the same interview, he said that Ruben Blades and Marc Anthony are two of his heroes.


He put Donald Trump on blast.

Miranda said that immigrants have been at every corner in the U.S.’s history, but that “every 20 years they are a dirty word.” He said that right now it’s Mexicans’ and Latin Americans’ turn. “But as long as (Donald) Trump is out there, I will be the counterweight saying, ‘We’ve always been here. We make our country better,'” he said at Advertising Week.


Miranda faced prejudice, even after his successful show 'In the Heights.'

Miranda says that just like other male Latinos, he’s had ridiculous comments directed at him. At black-tie events, he’s been confused for a waiter more than once. “Even after In the Heights opened, I was at a thing and a lady waves me over and goes, ‘She never got her salad,'” he told the Rolling Stone.


This is what he's excited for.

This didn’t come from an interview, but last week on Twitter, Miranda said he was excited for the beginning of the Gloria Estefan musical, On Your Feet!