It’s impossible not to feel excited about the future when you hear Marsai Martin’s story. After starting acting classes following a chance meeting with a photographer, Martin booked black-ish at age 9. Since, the ABC actress has crafted an already-iconic sitcom character with the Johnson family’s youngest daughter, Diane. She's also scored the title of executive producer for Little, a film out next year that she dreamt up herself — all at the ripe age of 13.
That’s why Martin’s description of her character Diane as “witty, smart, and the definition of Black girl magic,” is also the perfect summary for Martin herself, a self-described “old soul.”
Soon, Martin will add a dash of her own magic to the big screen with Little, which explores what happens when an adult wakes up and finds herself a child again. With the teen producing and starring in the comedy, she hopes to signal to girls that they’re never too young to go after their dreams.
“That’s kind of the reason I love what I do and why I’m here,” Martin says. “You don’t see a lot of young Black girls on TV or in movies, so I would love to inspire and open that door for other young Black girls to do the same.”
Martin adds that her generation, specifically, is doing “big things.” And she’s leading the charge.
Black Is The New Black is Refinery29’s celebration of 20 Black women who kicked down doors in their fields this past year. Black women who are reminding the world that we are not a trend or “a moment.” We’re here — and we’ve been here. Check out the full list.