The stars of Netflix's On My Block have a bright future ahead of them. The cast has garnered tons of praise for their portrayal of teens impacted by gang violence and everyday drama against the backdrop of South Central L.A.
Aside from the show's incredible cast, fans and critics have praised On My Block for its diversity and portrayal of gun violence. Brett Gray, who plays Jamal, told ESSENCE, "It's a dream come true being able to show our side of the tracks. There are so many people out there that are saying, 'Oh my gosh, this is what happens to us. One day we're playing around and the next day something gets real.'"
At the center of the show is Monse (Sierra Capri) and Cesar (Diego Tinoco), two crazy kids in love with some very adult problems. Cesar is trying to find a way out of the Santos gang, led by his brother, and Monse is sure she's found the mother who abandoned her as a child.
ESSENCE caught up with Sierra Capri, who opened up about the show's portrayal of female friendship, her character's growth and whether Jasmine will ever really be a part of the group. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead.
ESSENCE: Something I enjoyed about the show is that, initially, you believe that Monse and Olivia will have some sort of beef over Cesar, but you guys settled the issue so quickly. It's cool how the show portrays their friendship.
SIERRA: The show did a good job of proving that no friendship should be broken up over somebody else, especially a guy. There might have been a lot of opinions associated with cultures and those stereotypes, so I'm glad the show did a great job of showing how friendship can overcome anything. At the end of the day, Olivia and Monse are closer than ever and they form a bond and become really good friends. They really trust in each other and value each other's opinions on topics that they're dealing with. They use each other to help get through things.
ESSENCE: Your character is also relatable. How much do you relate to Monse? Is there any part of her that you see yourself reflected in?
SIERRA: Definitely. I was never one to feel like I had to fit in. I would just sit back and whoever gravitated towards me, that's who would stay in my life. She's definitely independent and very outspoken. I wasn't as outspoken. Growing up, I tended to be a little shy and not as hot-headed as she was, but we're definitely both headstrong. That's where I think we're the most similar.
ESSENCE: Have you seen fan reactions and are there reactions from people that stick out to you?
SIERRA: Yes. I love it when people write comments or send me messages and tell me how much I inspire them because they're also tomboys and they're dealing with the same issues that Monse deals with on the show. They had questions that they needed help with and she was able to be a guide for them.
ESSENCE: So, if the show gets a second season, do you think there will be a relationship with Julia, the woman Monse believes is her mom?
SIERRA: I would hope so. I would love for her to explore that situation a little bit more and for once focus on herself and...get her priorities in order. Sometimes she can be a little all over the place; if she could just focus on herself and find herself, ultimately, that's what I would want.
ESSENCE: I'm curious about Monse's relationship with Cesar, as well, because high school is so up and down and your emotions change. Do you see you guys sticking it out throughout the series?
SIERRA: I think they're growing together, as well as learning from each other. Their relationship and their bond have overcome a lot of challenges so far. They will always have a connection. They will always have a bond. I wouldn't doubt that there would be a couple more bumps in the road just because, like I said, when you grow up sometimes you grow up in different directions. Or, you guys take the same path. So anything could happen.
ESSENCE: How do you see the group and the family, changing? With Ruby getting shot, how do you think that will impact everyone?
SIERRA: I definitely think everyone will be in a state of shock. In season two they will still be trying to process what happened during the season finale. I think everyone was a little overwhelmed by the finale, so in season two I'm going to be anxious to see what happens with Ruby and Olivia.
ESSENCE: The other day, someone was like, "Ruby better not be dead," and I agreed.You and Olivia formed this great bond, but there's also Jasmine, who isn't part of the group but really wants to be. Will you both let her into the group?
SIERRA: You know what? Me, personally, I have no problem with her being in the group. I think we could use her personality to lighten the mood a little bit because Monse seems to take herself very seriously a lot of the time, so I'd be happy to put her in the group. I'm all for it, but Monse, on the other hand.
ESSENCE: Jasmine also steals people's underwear so I could see why you guys might not be interested.
SIERRA: Yeah, that might have to change if she ends up becoming part of the crew.
ESSENCE: Outside of the show, what projects you're working on?
SIERRA: None that I can talk in depth about, but there's definitely a couple projects in the works. A movie.
ESSENCE: That's cool. Anything on your bucket list for that you hope to accomplish this year?
SIERRA: A season two, definitely. I would love to get the word that we've gotten a season two and many more to come after that. And, just having more projects under my belt and being a part of more things.
On My Block is now streaming on Netflix.