We all fell in love with mommy-to-be Nia Long when she first burst on the scene as Brandi in “Boyz n the Hood.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of the film, and Nia is reflecting on how it set the stage for her acting career.

“With ‘Boyz n the Hood’ it was a great way to introduce myself to the world as a young African American woman — girl at the time,” Nia tells The Loop 21. “I was just so excited to be doing my first real movie role.”

The film also helped build her confidence as a young actress. “It introduced me to the world in a way that it was okay for me to be who I am and still find success,” she added. “I didn’t have to conform to anything.”

Take a look at other films celebrating 20 this year.