As a multicultural mom raising biracial kids, finding TV shows with positive role models can be challenging if not impossible. Disney Channel is changing that with this Disney’s Andi Mack Interview | Why It’s the Multicultural Teen Show My Childhood Is Missing. This post is sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.
Photos Courtesy of Disney Channel
Disney’s Andi Mack Interview | Why It’s the Multicultural Teen Show My Childhood Is Missing
In my history of Disney press trips, I can recall crying tears (yes, real tears) exactly two times during an interview. That’s me with full-on mascara running down my face while asking a celebrity a question. Number one – Harrison Ford. Duh. But number two – I’d bet that you’d never guess that it was the cast of the newest Disney Channel show, Andi Mack.
For some reason my whole childhood flashed before my eyes during this Andi Mack Interview with the cast and creators, and I became a teary-eyed mess. Find out why this Multicultural Teen Show is taking a big stance in television today, why it made me a blubbering mess, and why you won’t want to miss watching with your kids.
Starring An Asian-American Teen
Surprise, the leading actress is an Asian-American teen. Biracial herself, Peyton Elizabeth Lee embraces her role with pride, realizing that she represents so much more than just a “teen.”
It’s very different from anything that’s on the air right now. So, I definitely think it’ll be good for people like us and who aren’t just your average white kid, to be able to see that on the screen. I think that the fact that there are different ethnicities, it just makes the show that much more relatable and exciting.
In a Multicultural Family
I have seen too many shows where the Asian actor is “adopted” or the “friend.” But instead, Andi Mack is tackling the nucleus of the Asian-American family with a true multicultural family dynamic at the forefront. A tiger mom, the mother/daughter dynamic, stereotyping, clashing personality traits – many family dynamics that I can personally relate to. But the multicultural family aspect is new, even for the actors. Lilian Bowden (Andi’s older sister) admits that shifting her acting towards an Asian-American family focus was a different experience for her.
When I read the script, I didn’t see it any differently than an Asian-American family. I saw Celia as your archetypical tiger mom. And I saw Andi as the kid that I was when I was growing up, somebody who was trying really hard to please everybody and trying to figure out my place in the world. For me getting in this [role] is so exciting because I’m biracial as well. When I get cast in roles, there’s always an adjustment that needs to be made. The majority of people that we see on TV are Caucasian. So, they’ve had to adjust my back story if they wanted to cast me. It’s so nice to be able to be in a role where I can be truly myself.
Facing Today’s Issues
Sorry, Cleaver family. You’re not invited to this show. You and I both know, the teenage years are HARD. Really hard. And while many television shows tend to gloss over the teen years with a laugh, I admire what Andi Mack is bringing to the table. Family secrets, hormones, and dynamic imperfections are abound in this series. And I found that surprisingly refreshing. No longer hiding behind perfectly sequenced sitcoms, Disney Channel is talking about the heavy “life style,” adult situations in a kid-centered manner. Opening doors for conversations between teens and their parents, I admire what writer/creator Terri Minsky is trying to do – bridge the gap between family TV time.
Honestly, my message is watch TV with your parents. Television is a great medium for parents and kids to start a conversation. That was my goal. It wasn’t so much of a message to the kids. It was more – I hope this is good enough for children and parents, generations of family to watch together.
Photo credit: Disney Channel/Craig Sjodiin
Relating to So Many of US
For the tween and teen majority that will be watching, Andi Mack provides a unique perspective to handling the teenage years – and all of it’s “firsts” – in a 100% relatable way. But more than that, Andi Mack also represents the presence of Asian multicultural people on a large television scale. I mean, that’s huge. I love what Lauren Tom (Andi Mack’s mom) said in our interview:
I needed to attach myself to this for so many reasons, just how innovative it is and the diversity and feeling like when I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of role models. I never felt like I could be those perfect white kids that I was [watching on TV] because they just didn’t have anything to do with my reality whatsoever. Whereas this show is so much more real and reflective of what’s going on in the world today.
But so much deeper than that is the realization that Andi Mack is more than the face of the “average American teen,” but the face of an American teen, period. TV shows no longer need to hide behind the faces of perfect white households. My kids no longer need to look up to white teen role models. There’s MORE out there. Andi Mack represents us, all of us. She’s a girl with no barriers and no separation from the world, just a teen living her life the best way that she can. She’s exactly the girl I need my children to see. And I think she’s the girl that us as moms need all of our kids to see.
Andi Mack is the childhood show that I didn’t have. But it’s now the show that my children can have. And in that perspective, I see just how far television has come. Those tears as I bumbled out my interview question, I’m proud of those. My kids finally have a teen role model that they can relate to.
Check out the all-new multicultural teen show, Andi Mack, premiering TONIGHT April 7, 2017 at 8:30 pm/9:30 pm EDT only on the Disney Channel.
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip, sponsored by Disney in exchange for this Andi Mack interview. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more Disney insider information, movie updates and entertainment!