Sonia Manzano talks about playing Maria on Sesame street for 44 years.
During her four decades as Maria on Sesame Street, Manzano also won 15 Emmys for writing scripts for the show. Her passion for children’s storytelling started when she was a kid in the Bronx — disappearing into her imagination in order to navigate her tumultuous home life and neighborhood. Those early experiences of exploring the inner workings of her own mind, inspired Manzano to create a new animated children's series called, Alma’s Way.
For Manzano, Maria and Alma are two characters that showcase how important representation is. She's tired of seeing the same old characters on TV, and during Latin Heritage Month, the actress and screenwriter encourages other creators to share their own original stories with the world.
“There just has to be more stories. Lena Waithe said this, ‘The doors open a little bit, they let a few people in, and then they close the door again. And we get one story," says Manzano.
"We just need a lot more, and people would be interested in a lot more stories.