Sonia Manzano, Actress, Screenwriter, Author, Speaker, and Singer-Songwriter. Her most famous role was playing Maria on Sesame Street from 1971 until 2015. She won 15 Emmy Awards as a writer for the show, and in 2016 received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award. Sesame Street was one of the first television shows to introduce an engaging and educational curriculum for children, deeply rooted in extensive pedagogical research.
“I’m very proud that young Latin women come up to me and say, ‘I never would have gone into broadcasting if I hadn’t seen you on television’—and that has happened a lot. I was born in the U.S. and watched a lot of television as a kid and never saw anybody who looked like me, so I knew how lacking that was, and how you could feel invisible.”
“I believe that I used my childhood to become a success. I’m the perfect Maria because of what I went through as a child. I thought Sesame Street was like a little safe haven for kids. They could watch for an hour and relax, and see a very organized world, and a very calm world, and a loving world. And I remembered not having that and wanting to put it in Sesame Street.”
EW, Photo via Yahoo