Actress Sonia Manzano recently attended the 2015 National Book Festival to promote her new memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. The book covers her childhood, a period in which she faced poverty and domestic violence at home. “I was born in this crazy family, but I had my own set of tools that helped me keep my head above water,” she reflected in a recent interview. She ends the story with her entry into Sesame Street, where she portrayed the role of Maria for over four decades on the popular children’s program.
Manzano also worked as a scriptwriter on the show, winning fifteen Emmy Awards. She felt supported in that endeavor. “I wanted a better, a more accurate representation of Latino culture on the show,” she said, requesting small but meaningful additions on the set like plantains on a fruit cart.
Surprisingly, Manzano’s daughter, Gabi, was not interested in a long term role on Sesame Street. “She wanted to hang out in the Muppet Room with all the Muppets,” Manzano remarked good-naturedly.
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