Antonia Gentry's starring role in Ginny & Georgia helped her process some of the microaggressions she says she experienced as a teenager.
Ginny & Georgia follows Antonia's Ginny as she and her mother Georgia (played by Brianne Howey) navigate life in their new town. Ginny, whose mother is white and father is Black, falls in with a new group of friends, but finds herself having to deal with subtle, yet insensitive comments about her race from her new squad.
"There are moments when Ginny's friends, they have microaggressions that they put on her. Some of it comes from my own experiences," the actress told guest host Stephen "tWitch" Boss during the March 19 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "There's a character named Samantha in the show and she asks Ginny questions that are pretty insensitive, like, 'What are you? You look so exotic. Which one of your parents is white? I want to have mixed babies but I don't want to deal with all that hair.'"
She added that another character, Brody, complimented Ginny when she straightens her hair, saying she looks "so much better" with the new hairstyle and "if only she had a butt, she'd be perfect."
They are words Antonia has heard before. "Of course, that's a stereotype," she explained. "But yeah, those were things that were said to me by some of my peers growing up, and they didn't really realize how hurtful those comments were."
The Netflix star shared that she admires how Ginny is able to stand up for herself during those uncomfortable moments. "When I was that age, I was confused," she told tWitch. "I didn't address things in the moment. I didn't really understand why I felt so much like an outcast sometimes. I feel like a lot of people, they experience things where something is said to them that is hurtful, or something is done to them that is hurtful, but at the moment you're just surprised, you don't know how to process it, you don't know how to address it. It's not until later on that you realize, 'Oh, this is what happened. I wish I said this.'"
She added that the show has been a "cathartic" experience for her, explaining, "I forgave myself for not sticking up for myself. I forgave my friends for not being aware of what they were doing. It definitely brought me closure as an adult."
"I fell in love with playing as Ginny Miller because she is a character who dares to be flawed, a character who tries her hardest to melt into the world around her seamlessly, but is consistently told no," she shared. "She is a character among many in the show who implicate us all. She shows us our own biases, prejudices and injustices. She loves, she lies and she stands up for what she believes in—even though she may not have all of her facts straight. She makes mistakes—morally, mentally, physically, emotionally—and not just within herself, but within the broken world she lives in."