In the new Disney+ series Diary of a Future President, there’s a Latina leading the United States as its commander-in-chief, but there’s so much more to her story. Yes, the series does kick off with a look at adult Elena Cañero-Reed, played by Jane the Virgin‘s Gina Rodriguez (who is also the show’s executive producer), but the focus will be on junior high-aged Elenita, played by Tess Romero.
Audiences will go back in time and get to know the Latin-American tween from Miami who will grow up and one day conduct business from the Oval Office. Elenita lives with her mom Gabi (Selenis Leyva), and her brother Bobby (Charles Bushnell), the latter of whom she isn’t too crazy about.
The streaming series, debuting Jan. 17, is a coming-of-age comedy that tackles the challenges of growing up Latinx in the United States and how everyone has the power to achieve greatness no matter the obstacles.
“I hope young girls feel represented by this show and that it means as much to them as it does to me,” Romero tells EW exclusively. “It is extremely important that young girls are able to watch female characters who look like them, are successful, and grow up to help others, just like Elena. Representation is crucial, not just on television but in all media. I hope that Elena can inspire young girls and show them they can achieve their dreams.”
Leyva, who starred on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black for seven seasons, is excited for audiences to see a Latinx family like they’ve never seen before on television.
“This is such a wonderful time for this show to come out,” she says. “We truly haven’t seen a Latinx family in this way. What’s exciting about Diary of a Future President is how this will inspire young girls to be fearless. As a young girl, I didn’t have anyone I could relate to on screen. Elena is going to speak to all young girls that are leaders, that see themselves making a difference and who are unapologetic for their strengths.”
Series creator Ilana Peña calls the comedy a “love letter” because “every great leader was once a middle school kid” who endured “that messy, universal experience.”
“To me, this show represents limitless possibility — not just for young girls or Latinx families who may not have seen themselves on screen before,” Peña adds, “but for anyone who’s experienced the vulnerable, glorious journey of growing up.”
Diary of a Future President also costars Criminal Minds‘ Aisha Tyler, On My Block‘s Jessica Marie Garcia, PEN15‘s Carmina Garay, and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce actor Michael Weaver.