To say Yeardley Smith has a lot in common with Lisa Simpson, the character she has voiced on "The Simpsons" for 31 seasons, would be a massive understatement.
"I don't think you can play a character for as long as I've played Lisa Simpson and not have that character rub off on you -- and vice versa," Smith, 56, told "Good Morning America" about her more than three decades of inhabiting the role.
"I often say Lisa Simpson is all the best parts of who I'd like to be -- she is sort of the very best version of me and really far more extraordinary than I often feel on a day-to-day basis," she continued.
Playing this role has been "such a privilege and an honor," the Emmy winner said, calling Lisa "funny and multi-faceted and complicated and flawed and aspirational."
"I couldn't ask for anything better than that," she gushed.
As far as her character's impact on fans, Smith said it's hard to describe how it feels to have a stranger come up to you and tell you you've had a positive impact on their life.
"It's not why I do what I do," she said, "but, as a P.S. to my job, it never gets old."
This, of course, includes people telling her their daughter plays saxophone or their daughter loves math because of her on-screen persona.
Smith has had men in suits who are bankers tell her Lisa Simpson is their favorite "The Simpsons" character, something she calls "unexpected."
"What's interesting is Lisa Simpson has touched people of all ages, men and women," Smith added. "I'm just open and happy and I welcome all of it."
As for Lisa's function on the overall show, Smith said the writers "use her on the soapbox often, which can be really successful. She can, you know, make a political statement, she can make a human rights statement, whatever."
"But those things, for me, are really only successful if you also remember that Lisa Simpson is 8," she continues. "So you have to juxtapose those moments against Lisa Simpson laughing at Itchy and Scratchy or fighting with Bart or being childlike in some way."
Smith said she thinks people are drawn to the spiky-haired icon because of her optimism, her resilience and her sense of humor -- all of which give her a "great heart."
One particular shining moment for Lisa came in the 2000 episode titled "Bart to the Future" (season 11, episode 17). In this half-hour adventure, the show jumps ahead 30 years and we see Lisa has been elected the "first straight female" president of the United States, something Smith says makes total sense to her.
"I always joke that the writers give Lisa Simpson something at the beginning of an episode and 22 minutes later, by then they've taken it away," Smith teased. "But she never lowers the bar, that's my point. So for Lisa to become president is completely in keeping with her level of ambition. Why wouldn't she go for what she thinks is the most impactful, important, how-can-I-make-the-most-difference job in the world?""
"Lisa Simpson is nothing if not ambitious," she noted. "I didn't even get into college, so there's that. So it's sort of hilarious that Lisa Simpson is so smart. This is where we part ways, people. Academically."
If Lisa were around in our current day, Smith said we'd "of course" see her out there "marching and fighting for equality in every area." After all, as Smith points out, Sen. Ted Cruz did once famously say "the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson."
But the thing about "Bart to the Future" is how, at its core, it's an episode focused on the brother-sister dynamic between Lisa and Bart. Smith said these types of episodes are some of her favorites in the whole series.
"The success of it is, for me anyway, they're total opposites; They fight like cats and dogs but, under that, there is, I think, a genuine ... and authentic curiosity about each other, about the other one," she said.
"So in this day and age," Smith explained, "when I think the country often feels so divided, I think that if we could all just be a little curious about the thing we don't know much about, and ask one good question and then listen, it might go a long way toward bridging that divide."
At the end of the day, Smith said the reason Lisa -- and "The Simpsons" in general -- have stood the test of time is simply their relatability.
"Even though she is a little two-dimensional character on TV, I think most people think of her as three dimensional, as an actual living, breathing human being. That is the success of that character -- and really of the show itself, I think. That people think of that family as their neighbors or their cousins or their whoevers. That's pretty remarkable."
"In so many ways," Smith noted, "I feel like 'The Simpsons' turned out to be lightning in a bottle."