Brie Larson, Yara Shahidi, and Their ‘Growing Up’ Heroes are Ready to Inspire

Created by Brie Larson and Culture House, Growing Up is an innovative hybrid docu-series that explores the challenges, triumphs, and complexities of adolescence through ten compelling coming-of-age stories. Before the show premieres on Disney+, I had the opportunity to interview Larson (Executive Producer/Director), Yara Shahidi (Director), Alex Crotty, Sage Grace Dolan-Sandrino, Emily Flores, and Sofia Ongele!

The series uses narrative, experimental, and documentary filmmaking to follow one casted individual, ages 18-22, as they tell their story. They represent a wide range of lived experiences, giving audiences emotionally powerful narratives that offer an engaging look at teenage-hood and the diverse social, familial, and internal obstacles young people face on their path to self-discovery and acceptance. Each 30-minute episode features one young person, or “hero,” and their experience growing up. Each episode is anchored by a deeply personal interview that allows our heroes to walk us through their childhood and teenage years. Alongside these interviews, creative cinematic reenactments help bring their major inflection points to life.

Disney/Anthony Artis

Larson directed Clare and Isabel’s episode. The Academy Award-winning actress is known for her role as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel in the MCU. Along with starring in Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, she will next be seen in 2023’s The Marvels.

Shahidi directed Sofia’s episode of the series. She is best recognized for her portrayal of Zoey Johnson in Black-ish and its spin-off, Grown-ish, as well as the lead role in The Sun is Also a Star.

Courtesy of Disney

Sofia: in a community with a lack of diversity, a young Black woman struggles with fear of failure.

Alex: a young woman’s happy childhood turns to sadness and she realizes she needs support. 

Sage: a young woman steps into her truth, beginning a life changing journey of transition.

Emily: a young disabled woman lands her first writing job and discovers a new world.  

Disney/Anthony Artis

We discussed inspiring each other, the portrayal of young adults in entertainment, advice for their younger selves, and what they hope their peers learn from their stories.

Watch my interviews here: