Sierra Capri is The Future
You’re clearly not African American but your clearly not white, so what are you?” That’s the question Sierra Capri grew up hearing. Though the world tried to create a box to fit her in, the “On My Block” star could not be marginalized by a stereotype. It seems like Sierra Capri was born to re-define convention, to go beyond the cliché and to escape the mold society tried to force her into. Just like her character Monse in the acclaimed Netflix show, Sierra skips the banality of societal norms for the pursuit of authentic living.
Sierra Capri stars as Monse Finnie. A brilliant Afro-Latina teen leading a group of street-savvy friends as they navigate their way through high school in the gritty inner-city of south central. This breakout coming of age story tows the line between comedy and drama perfectly. “It was interesting, at first I thought the show was a drama. Upon reading the script I realized it was a dramedy. I think our show is definitely something you can learn from but also laugh at."
Sierra brings an inspired performance leading the talented cast. She handles herself on screen with the confidence of someone who’s been in this business for a lifetime, although that isn’t the case. Believe it or not, Sierra only has one acting credit to her name on IMDB for her role in On My Block.
Before being cast on the hit Netflix show, Sierra was an extra on the movie Hidden figures. On that set, she met the actress who would help her film her self-tape, which subsequently got her the role of Monse Finnie. “I remember driving two hours from Savannah, Georgia, which is where my college is, to my home which was midway. And then from there, driving another two hours to Atlanta, Georgia, which is where the taping room was.” Once Sierra got to Atlanta she spent the whole day filming and re-filming, doing take after take, to make sure it was perfect before sending it later that day.
“I was preparing myself for anything at that point, it didn’t really hit me until one of the casting directors emailed me and said, we like you, do you have time tomorrow to FaceTime with one of the producers? And that turned out to be Lauren Iungerich, who is the creator of the show.”
From self-tape to stardom, Sierra Capri is a constant professional. Despite landing a leading role on a major Netflix show, Sierra keeps it real and never forgets who got her there. “My mother and my father are two of my biggest supporters. They always push me to follow my dreams and do what I have always wanted to do.”
In a world that glorifies the self-made individual, Sierra adheres to the “it takes a village” approach. She recognizes that greatness is not singular, nor can it be achieved alone. “I always say that at the end of the day, talent gets you 50% of the way. The other 50% comes from people who believe in you and believe in what you can do.” Sierra has come to a realization that many never arrive at. She knows that the people who get you there are the ones that will keep you there. “I never forget that I would not be where I am without a handful of people. And if you remember that, it's impossible to not stay true to yourself.
On My Block is a special type of show, one that everyone can relate to. Though it tells a specific story the diverse cast brings something that everyone watching can call their own, and Sierra is keenly aware of that. In a culture that seems to constantly prop up the powerful and privileged at the expense of the regularly marginalized and forgotten, she hopes the show and her performance can go beyond entertainment. “I hope that it can be inspiring and it can be something to unite all women, especially all women of color. I hope to show others that they are not alone.”
Growing up in a school system that sought to define, box-in and delineate, Sierra stood out as an individual. “I was a cheerleader and part of the art club as well as the technology club… I was into every club.” I guess by her own description that would have made Sierra a tech-savvy, artsy cheerleader in high school. I don’t think there is a seat in the cafeteria for that designation. And that’s the point. Sierra knows that staying true to herself is the secret to finding opportunity and shaking off limits.
Though Sierra was involved in so much growing up, ultimately it was acting that stole her heart. “I love being able to tell a story to the best of my ability and actually become the character. It’s where I feel the most myself and the most comfortable. In real life, I'm quite shy when I first meet people. Acting is an outlet for me."
On My Block has already been renewed for a second season. As someone who personally binge-watched the entire first season over the course of a weekend, I can confidently say that a second season was not only imminent but necessary. On My block not only entertains, it also informs. “The creator, Lauren Iungerich, and the writers are hoping to contribute to the shift of opinions about certain cultures and stereotypes.”
Sierra’s advice to anyone pursuing their dream is simple. “Do not give up. Don't take no for an answer. Remember that just because your journey is different than the next person, it doesn’t mean it won’t lead to the same destination as them. You might get there a little slower or you might get there a little quicker, but it doesn’t mean that it's not in the cards for you.”
So who is Sierra Capri? Simply put, she’s the future. Just like her hit show, she represents a world beyond the concept of "us and them", a world beyond a society that wants to delineate and stereotype.