Sesame Street Has a New Latina In Town

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Sesame Street welcomes a new Latina character to the iconic children’s show and her name is Nina. The character is the latest in a number of new faces added to the long running children’s program. Nina is a college student working several jobs to fund her education. She is able to pay for school working at the shop, laundromat, and babysitting Elmo.

The young Latina character is bilingual and “uses her wit, compassion and charisma to help the furry residents of Sesame Street solve their daily dilemmas, providing a positive role model for preschoolers,” according to the Sesame Workshop.

“Sesame Street is constantly evolving and has a long-standing history of modeling a diverse community,” as stated on the character description for the official site. “As producers took note of changing demographics in the United States, it was important to represent this diversity in the new addition to the cast.”

Nina is portrayed by 26-year-old Miami born Cuban-American actress Miamian Suki Lopez who is no stranger to diversity in her life and filled with pride to represent Latinas in her role as Nina. “Its funny-you’re so proud to be Latina. I’ve never met somebody who’s so proud” Lopez recalled in a phone conversation with New Times. Lopez responded politely with confusion “Why wouldn’t I be?”

The Cuban-American hopes her Latin pride is clearly seen on the show. “I want to make sure that [my acting] comes cross that I’m proud to be Latina and [that if you’re Hispanic] you should be too,” Lopez said, according to the News Times. Lopez joined the cast for the 46th season. The new addition follows the departure of the beloved first Latina character Maria who exit in 2015 during the 45th season after being on Sesame Street for 44 years.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin who created the petition for Sesame Street to have a college attending Latina on the show said this when speaking of the positive affect it could have “a great opportunity to highlight a millenial Latina who is pursuing a college or graduate degree, or who’s running her own business.” Dr Perez-Litwin believes sending Nina to college will inspire an entire generation of children to do the same.

You can watch Suki Lopez as Nina on Sesame Street daily on PBS’s KLRN at 1pm and on HBO/HBO Latino Sundays at 9am.

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