A spin-off of ABC’s Black-ish, Grown-ish follows Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) on her adventure through college and into adulthood. On her journey, Zoey meets a quite diverse group of people that she will soon call her best friends. Each character, bringing their unique attributes, contributes to the one-of-a-kind dynamic her friend group has. Let’s take a closer look into each of the characters, and identify how their role is important to Zoey’s maturing.
Ana Torres (Francía Raisa) was born in Miami, her parents being Cuban immigrants. Ana is a Catholic and Republican, but is not limited to just those two characteristics. She keeps an open mind, allowing her opinion to sometimes be unorthodox, like supporting Barack Obama even though she identifies as a republican.
Ana knows what she believes in and will fight her best fights for it. The same goes to her with her friends. She will stop at nothing to help them or stand up for them when they can’t. Ana’s open-mindedness is her most important trait, however. She doesn’t judge people right away or off of what they stand for. It’s a good message that the rest of her friends should really pick up on.
Aaron Jackson (Trevor Jackson) is a sophomore at Cal U, when first introduced to in Grown-ish. He is a passionate activist, working to change the world for his fellow Black Americans.
Aaron is always striving to push things to be better, in society and with his friends. He always encourages his friends to do the most they can and embrace change. As simple as trying a new pizza, in one of the episodes, Aaron is able to talk Ana, into trying a slice of pineapple pizza. Although this is only a piece of pizza, due to their previous conflicts, this scene reflects well on Aaron’s ability to spark an interest in people’s minds, no matter how silly it may seem.
Nomi Segal (Emily Arlock) is a young, bisexual, Jewish woman, and as Zoey would describe her, she is anything but average. Independent, she doesn’t conform to the rules set by anyone. “She is a liberated woman,” Zoey states in the first episode of Grown-ish. With her love of Rottweilers to Swedish death-metal concerts, she stands out from the start.
Nomi is very caring and compassionate to those she is close with. Throughout Zoey’s breakup with Cash, (Zoey’s boyfriend in season one) Nomi was always there for her. Zoey and Nomi were in an argument prior to the breakup, but when Nomi walked in on a crying Zoey, she put her ego to the side and comforted her friend. And when Ana had gotten way too drunk one night, Nomi was the one who helped her the entire night, even stayed in the room while Ana slept, to be sure she was okay.
Luca Hall (Luca Sabbat) an artist and fashion designer student at Cal U. A typical artist, Luca is free-spirited and has a creative mind. He has an easygoing personality but will always speak his mind.
Luca brings a sense of simplicity to the chaotic college life. Approaching all of his issues in a cool, calm, collected manner, he shows to the others that sometimes they are caring about the wrong things. Luca can be relied on if the characters need to get out of their own heads.
Jazlyn & Skyler Foster (Chloe & Halle Bailey) are twin sisters attending Cal U with their full-ride track scholarships. These two young, black, female athletes, have worked for and earned everything they have. With everyone’s eyes on them, Jazz and Sky leave no room for error. They constantly put in effort to maintain their spots at the school.
These girls bring the tough love. Jazz and Sky have deep loyalty to each other, and those they care about. They may act rough and tough, but these girls are quite sensitive actually. Under constant judgement, the girls are always having to prove themselves to their school and family back home. Because of this, they seem to judge everyone as well. But when things get real, they will have their friends back 100%.
Vivek Shaw (Jordan Buhat), “a first-generation Gujarati Indianan, born into a devoutly Hindu family.” Vivek is insecure about his family, calling his father a “bum” for being a taxi driver, (even though his parents efforts are what gave him this life in America). Focused on fitting in, Vivek is consistently trying to build himself a new identity, attempting to stray away (or maybe hide) from his origin.
Vivek has a high drive to be successful. While he should appreciate the life he has, it is admirable how he will stop at nothing to get where he wants. When Vivek’s drug-selling business gets him beat up, he does not give up, but takes a new approach to continue his “business.” Zoey disapproves of what he is doing, but even with the discouragement from his friends, Vivek stops at nothing to be who he wants to be. Showing to his friends (and the audience) that hard work will get you anywhere.