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Ciara Riley Wilson on playing a Fil-Am teen in Netflix's 'Freeridge'

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Feb 07 2023 09:04 AM

Ciara Riley Wilson. Photo credit: Netflix 'Freeridge'
Ciara Riley Wilson Netflix "Freeridge"

In the new Netflix comedy series 'Freeridge,' Filipina American actress Ciara Riley Wilson plays Demi, one of its four main characters.

The coming-of-age show, a spin-off from 'On My Block,' has a diverse young cast led by Keyla Monterroso Mejia, Bryana Salaz, and Tenzing Norgay Trainor.

Ciara Riley Wilson at the red carpet. Photo credit: Netflix 'Freeridge'
Netflix "Freeridge"

Being able to play a Filipino character is something that Wilson said matters greatly to her. Fellow Fil-Am actress Ashley Argota plays her sister in the show.

"For me growing up, there wasn't anybody that I could see on screen that I saw myself in and especially sharing a teen story. I think it's really important. And I'm really glad that I got this opportunity to share my experience, and I hope that it inspires a lot of people who see themselves in me knowing that they can do it, too. Not only acting but just seeing their story represented on-screen," Wilson said.

Ashley Argota. Photo credit: Netflix 'Freeridge'
Ashley Argota Netflix "Freeridge"

Wilson also appeared as Leah Valencia in the NBC hit show 'Quantum Leap' with lead star Raymond Lee. Her character’s name was changed to match her Filipino ethnicity upon Wilson’s suggestion.

In recent years, representation in Hollywood has improved, but for decades, there were significant barriers that Asian talents had to overcome in order to be seen.

Ciara Riley Wilson with Tenzing Norgay Trainor. Photo credit: Netflix 'Freeridge'
Ciara Riley Wilson with Tenzing Norgay Trainor Netflix "Freeridge"

For Wilson, it was 'definitely' difficult to navigate the limitations as an aspiring actor.

"There's not a lot of roles that come your way, especially ones that are looking for Filipinos or Asians. It's a lot of just ethnically ambiguous or any ethnicity and so it was really, really cool that I got to read and when I saw the breakdown and said Asian American, I was like, 'Yes, this is my role.' And I loved the character and I saw so much of myself, even in the character breakdown, so it was really, really special."

Photo credit: Netflix 'Freeridge'
Netflix "Freeridge"

All eight episodes of the first season 'Freeridge' are now streaming on Netflix.

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