Carmina Garay as Sasha, right, is pictured with Tess Romero as Elena, left. (Photo courtesy of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution)
Redondo Union High School

Meet Carmina Garay, star of Disney+ original series ‘Diary of a Future President’

With inspiration from her grandfather and a passion for acting that began only at eight months old, now 16-year-old Carmina Garay can be found on the Disney+ original series “Diary of a Future President”.

Garay plays Sasha, Elena’s high-spirited and enthusiastic best friend who readily supports her throughout many of the middle school dilemmas she encounters in the series. Despite this role Sasha is tied to, Garay said that Sasha can be relatable to viewers in that she possesses an identity and personal ambitions of her own.

“So many sidekick or best friend characters are made to be just that as if they’re only there to live for their best friend,” Garay said. “Sasha has a really rich offscreen life which is really cool.”

Garay said she wanted to show the humanity in Sasha’s portrayal and appreciates being allowed to receive scenes where she can dive deeper into her character by offering Sasha depth and emotion.

“When I wanted to play this role, in particular, it was the show’s concept itself that was so inspirational. The idea of a Cuban American girl who is going to become president one day was such an amazing idea to me, that a person out of a small community was able to hold such a powerful position,” Garay said.

She said she also appreciates the diversity in the series.

“It’s amazing that people can see so many kinds of different people play all types of different parts in the show. The feminism within the project really drew me in and got me excited about it too,” Garay said.

Concerning the pandemic, Garay said that filming follows a protocol that makes it “completely safe.” According to her, both staff and actors are required to wear a mask until the point of actual filming, actors are tested three times per week, and a six-foot distance is maintained whenever possible, even during lunches.

“It is difficult because it’s not like anything I’ve ever done before,” Garay said. “I love being able to work with my friends and seeing everyone again, [but it can be tedious when] you have to make sure you’re not near anybody when you go outside to take a sip of water, or when you have to remember to use hand sanitizer. But I know [the staff] works very hard to make sure everyone who’s working is the healthiest they can be, and I’m grateful to be able to work.”

Even with the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on the production, the cast manages to retain their close bond, according to Garay.

“We’re like a family; we joke around when we’re not filming, of course, we have a group chat, we text. We even have a little picnic circle during lunch where we’re all six feet apart, and it’s so much fun sharing that quality time with everyone. If we weren’t in a pandemic, we would probably be hanging out after being on set or during weekends, but we do our best to be able to interact with each other,” Garay said.

After initially reading the script for “Diary of a Future President,” Garay said she acknowledged and appreciated the positive messages the show gives through the stories it tells, which, other than being with the cast, is something she admires most about the show.

“It can translate to all ages, like parents can be sitting with their kids watching the show and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s actually a really good message and I can understand and feel that.’ I think that the way the show affects you is an amazing thing to be able to experience and it was my favorite part,” Garay said.

She admits the set of “Diary of a Future President” has undoubtedly been one of her favorites to work on, ranking it among her “top three or top two.”

“It’s certainly much bigger than a lot of the other sets that I’ve worked on previously and I get to be able to get to know people more as I work with them. It’s just more of a community,” Garay said.

In regards to the series’ sophomore season, which was renewed in May and is set to release sometime next year, Garay said she is thrilled to see how viewers react to newer characters and what lies in store for older ones.

“There’s a lot of new people coming in, and I love working with all of them,” Garay said. “I think that you’re going to get a lot of fun surprises from both new characters and old characters. I love seeing the dynamics of both sides working with each other, and I think that’s what people are going to be most excited about.”