Tess Romero
Rising star

Meet Tess Romero: The young actress showing girls how to achieve greatness

She plays the role of a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl on the Disney+ series ‘Diary of A Future President’

Tess Romero might be 14 years old, but she knows her purpose in life and makes sure everything she desires becomes a reality. The actress stars on the Disney+ series Diary of A Future President.

The American comedy-drama streaming television series created by Ilana Peña and executive produced by Gina Rodriguez through I Can & I Will Productions is returning for its second season on August 18th.

Tess Romero©Francis Hills

The show follows the story of Elena Cañero-Reed, a 12-year-old Cuban American girl who attends middle school as she aspires to be a future president of the United States. Elena shares her journey by reading to viewers her most intimate thoughts. Her wishes, all written in her diary, introduce us to a confident and strong-willed person who impacts young girls in showing the power to achieve greatness no matter the obstacles.

Gina Rodriguez and Tess Romero©Disney+/Christopher Willard
Gina Rodriguez and Tess Romero

Tess Romero stars the series as young Elena, while Gina Rodriguez appears through flashforwards as the adult version and serves as President. Diary of a Future President also stars Selenis Leyva as Elena’s mother Gabi, Charlie Bushnell as Elena’s brother Bobby, and Michael Weaver as Gabi’s boyfriend Sam.

Recurring cast includes Jessica Marie Garcia as Gabi’s colleague Camila, Carmina Garay as Elena’s best friend Sasha, Sanai Victoria as Elena’s classmate Melissa, Harmeet Pandey as Elena’s friend Jessica, as well as Brandon Severs and Nathan Arenas as Bobby’s friends Liam and Danny.

Premiere Of Disney +'s "Diary Of A Future President" - After Party©GettyImages
Tess Romero, Charlie Bushnell, and Selenis Leyva arrive at the Disney +‘s “Diary Of A Future President” after party on January 14, 2020 in Hollywood, California.

Curios about Romero’s beginnings and what’s next in her career, HOLA! USA virtually sat down with the beautiful and talented actress to shed more light on her remarkable life as a Latinx actor.

Tess Romero "Diary of A Future President"©Disney+
When did you realize you wanted to be part of the entertainment industry?

I was about, like, four or three years old. And, I’ve always loved watching TV and movies, but it wasn’t until I started watching “The Fresh Beat Band.” I wanted to be part of the tv series, and my parents explained that that’s not how it works, that they’re actors. So I told them, “Great, I’ll be an actor.” And then, ever since I’ve been into musical theater, theater in general, I eventually started auditioning and acting. I’ve always loved it. I’ve always been drawn to it, and now I’m here.

How did you start your career?

The first thing I ever auditioned for was the Burlington Coat Factory commercial, and I got a callback. I got the rule, but I was the understudy. I was literally just there in case the actual girl who they wanted panicked or get stage fright or something. I was there just in case. But she didn‘t; she was great. So I just sort of sat in the corner and ate a bunch of chips. After that, there were a few auditions, commercials, and a guest star role here and there, and then I landed a role in “Diary of A Future President.”

Tell us about your role in “Diary of A Future President.”

I play Elena Cañero-Reed in “Diary of A Future President.” I love her. She is adorable, intense, funny, and great. She grows up to be the future president, which is cool because you can see the makings of a leader and how she learns what it means to be a good person, be a strong person, and do things the right way. We get to see her grow up and grow older and all her relationships with her family and friends, especially in season two. There‘s a lot of changes going on for her.

The second season of the show is premiering on August 18th. What can viewers expect?

People can expect a lot of changes and exciting things to happen —for all the characters. Although it‘s still the same show with the same essence, new things and events are taking place. Elena is growing up, and her relationship with her family is shifting. Her mother is grappling with her newfound independence, and she and her brother are growing closer. Her relationships with her friends are changing. We get to see her be friends with Melissa and Jessica this season, which is cool and exciting so that they can expect all of that and more.

Premiere Of Disney +'s "Diary Of A Future President" - Red Carpet©GettyImages
Ilana Peña, Tess Romero, Senior Vice President for Disney+ Agnes Chu and Gina Rodriguez
The first season told the story of a 12-year-old Cuban American and future leader. Are there any similarities between Elena Cañero-Reed and Tess Romero?

There are a few. I can relate to her situation. Being in middle school and those weird and awkward years of your life. She also comes from a very warm, loving family like me. She has great friends; she’s passionate about things like me.

How does it feel to work on a project from Gina Rodriguez and Ilana Peña?

Amazing. Incredible. Gina and Ilana are both so talented and professional. They‘re great at what they do. So, I love working with them. Gina— I learned so much from her as an actor. When we’re in scenes together, she brings a fun warm, loving energy on set. I try and almost copy her energy because when she’s onset, it’s a party, and everybody is having fun, messing around. So I try to keep up that atmosphere when she is not on set. When it comes to Ilana — she is so incredible. She’s intelligent and funny and sweet. It’s been so great to read her scripts and get to bring her words to life.

Do you put your input in the story or your character?

I try to stay in my lane because I‘m just an actor, I’m not the creator, but everybody behind the show is so great that they are interested in what I have to say. I’ve been playing Elena for a few years now, so if I have thoughts or opinions on certain things, they will be heard, too. I’m more comfortable voicing some of my views now. If I have thoughts on the costumes or something else, they’ll be heard, which is nice.

Saoirse Ronan, Zendaya and Frances McDormand©Getty Images
Saoirse Ronan, Zendaya and Frances McDormand.
Which actor would you like to work with?

There are so many people I admire and I want to work with. I‘d be terrified to work with them because they are so good. I’m a huge fan of Saoirse Ronan. She’s incredibly talented. Zendaya is another one; she’s so great and inspirational, especially since she comes from a Disney background. Also, Frances McDormand, I’m obsessed with her; she’s incredibly good. I just like all of her work. I love her; she’s such a cool person in general. She doesn’t care about what anybody thinks. It’d be insane to work with her.

We heard you just got back from camp. What did you learn that you intend to apply to your life?

I learned many things, including random hobbies that I don‘t know if I’ll use again, but it’s cool to know different things that help you be a more well-rounded person. I met cool, exciting people. Artsy people. It was a great experience.

Some Latinx and Hispanic parents are very traditional when it comes to careers. What do your parents think about your success and dreams?

My parents are super supportive of me, and they always have been. I‘ve been fortunate in that way. When I said that I wanted to act, they started taking me to auditions. My dad comes from a film background, his parents wanted him to be a doctor, and he went to med school, but then he was like, “this isn’t for me.” So he started film school, and he was a line producer on primarily independent films. I’m having the opportunity of representing Latinx people, which is something they’re very excited about —and I’m pleased about. So, I guess that’s another reason why they’re so happy and supportive of me.

Recently Olivia Rodrigo revealed that Selena Gomez advised her always to prioritize mental health. How are you taking care of your mental health and canceling the outside noise, social media hate, and other people’s negative opinions?

I probably listen to Selena too. That‘s a good idea. I try to rest a lot. Especially when I’m filming, it can get kind of hectic, so it’s good to have some downtime. Also, not getting so caught up in what people are saying online and things like that. I spend a lot of time with my friends and family and my loved ones. I’m able to let that pass. As of right now, I’m focusing on the people in my real life who loved me and supported me.

Tess Romero in Times Square©Tess Romero
What do your friends at school think about your acting career? Do they treat you differently?

My friends, my close friends. They don‘t care. They’re super loving and supportive and happy for me. They’ll forget sometimes. My close friends don’t treat me any differently, which is really nice and special.

Please send a message to all the kids that want to become actors and invite them to watch the second season of “Diary of A Future President.”

If you are like me and you have a big dream, go for it! Do whatever your heart is telling you to do, and it‘ll be great. Also, don’t forget to watch “Diary of A Future President” coming to Disney+ on August 18. You can binge it, and it’s going to be so much fun.

Catch all seasons of Diary of A Future President now on Disney+