Marsai Martin says being “unapologetically” herself has led to her success

Marsai Martin is fearless on the cover of Essence magazine’s Girls United digital cover.

In the new feature for the inaugural issue, Martin opens up about the fearless attitude she had when she presented executives with her idea for Little, the 2019 comedy that she executive produced and starred in.

“Honestly, when I pitched the film, I thought about it as a whole bunch of dudes sitting around a table talking about our projects and what we have in our heads,” she quips.

“I really didn’t think of it as a nerve-wracking thing,” Martin continues. “Math equations scare me a lot more than public speaking.”

The movie, which also featured Regina Hall and Issa Rae, made history when Marsai, now 16, became the youngest person to executive produce a Hollywood film.

Martim says it’s surprising to see that Hollywood hasn’t tapped more people of color for original narratives.

“It really sucks to say, but people are just now starting to understand that we as Black people have very creative minds and we won’t stop until we get there,” Martin says.

With multiple projects lined up, including a new season of black-ish, her Quibi talk show, Tiny Talk Show, and her second Universal film project, StepMonster, Martin says it’s important for her to stay grounded and be authentic in what she does.

“I never want to pretend to be someone that I’m not. Every step that I take is true to me,” she says. “I’m in the space I’m in right now because I was just always unapologetically myself.”

By Candice Williams
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