Hope for the future: Meet the “heroes” of new Disney+ doc 'Growing Up'

Courtesy Disney+

Growing up isn’t easy these days, given the state of the world and the pressures of social media. But there’s still hope: just watch Disney+’s new docuseries Growing Up.

It follows the stories of 11 “heroes,” aged 18 to 22, focusing on how they’ve been able to thrive despite obstacles like disability, struggles with sexual and gender identity, racism, homelessness and body-shaming. Executive producer and Captain Marvel star Brie Larson tells ABC Audio about the challenges of making Growing Up.

“It was a pretty long process in terms of narrowing it down to these 10 stories and 11 heroes, and part of that was because these are young people and we need to protect them at all costs,” Larson explains.

The Oscar winner notes, “You’re going through and making sure that they were ready to do this, ready to tell their story, ready to be on the public stage. And so that was a really important process, so that everybody felt safe and ready all the way through.”

Larson directed the only episode to feature two “heroes”: Clare and Isabel, best friends who successfully lobbied the Pennsylvania state government to provide free menstrual products to schools statewide. Larson was drawn to that episode because, she reveals, “The inception of the series began with my own shames. One of them was around menstruation and my fears around menstruation.”

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Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi directs the episode about Sofia, a young Black woman who struggles with imposter syndrome as a self-proclaimed “math and science nerd.”

Shahidi tells ABC Audio that she identified with Sofia’s story, so the topic “came out of that so naturally — imposter syndrome and discussing the importance of underrepresented voices in these spaces that are led by dominant culture and how much we have to offer the world.” 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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