With Little hitting theatres April 12, this teen is proving her time in front of—and behind—the camera is far from over. Here’s why Marsai Martin is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more often.
Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Regina Hall
Tina Gordon Chism
April 12, 2019
Marsai Martin may only be 14, but she’s already making major waves in Hollywood. While the world might know her as Diane, the bookish older twin in the ABC sitcom "Black-ish", this teen tycoon has established a serious reputation as the youngest person ever to executive-produce a major film. And she’s not just producing — she’s starring in it too, alongside comedy queens Regina Hall and Issa Rae.
Directed and co-written by Tina Gordon Chism (Drumline), Little follows Jordan Sanders (played by Hall), a short-tempered tech mogul who, after a young girl curses her, transforms back into her 13-year-old self. Young Jordan (Martin) must then lean on her under appreciated assistant, April (Rae), to continue running her company while she navigates preteenhood in a hot pink pantsuit and heels.
Marin may not share all the same characteristics as Little's Jordan, but there is an undeniable overlap: She’s smart, confident and a force to be reckoned with.
Girl on film
Born just outside Dallas, TX, Martin started working at age five, landing notable commercial gigs before scoring her part in "Black-ish". In 2016, she earned her debut movie role in An American Girl Story — Melody 1963: Love Has to Win, where she played Melody, a young girl living in Detroit during the civil rights movement. Since then, she’s made appearances in films like Nina, Lemonade Mafia and Fun Mom Dinner.
Making big-money moves
Martin’s idea for Little came from her desire to see a body-swap movie from a modern black female perspective. And, oh yeah, she was only 10 when she pitched it! She was heavily involved in the film throughout production too. Martin helped develop the scripts in their early stages and had a heavy hand in casting. To bring more of her ideas to life, this girlboss also launched her own company, Genius Productions, along with her parents, Joshua and Carol Martin.
On to the next one
Genius Productions recently signed a deal with Universal Pictures, meaning we’re going to be seeing a lot more from Martin on the big screen, starting with the upcoming StepMonster, in which she’ll play a teen learning how to navigate life with a new stepmom.
The definition of #blackgirlmagic, Martin is just at the start of her truly impressive career, and she already has a better grip on adulting than most of us. So the next time you’re at an impasse with your job, just ask yourself: What would Marsai do?
See Little on the big screen with your favourite girlbosses
Little is all about girl power, making this a film to see with the amazing women in your life. The film will inspire you to do big things, and remind you of your potential.