Known for her role as “Diane” on the hit ABC television series, Black-ish, Marsai Martin is one of the funniest young people on television today. Born in Plano, TX, Martin’s parents noticed that she was a natural in the spotlight. Proving that her talent was gold, she was immediately signed at five-years-old with the Kim Dawson Agency, going on to star in commercials and soon there after was snagged by Melissa Berger at CESD in Los Angeles.
Fast-forward to present-day, the 12-year-old comedian unquestionably holds her own along-side comedic heavyweights such as Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross, Lawrence Fishburne, and more.
So, what is it that this rising starlet wants to be when she grows up? Simply put, “to be a legend.”
Check out excerpts from a recent interview that the rising star had with the LA Times where she talks about acting, her audition for Black-ish and more. To read the interview in its entirety, click here.
How did you get into acting?
At a very young age, when I was a baby, I used to mimic all of these movies, like “Dreamgirls” and “Ray,” the type of movies you wouldn’t think a little kid would know. But my parents thought I was great. Then, one day, we went to get holiday photos done, nothing big, but the photographer was like, “This girl is spectacular and really great. She knows her left and her right and it’s amazing.” The photographer gave us a business card to an acting class with Kathy Sullivan. We went there a few times and then the rest is history. We moved to California because of my dad’s job, and it wasn’t even a year yet when I got 15 national commercials and “black-ish.”
Describe the audition process for Black-ish
There were more than 100 people auditioning for Diane, and it ended up at five people. I was one of them, and I was super nervous. We lived in Huntington Beach at the time and we had to drive to Burbank for every stage in the process. Two hours… that’s a nightmare. On our way to the final callback, I was hungry and tired. Of course, I spilled syrup on my pants on the way there. I was so sad and overwhelmed. It was a screen test and everyone was gonna be there and they’d see syrupy pants. It was insane.
But at the screen test, Miles was there, because he already had the twin part and they wanted to test our chemistry. We had the same colored Chucks on, same colored shirt on and, guess what, he had spilled syrup on his pants too. It was crazy. The only difference was his was from McDonald’s and mine was from Jack In The Box.
After the screen test, we were on our way back to Huntington Beach on the 405 freeway. It was dark and I was half asleep. Then the agency called and said I got the job. I was super excited and pumped, but I was super tired. When I woke up the next morning, that’s when I [celebrated].
What do you like most about your character Diane?
She’s very smart. On the inside, she’s very humble and sweet and kind, but on the outside, people think she’s possessed. She’s not sassy or any of that. She’s just different. That’s what I like about her.
Do you have any comedic inspirations?
Probably my mom, because she’s very sweet and humble, but super hard to impress. If I tell her a joke or say what’s on my mind that’s funny and she laughs, I know I can make anybody else laugh. And she takes care of me and gets me food. [laughs]