born 1950

Growing up in the Bronx, Sonia Manzano loved watching television as an escape from the chaos around her. But, she never saw anyone that looked like her on the small screen. At 21, the arts student seized a historic opportunity ~ to change the face of mainstream media + transform children's educational programming. 

When Sonia joined the cast of Sesame Street as Maria, she finally saw the street she grew up on reflected in society. She went on to act + write for the world's best loved children's program for 44 years. Along the way, Sonia earned 15 Emmys and scripted her real-life marriage + pregnancy into the show. Today, the diversity advocate shares her story on stages + pages with talks and books.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Sonia Manzano (11)

"I grew up to be what I needed to see on television as a kid."

Sonia Manzano Interview | july 2004

"I hope I can be remembered as a person who created a moment of safety for a child watching."

Sonia Manzano Interview | july 2004

"Kids are people, too. They understand more than you think. They shouldn't be talked down to. They're not second-class citizens."

Sonia Manzano Interview | july 2004

"When we started in '69, we presented this idealistic world. Now, we are helping kids live in the world that exists."

"Sesame Street" celebrates its 45th anniversary | november 2014

"I have spent most of my life cavorting with Muppets!"

personal statement | 2015

"I grew up wondering how I was going to contribute to a society that didn't see me because I felt invisible."

Sonia Manzano on 'Becoming Maria' | june 2015

"Art is taking something that is banal and making it glorious."

Sonia Manzano on 'Becoming Maria' | june 2015

"It was a tumultuous childhood . . . It was a topsy-turvy world of hope and despair, hope and despair."

Sonia Manzano on 'Becoming Maria' | june 2015

"You can make something out of any life."

Sonia Manzano on 'Becoming Maria' | june 2015

"Here was a moment, an hour, where there's order, where there's humor, where there's love in a place that looks like your home."

NPR Morning Edition | august 2015

"Why can't people of color just be as mediocre as everybody else and make a lot of money?"

HuffPost Live | august 2015
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Sonia Manzano

curated with care by Alicia Williamson {august 2015}