You might recognize her as the occasionally naïve yet sweet Ana Forres on Freeform’s hit series Grown-Ish. But, there’s more to this 29-year-old actress than what meets the eye. For one, she donated her kidney to best friend, Selena Gomez.
In actuality, the magnitude of what Francia Raísa did a few months ago hit her whilst she was appearing on MTV show, TRL. Explaining the appearance on the show as “a dream come true”, Francia recalled a time in her life when she was frustrated with work and had no clue what her next step would be.
“I had a moment on TRL where the world stopped, and [my friend] was sitting there, and was speeding around us, and I looked at her and gave her a look that said, 'It’s all happening. It’s insane,'” she tells W Magazine.
Born and bred in Los Angeles, Francia’s career in acting began in high school after scoring her first major role in Bring It On: All or Nothing, in which she played a cheerleader. Thereafter, she landed a series-regular role on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show turned out to be a hit and propelled her career. It was during this time that she met then teenage Selena Gomez.
“Disney and ABC Family had the stars of their shows go to the children’s hospital, and we were in the same group,” she said. She recalled how they connected on a number of experiences that they shared, and became inseparable.
The friends decided to cohabit, and it was during this time that Selena’s lupus took a turn for the worse. Whilst asking me how my day was, Selena grabbed a water bottle out of the fridge, and tried to open it but couldn’t. She threw it on the floor and started crying, Francia said. Asking her friend what the problem was, Selena replied, “I need a kidney. I don’t know what I’m going to do, the waitlist is seven to 10 years.”
Francia said that her reply to Selena just came out of her. “I’ll get tested!”
Francia got tested and turned out to be a match. And as they say, the rest is history!
During her recovery process, Francia auditioned for her role on Grown-ish. “It was my very first audition after surgery. I didn’t tell them. I walked in and was in so much pain. This is two weeks after surgery,” she said.
Regardless to say, Francia scored the role, and although she’s the only cast member of the group of friends who is older in age than the college freshmen they are portraying, she said that they learn from each other.
Don't miss Francia Raisa on Grown-ish as Ana Torres every Thursday at 19:30.