Netflix star Madison Reyes stole fans’ hearts as the title role in Kenny Ortega‘s brand-new series Julie and the Phantoms. Now, the actress has opened up about her journey to booking the role and why she’s “grateful” to represent the Latinx community as a lead actress.

“I just remember these overwhelming thoughts that I got when I first read about her character, who she was and reading that she was a Latinx girl really sparked my interest a lot because growing up, that’s something that I always looked for. And I had very few people that I can really look up to and be like, ‘That’s me. I see myself in that person.’ So knowing that I could possibly be that role model for somebody and be the person that someone may look up to really motivated me to want to go and take that leap,” Madison, 16, told Entertainment Tonight during an interview published on September 21. “You shouldn’t let people drag you down just because of what your background is or where you come from or where you started. As long as you work hard for it, you’ll eventually get there.”

She continued, “It’s great to see a female protagonist at such a young age and her doing these incredible things, I feel like having that representation is just as important.”

The series — which hit the streaming service on September 10 — is about Madison’s character, Julie, and how her life completely changes after a ghostly boyband from the ’90s comes back to life.

“Julie is raw,” she explained to ET. “She’s your everyday teenager going through everyday problems, and I liked the fact that even though she can see ghosts — there’s this magical fantasy sense of this ghostly world that no one ever can actually see besides her — she’s still going through normal problems. It’s not like she’s this incredible being now who doesn’t feel sad sometimes. In the sense of her uniqueness and how she approaches situations, I definitely see myself in her a lot.”

As for where she sees the show and character going for a possible second season, Madison dished on Julie’s relationship with actor Charles Gillespie‘s Luke.

“Whatever happens, I’m team Juke,” she said. “No matter what, I’m Team Juke. That’s it.”

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