Welcome to Byrdie's new series, Next Gen, where we profile Gen Z celebrities, influencers, and entrepreneurs. As a collective, members of Gen Z are dynamic trendsetters and culture shifters. And when it comes to beauty and wellness, they have ushered more creativity, inclusivity, and transparency into the industry. In this column, we're stepping into the minds of some of the most notable Gen Z'ers to learn more about how they are redefining beauty, the products they swear by, and their plans for the future.
Just a few years ago, Sierra Capri was attending biology classes at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia. Now, she's the star of a highly successful Netflix show. For four seasons, Capri has played the headstrong, outspoken Monse Finnie on the teen comedy-drama series On My Block. On the show, viewers follow along as Monse and her friends journey through their tumultuous high school years in a rough Los Angeles neighborhood. In real life, Capri has been on a coming-of-age journey of her own. At 23, Capri is learning to navigate young adulthood in the limelight and stepping into her star power as one of Young Hollywood's newest names.
With On My Block coming to an end, the rising actress is now focused on her next move. While more leading roles are sure to be in the cards, Capri is also eager to immerse herself in other industries like beauty. She recently partnered with St. Ives to celebrate the newly-launched Solutions collection and its "Free Your Stress for Free Tuition Contest", which will provide one student with up to $50,000 for school fees. As a former college student familiar with the woes of trying to fund her education, Capri says the partnership was a no-brainer. Ahead, Capri chats about being cast in On My Block, her skincare routine, and the limitless possibilities for the future.
When did your passion for acting begin?
When I was young, I would always watch old movies with my grandmother. That's one way we bonded. She was obsessed with Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, and Harry Belafonte. At a young age, I watched many films a lot of my peers would probably be like, Yeah, no, I'm not watching that. But I'm glad I did because it inspired me. My mother was also into the arts. She wanted to be an actress herself, and she was a fantastic performer. So, I think I've got a little bit of it from her.
How did your role in On My Block come about?
I was going into my last year of college, and I was convinced I would be a pathologist until that point. I was studying biology and thought I would end up at the GBI or something. But it didn't pan out that way. I saw the audition listing for On My Block online, and I remembered I'd met a woman who helped do self-tapes on the set of Hidden Figures, which is a movie I was an extra in.
When I got the audition, I went to her to film it, and two weeks later, one of the show's producers, Ron Kenny, emailed me saying they wanted to FaceTime with me. After the FaceTime, they wanted to fly me out. It was a great experience. I did the chemistry read where I got to meet everyone. I was so nervous about that, and I honestly didn't think I would book it. But they called me and told me I got the part.
What have you enjoyed most about being a part of On My Block and playing Monse?
I definitely [appreciate] the impact we've had. I feel like our show has been very inspiring, and we've helped a lot of people who might be in the same circumstances or environment we were in on the show. It was an outlet for people, and they got to see themselves represented on screen in a way that they haven't in the past.
Do you have a favorite memory from shooting the final season of On My Block?
Any scene that I get to work with Brett Gray is amazing because we rarely got to play together throughout the past seasons. But, we have such great chemistry because we used to live together, so it was so much fun being able to do scenes with him.
Let's talk about beauty. Have you always been interested in it?
Yes, I always wanted to try different things on my face. I was always getting into my mother's lotions, perfumes, and makeup. I think she knew early on it was something I was passionate about. Luckily, I learned a lot about my skin and how sensitive it is at a young age.
When it comes to working with brands, what is important to you? What made you want to work with St. Ives?
I like brands that feel authentic and are honest about what their products can do. I've tried so many super high-end products, but the results weren't matching the item's price. What I love about St. Ives is that all of their products are dermatologist tested. They offer a low-key approach to caring for the skin, and it's not expensive.
Their products are also literally built for stress. I don't know one person that doesn't have stress, especially in college. I was a college student once, and I know that stress from school can trigger acne breakouts and reduce your confidence. I was just so impressed by St. Ive's approach to this with the Solutions collection. I was also very excited because they've created a contest where one lucky student can win funds for free tuition and books up to $50,000. I think that's amazing because that's one less thing that kids have to worry about.
What are some of your favorite skincare products?
I love St. Ive's Solutions line. I tried it for a month before [agreeing to become an ambassador] because I wanted to make sure my skin liked it. I start with the Acne Control Daily Cleanser ($6), refresh my skin with the Clear Skin 3-in-1 Daily Toner ($6), and finish with the Clear Skin 3-in-1 SPF Moisturizer ($7). I've never had acne, but I get breakouts, so I love using the collection to help keep my skin clear.
Over the last few years, you've experienced massive success, and your fanbase has grown to over 2 million followers on Instagram. What has it been like dealing with this at 23-years-old?
Oh my gosh, it's been a process. I feel like you don't know who you are in your 20s. You're still trying to find yourself, so I try not to be too hard on myself. I try to remember that growth is important. There are always blessings in the lessons. That's what I like to call my experience on the show because it shaped me into who I am today. I got to work with a great cast who's now my family. I would not have traded this experience for anything.
What do you appreciate most about being a part of Generation Z?
This generation is so free, bold, and brave. We don't care about getting permission from someone else about what to do if we stand behind something. I just think that it's a step in the right direction for our country. We're starting to see so many longtime issues being addressed, and I like to think that is because of Gen Z's resilience and determination.
Which of your Gen-Z peers inspire you and why?
I love Marsai Martin. She's doing her thing in Hollywood, and I appreciate her authenticity. I also love Billie Eilish. She always takes risks; she's so sweet and such a great artist.
After having a leading role in one of the most popular Netflix shows, what are you excited to do next?
I am excited to do more projects and explore different genres of film and TV like sci-fi and action. I also love skincare and beauty, so I would love to land a beauty brand deal and eventually come out with my own beauty brand. I also love fashion and music, so I would love to get into that more as well. I could go on and on about what I want to do, but I'm excited for the future and the projects I have coming up.