For Lidya Jewett, falling in love with acting was something that sort of just happened. The young performer got her start initially in print modeling where people on set suggested she’d consider on-camera work. Since then, Lidya has built up an incredible resume including a role on the show WITS Academy, playing young Katherine Coleman in the movie Hidden Figures, young Nakia in Black Panther, and young Ruby in The Darkest Minds.
Currently, she stars as Sara Hill in the NBC fan favorite Good Girls. Starring Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman as the lead characters, Good Girls follows these suburban mothers as they struggle to financially make ends meet to provide for their families. At the start of season one, Beth (Hendricks) is a housewife dealing with her husband’s infidelity and the fact that he’s driven them towards debt. Ruby (Retta) is a waitress whose daughter (played by Lidya) is in need of a kidney transplant that the family can’t afford. And Annie (Whitman) is fighting for custody of her child, Sadie, but can’t afford to pay for all the expenses that come with custody battles.
In order to come up with the money they all need, the three women come up with a plan to rob a grocery store once. This, however, spirals into them getting involved with and working for money launderer Rio (Manny Montana) while trying not to get caught in their actions.
“Good Girls seemed like a great project the first time I learned about it. I remember wearing a ‘The Future is Female’ shirt to my audition,” Lidya muses. The shirt is fitting considering our first introduction to the character of Sara is her standing proud in the front of her classroom, a cannula in her nose (something Lidya shares she did research on to better understand its importance), as she gives a feminist presentation about women who were ignored in her history book. Sara then ends it by attempting to set fire to the patriarchy by trying to set her history book on fire.
“I could tell Sara had a strong personality similar to mine and that as her character developed, I would add a lot to it,” Lidya shares about why she was interested in the role.
Throughout season one, Ruby and her husband Stan (Reno Wilson) spend so much time worrying about money and how they’re going to save their daughter. And through it all, Sara remains spirited. “Even when Sara was sick, she still had a strong personality. I think you will continue to see Sara’s personality as she navigates into her teen years,” Lidya teases about season two.
“I hope to see Sara continue to navigate her teen years with all that comes with it,” she speaks on the future of the show. “But, it would be fun as an actress to have her push the limits a bit more than is probably allowed or welcomed in the Hill household.”
While she doesn’t give away anything specific about what she already knows is going to happen on the show, Sara does share that viewers will love the character development in the new season. Which is very exciting especially since, the last we see of Sara in season one comes from her trying to fit in at school (by stealing) after being seen as an outsider for so long because of her kidney disease. Something that proves eye-opening to Ruby.
[With Good Girls] I also think many families can relate to the healthcare crisis and how real it would be to not be able to afford care for their kids. No one wants to break the law but no one wants their families to suffer either.
“When you have a mother that cares that much about her family and is willing to break the law, you can be sure her focus remains on her family even after Sara receives her new kidney,” Lidya delves further on how the Hill family is managing with this shift in their lives. The other shift comes in the form of Ruby and Stan’s relationship now that Stan knows about how Ruby got the money and the two struggle with figuring out what the right thing to do is.
Their family chemistry shows very much on screen and Lidya confirms that it’s off-screen as well. “Sara definitely gets her personality from her mom and Retta is a great example of being strong,” she compliments. “Reno is a total Dad,” Lidya capitalizes the word. “The playfulness and caring nature he brings is something Sara looks to as well.”
Outside of her own storyline and scenes, Lidya shares she’s a big Rio and Beth (also known as Brio) shipper and hopes that her character has a scene with Rio eventually.
And while I imagine Ruby wouldn’t put her daughter in that kind of situation (at least intentionally), Lidya does make a good case for how Sara could benefit being a part of the team. “Sara would totally be a distraction for the group. She would help them achieve their crimes by drawing their attention away.”
Lidya quips, “No one would think she was part of the group…she looks too innocent.”
I have been inspired by so many women who also have a platform and have shown me how to be an encouragement to other girls.
The theme of women/girls being underestimated and doubted is very much woven within the show itself and the characters prove time and time again how capable and clever they are–often using other folks underestimating them to their advantage. “I think [Good Girls] came at a time in our society when the message of female empowerment was needed and had been lacking,” Lidya says. “I also think many families can relate to the healthcare crisis and how real it would be to not be able to afford care for their kids. No one wants to break the law but no one wants their families to suffer either.”
Lidya notes that this is also why young folks would be really interested in this show. “Female empowerment is important for teens to embrace their self-confidence and to know that it is here and welcomed by others,” she explains. “I also think many teens will identify with the bullying Sadie receives,” she gives a shoutout to her co-star Isaiah Stannard’s character Sadie whose storyline revolves around their gender expression and identity and the bullying they receive from their unaccepting classmates, whom Annie describes as, “dickhead kids that need therapy,” when she finds out.
Gender equality proves to be an important thing for Lidya to spread awareness about; from working on so multiple projects giving space for women (and in Good Girls case, trans/gender non-conforming people) to be dynamic and exist as main characters to using her own social media and uplifting some of the women who have inspired her in history. (She has yet to start a fire to burn down the patriarchy Sara-style, but I’d trust her with the match, just saying.)
We all need inspiring role models to help us move and make changes. I am happy to be part of that message.
“I have been inspired by so many women who also have a platform and have shown me how to be an encouragement to other girls,” she says about being a young girl in the acting world and getting to witness so many people/be around so many people that are willing to uplift her. “We all need inspiring role models to help us move and make changes. I am happy to be part of that message.”
Aside from outside forces, Lidya also gives credit to her family. “My family has been supportive from day one,” she shares about how her family in real life have helped her and been there for her similar to how the families on the show are. “Each family member has had to make a sacrifice to some degree but we are there for each other and I enjoy supporting them in their activities as well.”
Since Lidya had such a big year, we close out our interview with Lidya getting to reflect on what she’s learned in the past year and what she’s hoping 2019 brings. “Last year, I learned how fortunate I am to be on this journey. I have to know that even though I am young and my peers are young, we can be part of changes that are coming to our society,” she shares about the power of her generation. “For the new year, I plan to continue to work hard in this industry because I love it, educate myself more and more so I can play an important part in the changes that are coming, and always be an encouragement to others.”
Season one of Good Girls is available on Netflix and the NBC app. You can watch new episodes of Good Girls, Sundays 10p/9p central time on NBC.
Photographer: Benny Haddad
Stylist: Jessie Minor
H&MU: Emily Zempel)