Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tika Sumpter, Arica Himmel star in ABC's 'Mixed-ish'

Sandy Kenyon Image
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tika Sumpter, Arica Himmel star in ABC's 'Mixed-ish'
Sandy Kenyon speaks with the stars of ABC's new sitcom, 'Mixed-ish.'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- First came "Black-ish," then "Grown-ish," and now, ABC is hoping to score another hit with "Mixed-ish."

The new sitcom airs just before "Black-ish" on Tuesday nights, and two of the stars grew up in our area and draw on their own experiences to make this series more believable.

"Mixed-ish" tells the backstory Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, the "Black-ish" mom played Tracee Ellis Ross who narrates the comedy set in 1985.

Her younger self is played by 14-year-old Arica Himmel, from Manhattan.

"Growing up in New York City, I didn't really experience a lot of what Rainbow experiences because everybody is so welcoming and it's so diverse," she said. "But I definitely do have that feeling of being the new kid in some scenarios."

Meet the rising young star at the center of ABC's new sitcom 'Mixed-ish':

Sandy Kenyon interviews young actress Arica Himmel.

Tika Sumpter and Mark-Paul Gosselaar play her parents in the spinoff, another show that fits squarely in the tradition established by the first.

"They're funny, and they have a message without beating you over the head with it," Gosselaar said.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tika Sumpter talk about playing parents on 'Mixed-ish':

Jennifer Matarese interviews Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tika Sumpter about "Mixed-ish."

The new comedy imagines what life would be like in a high school where nobody looks like you.

"It's about finding out who you are and where you fit in, and being OK with that," Gosselaar said.

Sumpter learned how to do that firsthand when she moved from Queens to Long Island at the age of 11.

"I was never really around a lot of white people in Queens," she said. "That's when I just realized."

In high school, she wanted to become a cheerleader.

"I became the first black cheerleader, which helped other girls of color want to do it, because it was like, 'Only this type of person can do it. Tika's doing it,'" she said. "I dunno, that's something I'm kind of proud of. That's my legacy at Longwood High School."

Even if you haven't watched the other two shows, viewers can dive right into the '-ish" world via "Mixed-ish" and not miss a beat.


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