Fact: Erica Sinclair is one of the best parts of Stranger Things. The evidence is limitless: her cool comebacks, her savvy investigating skills, and she’s even inspired some amazing memes. It’s no wonder that Erica, played by Priah Ferguson, was officially promoted to a regular for the Netflix series’ fourth season.
And it’s not just fans who are in love with Erica; Priah adores the fictional character just as much, and is proud to portray her on screen.
In a post shared on Netflix’s Instagram account, Priah explained that stepping into Erica’s shoes has been an “unbelievable” experience, noting that she hasn’t always seen a lot of young Black girls on sci-fi TV shows—and her character’s experience might reflect that as well.
“Erica was raised in an era where it wasn’t common for Black girls to use their voice,” she explained this weekend as part of a featured takeover on Netflix’s account. “Especially in a fictional American town like Hawkins. Girls who looked like her were probably ignored and dismissed.” Priah went on to say that she thinks Erica’s family encouraged her to find her purpose, which allowed her to blossom into the vivid personality we’ve grown to love on the Netflix series.
“I’m proud to play a Black girl who is amazing in STEM, a sarcastic history buff, boss negotiator, and athletic,” Priah explained, adding: “Not to mention, her nails stay on point.” She continued, “Erica proves there’s no one way to be Black, or even smart. Smart doesn’t equate to subservient or shy. Erica gives it to you straight, delivered in a pretty relatable way — that makes her hilarious. Everyone knows an Erica. Now, you may not like her…but she’s ok with that too. I have fun playing such a rich character because she’s gonna be herself. Unapologetic, evolving, and full of surprises.”
The post ended with a message to young Black girls who are watching the series, with Priah writing, “I hope that Erica inspires young Black girls to stand up for what they believe in, to embrace their nerdy side and discover the beauty of their magic within!”
Joining the Stranger Things cast has undoubtedly been a journey for Priah, who talked to Teen Vogue back in 2017 about the overwhelming fan reception to her character. “I know the Duffer brothers [the show’s creators] and the whole crew does amazing on their writing, so I was expecting that a little bit,” she said of viewers’ reaction when Erica made her debut in Season 2, while adding she didn’t quite expect the level of love and excitement she experienced. “‘Oh, she’s an icon. She’s one of the best characters.’ I was not expecting all of that, but it’s amazing.”
We have to agree that Erica is an icon—and Priah absolutely is too.
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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Stranger Things Just Added a Bunch of New Characters for Season 4