Leslie Grace and Corey Hawkins as Nina and Benny gazing at the sunset in In the Heights

As the musical event of the summer, In the Heights is set to be a watershed moment for everyone involved, especially the film’s lead, Anthony Ramos. But singer Leslie Grace is set to have a breakout moment as well. She was handpicked by In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, so the musical film is a huge moment for the singer’s career. The Latin superstar revealed the sweet moment Miranda asked her to join the cast.

Don’t be mistaken if you think this is Leslie Grace’s first time at the rodeo, as the singer-actress is a superstar in Latin America and Spanish-speaking countries. So Grace’s appearance in the musical film has been beneficial to its impending success. Grace talked to Kelly Clarkson on the latter’s talk show about the life-changing moment. Check out the In the Heights star’s heartwarming moment with Lin-Manuel Miranda below:

After watching the clip, Leslie Grace’s full-circle moment with her friends and family spoke to the singer’s gratefulness for the opportunity. As Kelly Clarkson pointed out, the moment between Grace, Lin-Manuel Miranda and her loved ones was supposed to happen that way. The Latin superstar seems poised for her breakout moment, as In the Heights will arrive in time for summer.

As previously mentioned, Leslie Grace’s full-circle moment was very relatable to everyone going after their dreams. Grace getting her hair to straighten by her mother while friends and family were in the room is similar to the stories of so many creatives. The fact that it was the singer’s birthday made Lin-Manuel Miranda’s call even more of a beautiful moment. Everything made her addition to the In the Heights cast even more special.

But being one of In the Heights' leading ladies meant more to Leslie Grace than just scoring a role, as she was able to tap into her Afro-Latino identity. Having grown up in New York, the singer was used to seeing people who looked like her before moving to Florida. Grace’s story isn’t unusual as many Afro-Latinos have spoken on the colorism and “otherness” they have experienced within the Latino community. The same can be said about the Black American experience. So for her, participating in the musical film was the perfect opportunity to embrace being different while surrounded by love and acceptance.

Leslie Grace’s story about her casting was a true “star is born” moment. Maybe this role will bring her closer to international superstardom outside of Spanish-speaking countries. Despite her story, Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed the film's castings were met with some pushback. Thankfully, Miranda stuck to his guns, and Grace got the opportunity to star in her first movie. You can catch In the Heights when it arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on June 11.

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