As the first LatinX woman to co-direct a Disney animated feature, Charise Castro Smith–who also wrote the Academy Award-winning Encanto–faced a lot of self-imposed pressure (not unlike Louisa, one of the memorable characters she brought to life in the film).

In this conversation, she talks to Liz about the imposter syndrome she overcame when working on Encanto, how her priorities radically shifted after she became a mother, and what it was like to bring to life her memorable film during COVID, from her home. She also talks about the similarities between main character Mirabel and herself – and how the animators even modeled Mirabel’s hair after her own.