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CULTURE
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27 Movie And TV Characters That Really Made Us Feel Good About Ourselves

Hopefully these diverse characters challenge media to continue expanding what representation looks and feels like.

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what characters have made them feel seen and represented. Here are some of our favorite answers.

1. "I was chunky as a kid and weight has always been an issue for me."

"Seeing Chrissy Metz's character story on This is Us really hit home for me. I was chunky as a kid and weight has always been an issue for me. Seeing someone big and beautiful play that character really made me feel more seen. The struggle is real, but Chrissy does a great job at conveying the daily struggles that come with being overweight and trying to be happy through her character."—mads51
NBC

"Seeing Chrissy Metz's character story on This is Us really hit home for me. I was chunky as a kid and weight has always been an issue for me. Seeing someone big and beautiful play that character really made me feel more seen. The struggle is real, but Chrissy does a great job at conveying the daily struggles that come with being overweight and trying to be happy through her character."

mads51

2. "Rosa coming out as bi on Brooklyn Nine Nine was the push I needed to accept myself for who I am."

FOX

3. "She’s this quirky black girl with natural, short hair and no big boobs or big butt. Issa is so me!"

HBO

"She’s this quirky black girl with natural, short hair and no big boobs or big butt. Issa is so me! She is cool and likable, yet marches to the beat of her own drum and she just can’t ever seem to get life right. In Issa (Insecure), I see my skin, my hair, my youth, my innocence, and my life."

diamondl41c6c234e

4. "She was one of the first positive representations of fat people I'd seen."

"In Switched At Birth, there was a plus-sized character named Mary Beth. She was one of the first positive representations of fat people I'd seen. She was in a relationship with someone who was not plus-sized, and it didn't show her as being any less than him."—tdray0125
ABC

"In Switched At Birth, there was a plus-sized character named Mary Beth. She was one of the first positive representations of fat people I'd seen. She was in a relationship with someone who was not plus-sized, and it didn't show her as being any less than him."

tdray0125

5. "...his accent and southern turns of phrase were part of what made him cool."

"Doc Holliday (Tombstone) was the first time I saw a modern movie character with a noticeable southern accent who wasn't either a bad guy or some kind of goofy comic relief. On the contrary, his accent and southern turns of phrase were part of what made him cool. That made me feel a lot less embarrassed about where I was from."—axj66
Buena Vista Pictures

"Doc Holliday (Tombstone) was the first time I saw a modern movie character with a noticeable southern accent who wasn't either a bad guy or some kind of goofy comic relief. On the contrary, his accent and southern turns of phrase were part of what made him cool. That made me feel a lot less embarrassed about where I was from."

axj66

6. "Patricia 'Kitten' Braden from Breakfast on Pluto was the first time I ever saw a trans woman as a main character in a movie."

"Patricia 'Kitten' Braden from Breakfast on Pluto was the first time I ever saw a trans woman as a main character in a movie. I'd never before seen someone on screen growing up and expressing her femininity while becoming more comfortable in herself. She uses her imagination and escapism to find hope and joy in the face of adversity, and I always identified with that." —byndilaupsteen
Sony Pictures Classics Pathé

"Patricia 'Kitten' Braden from Breakfast on Pluto was the first time I ever saw a trans woman as a main character in a movie. I'd never before seen someone on screen growing up and expressing her femininity while becoming more comfortable in herself. She uses her imagination and escapism to find hope and joy in the face of adversity, and I always identified with that." —byndilaupsteen

7. "Yes, there were Samoan men on 'regular' wrestling, but Mt. Fiji on GLOW was the only woman that I knew of."

"I was trans-racially adopted and I am of Samoan descent, so seeing someone who looked like me meant the world. Yes, there were Samoan men on 'regular' wrestling, but Mt. Fiji on GLOW was the only woman that I knew of."—noodle192000
Independent Network Incorporated

"I was trans-racially adopted and I am of Samoan descent, so seeing someone who looked like me meant the world. Yes, there were Samoan men on 'regular' wrestling, but Mt. Fiji on GLOW was the only woman that I knew of."

noodle192000

8. "I've never seen a Muslim teenage girl that I could look up to, and with Sana (Skam), I saw a character having the same questions, problems, and way of living her life as me."

—lolaferar
NRK

9. "During the 'Diagnosis' song by Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I cried my eyes out... the intense catharsis of going to get a diagnosis after years of wondering if anyone can validate you..."

"During the 'Diagnosis' song by Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I cried my eyes out. I’ve never felt so seen by a show or by a character — the intense catharsis of going to get a diagnosis after years of wondering if anyone can validate you, and feeling like you don’t have a tribe or community of other people going through the same things as you."—abbyj6
The CW

"During the 'Diagnosis' song by Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I cried my eyes out. I’ve never felt so seen by a show or by a character — the intense catharsis of going to get a diagnosis after years of wondering if anyone can validate you, and feeling like you don’t have a tribe or community of other people going through the same things as you."

abbyj6

10. "Not only is her character so wonderfully fleshed out, but she’s also more than just her ethnicity."

"Mulan, as in Disney princess, kickass warrior, hero of China, Mulan. Not only is her character so wonderfully fleshed out, but she’s also more than just her ethnicity. Yes, the fact that she’s the only Chinese Disney princess makes her stand out." —nikitaa4464e5815
Disney

"Mulan, as in Disney princess, kickass warrior, hero of China, Mulan. Not only is her character so wonderfully fleshed out, but she’s also more than just her ethnicity. Yes, the fact that she’s the only Chinese Disney princess makes her stand out." —nikitaa4464e5815

11. "Élio from Call Me By Your Name is a multilingual, openly bisexual Jewish teen, and I was so surprised by how much I had in common with him."

—leahp47867d3c7
Warner Brothers Pictures

12. "The first time I really felt 'seen' was when Cheerios released two commercials starring a mixed-race little girl and her interracial family."

"The first time I really felt 'seen' was when Cheerios released two commercials starring a mixed-race little girl and her interracial family. In the commercials, the little girl is seen interacting with her white mother and black father, just as any child would. The tone of the commercial seemed so 'commonplace' and 'normal.' Every time it came on, I would stop what I was doing and watch it with a feeling of pride in my heart and a smile on my face." —nml2727
Cheerios

"The first time I really felt 'seen' was when Cheerios released two commercials starring a mixed-race little girl and her interracial family. In the commercials, the little girl is seen interacting with her white mother and black father, just as any child would. The tone of the commercial seemed so 'commonplace' and 'normal.' Every time it came on, I would stop what I was doing and watch it with a feeling of pride in my heart and a smile on my face." —nml2727

13. "Richie from HBO's Looking was an impactful character in my growth as a closeted LGBT-identifying Latinx youth."

"Richie from HBO's Looking was an impactful character in my growth as a closeted LGBT-identifying Latinx youth. Prior to this, I could not name a gay Latino character I liked. Then came Richie, who I both wanted to be and be with. He broke my stereotypes of what I had typically seen for gay Latino men simply by being himself." —elisram
HBO

"Richie from HBO's Looking was an impactful character in my growth as a closeted LGBT-identifying Latinx youth. Prior to this, I could not name a gay Latino character I liked. Then came Richie, who I both wanted to be and be with. He broke my stereotypes of what I had typically seen for gay Latino men simply by being himself." —elisram

14. "Rose Quartz on Steven Universe has brought me to tears plenty of times for being a positive example of fatness... and as a bonus, she's as bisexual-coded as you can be in a children's show!"

Warner Brothers Pictures

"Rose Quartz on Steven Universe has brought me to tears plenty of times for being a positive example of fatness. Her body is never an issue, and she's defined by her idealism and role as a leader, but she's also depicted as a beautiful, ethereal being. Seeing a self-assured woman that looks like me did wonders for the way I carry myself in the real world, and as a bonus, she's as bisexual-coded as you can be in a children's show!"

sarahl4e39bbbc0

15. "As a multiracial female, I don’t strongly identify as Asian, black, or white, but just as a person of color."

"As a multiracial female, I don’t strongly identify as Asian, black, or white, but just as a person of color. Seeing Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender, a strong, responsible, and ambiguous Asian teen with darker skin really resonated with me, and is one of the many reasons I was/am still in love with the show."—jazzyfizzle23
Nickelodeon

"As a multiracial female, I don’t strongly identify as Asian, black, or white, but just as a person of color. Seeing Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender, a strong, responsible, and ambiguous Asian teen with darker skin really resonated with me, and is one of the many reasons I was/am still in love with the show."

jazzyfizzle23

16. "There really aren’t many Jewish characters in movies and TV, and seeing Miracle Max from The Princess Bride play into many Jewish stereotypes and chant in Yiddish made me feel seen as a kid."

"There really aren’t many Jewish characters in movies and TV, and seeing Miracle Max from The Princess Bride play into many Jewish stereotypes and chant in Yiddish made me feel seen as a kid. Billy Crystal, the actor who played him, is Jewish and plays many Jewish characters."—wavyavey
20th Century Fox

"There really aren’t many Jewish characters in movies and TV, and seeing Miracle Max from The Princess Bride play into many Jewish stereotypes and chant in Yiddish made me feel seen as a kid. Billy Crystal, the actor who played him, is Jewish and plays many Jewish characters."

wavyavey

17. "Kat Edison from The Bold Type gave me the confidence to come out to my family and friends."

NBCUniversal

"Kat Edison from The Bold Type gave me the confidence to come out to my family and friends. It was the first time I ever saw a black woman question her sexuality in a healthy environment. She has truly helped me navigate my sexuality and be proud to be a queer, black woman!"

naturalbelle

18. "I love Disney princesses, but having one that's dark skinned and saves herself and her Prince, that was something else."

"At the time, I was too young to understand the feeling, but now I know that seeing Princess Tiana, a princess that looked even remotely like me, was exhilarating. I love Disney princesses, but having one that's dark skinned and saves herself and her Prince, that was something else."—roryfae
Disney

"At the time, I was too young to understand the feeling, but now I know that seeing Princess Tiana, a princess that looked even remotely like me, was exhilarating. I love Disney princesses, but having one that's dark skinned and saves herself and her Prince, that was something else."

roryfae

19. "The Fosters was the first show that normalized being gay and that you could just live a normal life."

"I come from a very religious family who lived in a very religious area that demonized homosexuality. The Fosters was the first show that normalized being gay and that you could just live a normal life. It shows the real struggles that gay couples go through."—kamid491207ce0
Freeform

"I come from a very religious family who lived in a very religious area that demonized homosexuality. The Fosters was the first show that normalized being gay and that you could just live a normal life. It shows the real struggles that gay couples go through."

kamid491207ce0

20. "Elena Alvarez on One Day At A Time perfectly represented me because she’s a Cuban-American struggling with her sexuality and figuring out where she fits in."

"Elena Alvarez on One Day At A Time perfectly represented me because she’s a Cuban-American struggling with her sexuality and figuring out where she fits in. Not to mention the crazy Cuban family she has! It’s the first and only time I've ever seen a Cuban family on TV, and so well represented. It makes me feel less alone." —qbana15
Netflix

"Elena Alvarez on One Day At A Time perfectly represented me because she’s a Cuban-American struggling with her sexuality and figuring out where she fits in. Not to mention the crazy Cuban family she has! It’s the first and only time I've ever seen a Cuban family on TV, and so well represented. It makes me feel less alone." —qbana15

21. "To a survivor of an abusive relationship, Jessica Jones was such a revelation."

"To a survivor of an abusive relationship, Jessica Jones was such a revelation. And that the show is not concerned with Jessica being the 'acceptable' version of a survivor — the woman who bucks up, magically moves on, and continues to be damaged only in a 'pretty' way — THAT made me feel seen."—irishcowgirl
Netflix

"To a survivor of an abusive relationship, Jessica Jones was such a revelation. And that the show is not concerned with Jessica being the 'acceptable' version of a survivor — the woman who bucks up, magically moves on, and continues to be damaged only in a 'pretty' way — THAT made me feel seen."

irishcowgirl

22. "Not only was RJ Cyler (Blue Power Ranger) an autistic superhero, but the movie didn't just glance over the topic and label the character as socially awkward instead."

"Not only was RJ Cyler (Blue Power Ranger) an autistic superhero, but the movie didn't just glance over the topic and label the character as socially awkward instead. Seeing a character who is autistic talk about it in a big movie, and also become a superhero who kicks some ass and makes some friends, meant the world to me."—bazzles101
Lionsgate

"Not only was RJ Cyler (Blue Power Ranger) an autistic superhero, but the movie didn't just glance over the topic and label the character as socially awkward instead. Seeing a character who is autistic talk about it in a big movie, and also become a superhero who kicks some ass and makes some friends, meant the world to me."

bazzles101

23. "Tracy Turnblad was a short and stout woman who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t listen to anyone who told her otherwise."

"I’m 4’11” and was overweight in middle and high school. I never saw girls like that on TV until Hairspray. Tracy Turnblad was a short and stout woman who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t listen to anyone who told her otherwise. Tracy really impacted me and made proud to be myself and go after whatever I wanted." —sierral4
New Line Cinema

"I’m 4’11” and was overweight in middle and high school. I never saw girls like that on TV until Hairspray. Tracy Turnblad was a short and stout woman who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t listen to anyone who told her otherwise. Tracy really impacted me and made proud to be myself and go after whatever I wanted." —sierral4

24. "Seeing Wonder Woman step out onto No Man's Land made me see more clearly the true leadership capabilities I had."

"Seeing Wonder Woman step out onto No Man's Land made me see more clearly the true leadership capabilities I had. It also had a tremendous effect on my body image because Gal Gadot voiced her concerns with her body and how she wanted to portray a truly tough superhero and not a dainty damsel in distress."—songbird1129
Warner Brothers

"Seeing Wonder Woman step out onto No Man's Land made me see more clearly the true leadership capabilities I had. It also had a tremendous effect on my body image because Gal Gadot voiced her concerns with her body and how she wanted to portray a truly tough superhero and not a dainty damsel in distress."

songbird1129

25. "Penny Proud and her family reminded me of my home so much."

Disney

"Penny Proud and her family reminded me of my home so much. An overly dramatic father, calm and patient mother, a grandmother who lets you do whatever because her parenting days are over, and friends who always keep it real." —samiyahm

26. "Lilo from Lilo and Stitch has very specific rituals day-to-day, outdated hobbies, few friends, and she's so intensely sensitive."

"Lilo from Lilo and Stitch has very specific rituals day-to-day, outdated hobbies, few friends, and she's so intensely sensitive. I'm almost 30 and I still cry whenever Lilo throws her Scrump doll on the ground, only to immediately run back and give it a long, apologetic hug. I feel seen when I look at her."—marielevator
Buena Vista Pictures

"Lilo from Lilo and Stitch has very specific rituals day-to-day, outdated hobbies, few friends, and she's so intensely sensitive. I'm almost 30 and I still cry whenever Lilo throws her Scrump doll on the ground, only to immediately run back and give it a long, apologetic hug. I feel seen when I look at her."

marielevator

27. "Seeing a character, like Dr. Stephen Strange, who can acknowledge that 'pain is an old friend' makes the hard days easier."

"Struggling to manage chronic pain and additional physical damage from a bad car accident is challenging on a good day, and exhausting on the worst, and I often feel pressured to hide it when I'm struggling physically. Seeing a character, like Dr. Stephen Strange, who can acknowledge that 'pain is an old friend' makes the hard days easier."—sarahkn
Marvel

"Struggling to manage chronic pain and additional physical damage from a bad car accident is challenging on a good day, and exhausting on the worst, and I often feel pressured to hide it when I'm struggling physically. Seeing a character, like Dr. Stephen Strange, who can acknowledge that 'pain is an old friend' makes the hard days easier."

sarahkn

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