In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, "Good Morning America" presents "On Their Shoulders," a series featuring newsmakers, actors and musical artists who share tributes to those who paved the way for them.
Actress Peyton Elizabeth Lee is not your average 14-year-old.
She has traveled to China with her family, garnered more than 1 million followers on Instagram and has become the star of the hit Disney Channel show "Andi Mack."
"Andi Mack" has gained attention for bringing different stories of inclusion to life.
Peyton's character Andi is a 13-year-old girl who is just trying to figure out all of the ways she can live her life to the fullest. Another essential part of Andi is that she is half-Asian, like Peyton.
Although the "Andi Mack" creators announced that the show will air its final episodes beginning June 21, Peyton said it was "exciting to bring representation to such a popular character on Disney Channel."
"I think it's important that kids around the world feel confident in who they are, and feel proud of who they are and feel empowered by people they see in the media," she shared.
"So hopefully by showing a character that maybe looks different or feels different makes everyone just feel empowered to be proud of who they are," she said.
Lee said she is "grateful" for leaders of Asian heritage who have come before her, such as her father, actor Andrew Tinpo Lee, Sandra Oh, Vera Wang and more.
The 14-year-old continues to make moves in the industry, and recently announced her newest project, her leading role in the original movie "Secret Society of Second Born Royals" for Disney's streaming service, Disney+.
Peyton shared that she is excited to see what the audience thinks of this "contemporary princess story."
Exploring her Chinese heritage
One of the people Lee honored for paving the way for her own career was her father, who has played roles in "Grey's Anatomy," "Kidding" and more.
He is Chinese and moved from St. Lucia to the United States when he was just 1.
"As an actor himself, he always taught me to never give up on my dreams," Peyton shared.
The two have a strong father-daughter relationship. They even traveled with family to China to learn more about their ancestry, which Peyton said was one of the' "favorite memories of my life."
"There's always been kind of a blurry spot in who I am," Peyton shared. "I know my mom's family really well, but my dad's Asian heritage is something that I've never really been able to tap into."
Some of her favorite memories from the trip include trying food like "stinky tofu" and scorpions, and visiting the Great Wall.
Lee said the trip was an amazing way to "learn more about who I am."
"A new era of representation"
Lee also said she is "grateful" for women like Lauren Tom, who is her co-star on "Andi Mack," but is also known for her role in the first major movie led by an all-Asian cast, "The Joy Luck Club."
She and the rest of the cast "paved the way for other pop culture milestones like 'Crazy Rich Asians,'" Peyton said.
Speaking of "Crazy Rich Asians," Peyton also paid tribute to millennial actress Gemma Chan, who has "helped usher in a new era of representation."
"Her success helps young girls like me believe their dreams can come true," she said.
"These incredible creatives make me proud to be who I am," she said.
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Editor's note: This was originally published on May 9, 2019.