If you ask a parent to name her favorite child, the typical response is something along the lines of, “I love them all differently, but equally. I don’t have a favorite!” I’m sure Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef (Teri Polo) on ABC Family’s The Fosters would have a similar response if asked to choose between their five kids. Well, I’m not a parent. None of the Adams Foster brood belong to me. I can choose a favorite, and I choose Mariana (Cierra Ramirez).
Not that I don’t love all of the Adams Foster kids. Brandon (David Lambert) makes beautiful music and questionable life choices. Callie (Maia Mitchell) is basically one of those puppies in the Sarah McLachlan commercials—you can’t help but want to hold her close. Judicorn (Hayden Byerly) is the bravest kid in town. Even Jesus (Jake T. Austin) redeemed himself post-Hayley branding, with the kindness he showed Ana (Alexandra Barreto) as she tried to make amends. See? I love them all, in different but equal ways.
I just love Mariana more.
Mariana is incredibly smart, but kind of vain. She’s tough and opinionated, but insecure and sensitive. She’s sassy but loving. She’s funny but—no, there’s no counter to that: Mariana is flat-out hilarious. All of Mariana’s contradictions are why I find her so endearing. Is she perfect? LAWD, no! I mean, she was about to pick that Chase character over sweet little Zac—a horrible decision, for sure. She makes mistakes (a lot) and learns from them (sometimes). She feels like a real live teenager. It makes this old lady happy to know that there are teens out there who are lucky enough to have such a strong, complex female role model.
Please, dear God, let this make them all forget Bella Swan. Bella Swan is the WORST.
5 Times Mariana Adams Foster Was a Queen:
1. That time Mariana defeated the mean girls through the mystical powers of dance and science.
Throughout season 2B, we—including Mariana herself—discovered that our little poodle princess was actually a math genius. This caused some problems at first; mainly, Mariana was embarrassed to tell her boyfriend Mat (Jordan Rodrigues) that she’s smarter than he is. Luckily, Lena stepped in and informed her daughter that for someone so smart, she was being a real dummy. Eventually, Mariana embraced her brain, joined S.T.E.M., and ended up using computer coding to shut down Horrible Hayley and the Evil Dance Squad and win the big dance competition. These days, dancing is all about isos and html.
2. That time Mariana owned everyone at a pharm party.
Mariana isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right. I guess she’s like a superhero that way—a really cute, well-groomed superhero. When she arrives to a shady pharm-not-farm party and gets lip from a misogynistic bouncer, she doesn’t hesitate in calling him out. At the same party, when she happens upon a passed-out girl, her first instinct is to call 911, regardless of what her fellow party-goers will think. She’s mature enough to realize a person’s life is much more important than her cool factor. And oh my God, I sound so old. But seriously, kids: Save lives, not parties!
3. That time Mariana rocked a questionable dye job.
I get it—blond Mariana was a means for the teen to work out some identity issues with her heritage and her birth mom. But let’s be real: Mariana’s excellent sense of style (that nail-polish game is LEGIT) aside, the blond was a terrible decision that had no right looking as good as it did. Somehow, though, Mariana (and Cierra Ramirez) rocked the hell out of it. There is only one answer to this mystery: confidence. Sister friend walked around with that blond head of hair as if she had been doing it her whole life. Get it, girl.
4. That time Mariana showed Mat her vulnerable side, even though it was hella scary.
It’s hard for anyone to be vulnerable in a relationship, especially a girl who puts up walls to protect herself from being hurt. As Mariana and Mat’s relationship grew, Mariana was forced to grow along with it. Revealing her true feelings about her birth mother, owning her smarts, and even finding the courage to say “I love you” for the first time were all scary and embarrassing for Mariana. She did it anyway, proving that being vulnerable and strong go hand in hand. Oh, and newsflash: Life is scary and embarrassing, SO GET USED TO IT.
5. That time Mariana fiercely loved her family—oh, wait, that’s every time.
Mariana is basically a walking master class in sass-giving, but she also has the biggest heart of anyone sitting around the Foster Kitchen Island of Breakfast Goodies and Lessons Learned. Whether it’s offering friendship and sisterhood to Callie, opening up to her twin brother, Jesus, or protecting her baby-sister-to-be, it’s clear Mariana loves her family.
Share your favorite Mariana moment below, then prepare yourself for more when season three of The Fosters premieres on ABC Family on Monday, June 8, at 8/7C. You just know Mariana will be a total badass boss queen—the girl can’t help it.