These are the incredible true stories behind "Little America"

While most of the shows to date have been fictional dramas, Apple TV+'s newest series Little America is based on a true story. In January 2018, Epic Magazine published a series of special reports on various industries in the United States. These touching stories became the inspiration behind a new anthology series for Apple TV+, released in book form this March.

The first season of "Little America" ​​consists of eight episodes, each depicting a different American story. The show was developed by "The Big Sick" screenwriters Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani , as well as Lee Eisenberg and Epic founders. Produced by Joshuah Bearman et al.

"We sent writers and researchers across the country to find these extraordinary stories from the lives of immigrants," Behrman said in a statement, according to IndieWire. "We found that almost everyone has a little America. Stories. These are pieces of our lives together, and it’s so gratifying to be able to use these little stories to make big ideas happen.”

Here are the incredible true stories behind all but one episode of Little America , written in Epic.

Episode 1: Manager

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"I still remember that day, July 7, 2006, when they were packing their bags," Kunal Sah (who goes by Kabir on the show), whose parents own a Ramada Co. in Green River, Utah, told Epic . "My parents had been fighting a deportation order they received in 2004 and had been waiting for citizenship for 14 years. I was 11. They were not being deported because of criminal activity. They were being deported simply because they had been deported since 1990 , their citizenship applications have been waiting in line, and their time has run out.”

After his parents returned to India, Sar lived with his brother, who soon began to abuse him. However, Sacher had big plans for his life and decided to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in eighth grade. “I made the finals that year,” he continued. "We went to the White House so they could film a segment introducing the spellers before they aired in prime time." When it was his turn to introduce himself to first lady Laura Bush, he announced: "I'm Kunal "Sah, I want my parents back. I really need some help." He ended up finishing 13th in the spelling bee final, and his televised request didn't change anything.

After a period in juvenile detention and foster care, Sa inherited a family hotel from her uncle who was about to return to India. So he learned to run his own Ramada Hotel. Eventually, however, the impossible happened. "In 2015, my dad called and said, 'I got a letter from USCIS. It has the date of my interview with your mother. It's December 8th,'" Sa recalled. "I'm speechless."

His parents returned to the United States in January 2016 to run the hotel together.

Episode 2: Jaguar

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"The first time I played a game, I was 13 and undocumented," Reyna Pacheco told Epic . Her name in the Apple TV+ series is Marisol. “There were 30 of us crammed into one court. My school rented racquetball courts at a private club in Mira Mesa, San Diego, and separated them with a large makeshift wall. On one hand, tutors helped with homework; On the other hand, we hit the ball and watched them bounce high and hang in the air."

Although she said she wasn't initially good at the sport, there was something about racquetball that attracted Pacheco. “I have to stay alert, keep pushing and refining, and be ready for the next shot,” the athlete described. "This immediacy suited my lifestyle - at school I didn't know if I would be in the country for my next exam; at home we turned boxes into chairs and wondered when the next check would arrive. Squash The rhythm is perfect for my life.”

Her coach was former Brazilian squash champion Renato Paiva, who encouraged her to persevere. However, she remains undocumented and therefore unable to represent the United States internationally. Fortunately, by chance, she met an immigration lawyer who accepted her free of charge. “Now, I’m able to travel around the world,” Pacheco said.

Episode 3: Cowboys

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This episode tells the story of a Nigerian-born man named Igwe Udeh, who left his country to study economics at the University of Oklahoma. "I'm the only black person on my project and one of the few black people in town," Ude told Epic . "I quickly learned that there wasn't a barber shop in Norman that would cut black hair. I had an afro. I had a thick accent; for an Ohioan, it was incomprehensible."

Still, he noticed similarities between Oklahoma cowboys and his Igbo tribe. “The Igbo spirit is tenacious and we have a deep connection to our land, which is rich and full of oil,” Ude said. "I can see how much the cowboys love their land - they're here to stay forever... They can't rely on the government, they can't rely on anyone else. Coming from Nigeria, where the government has never been on my side, I'm This expresses approval.”

As a result, Ude started dressing like a cowboy, which he said was easy because thrift stores were full of Western styles. "When I first walked into class wearing my new cowboy outfit, someone said, 'Look at that! Igwe wants to be a cowboy,'" he recalled. "I smiled and said, 'Yes, I do.'"

Episode 4: Silence

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In the early 1980s, a Swiss woman named Yemana Sanders (Sylviane in the show) attended a year-long retreat in Massachusetts. There she met a man named Clark and formed an instant connection with him. After the retreat, they moved in together and eventually had three children.

"But when the kids got older, I needed to go out on my own again and have adventures again," she told Epic . "Clark and I parted ways. He's now remarried and I'm alone. Happy as a clam."

Episode 5: The Baker

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After Elizabeth Kizito (or Beatrice on the show) immigrated to the United States from Uganda, she tried chocolate chip cookies for the first time. "I can't believe it!" she told Epic . "They were hot and fresh and so delicious. I loved them so much. The lady had to make some more because I couldn't stop. That's when I decided, 'I have to make some cookies so I can eat them all There may be as many cookies as I can get my hands on.”

Chizito continued baking cookies and eventually selling them for a profit while living in Louisville with her second husband. She was doing well, but her mother in Uganda didn't understand. "When you come to the United States from Africa, your family expects you to do something really big, like work in a bank ... something they can tell their friends," Chizito said. "But selling things on the street? My mother was not happy about it. In Africa, the people who do this kind of work are the lowest - they are women with no money." Fortunately, Kizito's mother came Louisville later changed her mind and even encouraged her daughter to buy a storefront, which she did.

Kizito Cookies is based in Louisville, Kentucky, where she became famous for carrying cookies in a basket on her head.

Episode 6: Expo Grand Prize Winner

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This is the only episode that doesn't seem to be adapted from the epic package. However, there is a similar story involving a Sri Lankan-American woman named Dilini Jayasuriya who won a car by kissing for 50 hours. “After the game, I learned that my brother had turned on the TV for my dad,” she recalled. "He watched the whole race. 'I know it's a car,' he said, 'but I believe in you.' He was very proud and I always believed he thought I was weak, but he was proud of me and that was important ”

Episode 7: Rock

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Farhad Gremibol (named Faraz in "Little America" ) and his family moved to the United States from Iran so that his children could attend college. "Back home in Iran, owning a house is very important," he explained to Epic . "Things are different in the U.S." So when Gremybol saw real estate in Yonkers listed for $19,000, he was shocked. "Probably two hundred thousand dollars!" he told the magazine. "I thought I'd found a deal that no one had found. I went out there to look and there was this huge rock in the middle of the land. I mean, this thing was huge. It was about 8 feet tall maybe 50 to 60 or 70 feet long.”

Eventually, Gremibol convinced a construction company to help him break the stone at a discount. When the article was published, they had not yet removed the rocks or built the house, but the Iranian men were determined. The house will have four bedrooms and a two-car garage, he explained. "[My wife] wanted really big bedrooms and a really big kitchen," Gremibol said. "Then we just have to nail the house to the rock. That way the house will be on the rock. It's actually a good foundation. We won't see the rock out the window at all. We'll see a beautiful view of the green valley ”

Episode 8: Son

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Shadi Ismail comes from a small town called Qardha in Syria and was forced to flee the town after his father caught him kissing a man. "He burned my arms, cut my hair and said he would kill me if he caught me with a man again," Ismail said in his epic profile . After escaping to Damascus, he became friends with an Iraqi man named Sam, who was also gay. They later moved to Jordan and eventually to the United States. When this article was published, he and Sam were both living in Boise, Idaho, and Ishmael was engaged to a man named Ian.

Fortunately, "Little America" ​​has been renewed for a second season, and more touching true stories are about to be staged.