Vanessa Lachey first met producer/director Larry Teng in her personal life: Their kids both attended the same school in Los Angeles. But they also got to know each other professionally when “NCIS: Hawai’i” went into development. Teng, whose credits include “Hawaii Five-O,” “Person of Interest,” “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” came on board to direct and executive produce the pilot — and knew who would be great for the lead.

“For some reason, with this role, I was struggling with my confidence,” Lachey says. “Larry personally Zoomed me and said, ‘Vanessa, I think you’re perfect for this role.’ Just talking to him, made me believe in myself, and I’ll never forget it.”

Lachey appears on Variety’s new video series “Up Next” presented by Facebook to give a shoutout to Teng, and the big things that she believes are to come for the rising director.

“Larry on set is one in a million,” she says. “Larry just has a charisma about him that everybody in the crew and cast want to be around. He has this innate ability to just get to your core and remind you of who you are and what you were doing with this character.”

Teng, who has an overall deal at CBS Studios, thanks Lachey in turn for her support, and also says he takes “very seriously” the opportunity he has as a high-profile Asian American director and producer to continue to help be a part of change in Hollywood. “To have a deal at the studio now where they’re allowing me to develop projects that speak to me, that allow me to sort of de-myth Asian stereotypes, I think is really a blessing,” he says. “I can really be very specific with what I want to put out there and what I want people to take from that, things that I can speak to based on what my experience was growing up as a first-generation American-born Chinese here in this country.”

The new “Up Next” video franchise, from Variety and Facebook, spotlights individuals from underrepresented communities who are driving change, and asks well-known creators and talent from across TV, film and music about individuals they believe are “up next” for major recognition.