8 Asian-American actors who deserve WAY more onscreen love…

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BRIT + CO (by Dene Chen):

The popularity of Star Trek Beyond has basically guaranteed mainstream fandom for a franchise that was once considered geeky and alternative — now, we can even wear our trekkie status on our nails! What’s also great is that the stars have used their larger platform to speak up about issues that are important to them, like Zoe Saldana’s struggle with an autoimmune disease.

For John Cho, who portrays Sulu, a universally beloved character, this has been a time to talk about diversity — or the lack thereof — in Hollywood. “I just didn’t see anyone on TV who looked like me, and then I saw George Takei being cool and piloting the spaceship on television,” Cho recently said on The View. “And I thought that, wow, there’s a beacon for me.”

While things are a little bit better now on TV concerning diversity (though if the bar was so low before, how can you go anywhere but up?), there are still many in Hollywood who tooootally should be getting more work. Lucy Liu and John Cho are well-known names now — here’s hoping that Hollywood gives the following Asian actors more face-time onscreen.

1. Constance Wu:

Entertainment Weekly & People Upfronts Party 2016 - Arrivals

She is hilarious on Fresh Off the Boat and has been very vocal about the white-washing that happens in Hollywood. Wu is talented and beautiful — this should be a no-brainer.

 

2. Steven Yuen:

AMC At Comic-Con 2016 - Day 2

Yuen is notable not only for playing a main character for The Walking Dead, but for being one of the few onscreen love interests in Hollywood played by an Asian male. This may sound ridiculous, but since Asian men are often desexualized in mainstream American media, Yuen’s portrayal of Glenn as a total badass who is considered hot AF is actually groundbreaking. It shouldn’t be though. But first, we need to see him in more stuff.

3. Jake Choi:

2016 Tribeca Film Festival After Party For Wolves At No.8 - 4/15/16

This Queens native has a versatility that is showcased on his IMDB page — a stint on Broad City, an arc on Younger and a role in Wolves, the basketball drama starring Carla Gugino and Michael Shannon which opened earlier this year. Fingers crossed we see more of him.

4. Rahul Kohli:

Comic-Con International 2016 - "iZombie" Press Line

Are we including South Asians on this list? Yes we are, because representation is important. Also, because Rahul Kohli from iZombie is a handsome human being who needs to be on TV more.

5. Anna Akana:

AOL Build Speaker Series - Anna Akana, "Miss 2059"

You might recognize her by her brief appearance at the end of Ant-Man, but many are more likely to know her from her YouTube fame. Akana is a real self-made star, and her witty and sometimes poignant videos have reached more than 1.5 million subscribers.

6. Priyanka Chopra:

2016 ABC Upfront

This woman is goals when it comes to her red carpet style and her classic updos. But Chopra was already a huge star in India before Quantico gave her fame stateside.

7. Daniel Henney:

Hamilton Watch And LA Confidential Present The 2014 Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards - Inside

Another actor who is more appreciated outside the US, Henney will hopefully get more recognition now that he is a series regular of a Criminal Minds spin-off, Beyond Borders.

8. Sendhil Ramamurthy:

"Covert Affairs" Panel - Comic-Con 2011

Luckily for us, this Heroes alum has been working steadily since the series ended in 2010, chalking up arcs in Covert Affairs and Beauty and the Beast.

 

Voltron returns in new Netflix series… starring Steven Yeun!

Angry Asian Man:

Last weekend at WonderCon, DreamWorks Animation unveiled new artwork and footage for its highly anticipated upcoming original series Voltron: Legendary Defender, premiering June 10 on Netflix. They also introduced the voice cast, which includes none other than The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun.

Inspired by the classic, fan-favorite 1980s cartoon series, executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery — the team behind The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender— reimagine the Voltron legend in an all-new comedic, action-packed animated saga.

The series follows five teenage friends who embark upon an epic journey when they are transported from Earth into the middle of a sprawling intergalactic war, and become pilots for five robotic lions in the battle to protect the universe from evil. Only through the power of teamwork can they unite to form the might warrior Voltron!

The voice cast includes Kimberly Brooks as Princess Allura; Rhys Darby as Coran; Josh Keaton as Shiro, Black Lion; Tyler Labine as Hunk, Yellow Lion; Jeremy Shada as Lance, Blue Lion; Bex Taylor-Klaus as Pidge, Green Lion; and Steven Yeun as Keith, Red Lion.

Thirteen episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender debut on June 10, exclusively on Netflix.

Steven Yeun and Conan O’Brien strip down for a Korean spa 

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Audrey Magazine:

A Korean spa, for a first-timer, is definitely an experience you won’t forget. To be frank, there’s plenty of nudity everywhere you look so you’ll see everyone’s full moon, their stars and everything in between.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable enough to walk amongst others in your birthday suit. In fact, in Korean spas, it’s actually frowned upon if you’re clothed because it’s a snub to the other spa-goers. It’s as if your body is superior and no one deserves to see it. However, in America, baring it all is just something we’re not accustomed to. Our idea of a spa trip typically has us comfortably bundled up in a robe and the level of nudity would only go so far as a body towel to hide the cash and prizes.

So imagine throwing American stars, Conan O’Brien and Steven Yeun, into a Korean spa. Sounds entertaining? Yup, it absolutely is. From their embarrassing interactions with the other men to their awkward bromance moments, the little episode is pure hilarity.

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Watch as Steven and Conan go au naturel at a Korean Spa:

 

Steven Yeun of “Walking Dead” argues that not all Asians look Aalike, but some look like Brad Pitt

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 Audrey Magazine: 

Thought it was bad that some people believe all Asian women have the same type of hair? Well, it gets worse. Much worse.

In this day and age, there are still some people who can’t tell Asians apart because they’re under the impression that all Asians look the same. Maybe they don’t get enough exposure to Asian folks. Maybe the only Asians they can identify are the ones on TV. Whatever the reason may be, there’s no longer room for these kinds of mistakes. Even Steven Yeun had to comedically remind the masses of this ignorance.

On Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Steven Yeun announced to the audience that he’s on a mission to prove that Asians are not clones of each other. He broke it down for the greater public by loudly stating, “WE DON’T LOOK ALIKE.”

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Yeun then told O’Brien how countless people have said they get confused for the Walking Dead star. “People will come up and like [say], ‘I get mistaken for you all the time,’” Yeun recounts. “And I’m like, ‘You’re 55 years old! Or you’re a 12-year-old girl. What are you talking about?’”

What’s even better is how Yeun tries to reverse the confusion to show that “everyone looks alike” with a few examples of ethnic celebrity look-alikes. He finds an Asian Brad Pitt, a Black Matt Damon and an Asian Elijah Woods.

Watch how it all unfolds here:

‘Walking Dead’ star Steven Yeun on resisting Asian stereotypes

‘Walking Dead’ Star Steven Yeun on Resisting Asian Stereotypes

Backstage:

Within months of moving from Chicago to L.A. to pursue his acting dreams, Steven Yeun was running from brain-eating zombies on the AMC series “The Walking Dead.” But the newbie was understandably nervous when he started preparing for his first major television role.

When I moved to L.A. and I booked ‘Walking Dead,’ all I could think about was how not to screw it up,” he says. So during the initial wardrobe fitting prior to shooting the show’s first season, Yeun kept it to himself when his outfit reminded him of a certain Asian sidekick from another iconic action franchise.

They put me in these clothes that made me look like Short Round [from ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’],” he says, “and I didn’t say anything because I was just like, ‘Oh, don’t make a fuss, even though this is absurd and you look like Short Round.’ Nobody noticed until it aired, and then they all said, ‘Wait a minute, you look like Short Round.’ And I was like, ‘I know!’ But I was too afraid to say anything because I didn’t want to mess it up.” (His costumes have been tweaked since then.)

But years earlier, Yeun had turned down a theater gig because he thought he would be contributing to similar negative stereotypes if he took the role.

For my first audition ever, in Chicago, the producers of this little show asked me to do an ’80s monologue,” he recalls, “so I came in with Ferris Bueller’s opening monologue. They said, ‘That was good, but can you do an Asian accent?’

That’s when Yeun realized they just wanted to see his version of stereotypical “Sixteen Candles” scene stealer Long Duk Dong. “After that, they wanted to book me and I just refused,” Yeun says.

Not that he advises others to turn down jobs. Yeun says he understands why actors often end up in projects they’re not proud of.

All the power to anybody that takes work, because getting work in this business is hard as hell,” he says. “So you get work and you take it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, I just couldn’t do it. I knew I couldn’t do a good job because I just didn’t believe in it.”

Like his onscreen alter ego, Yeun was born in Korea and moved to Michigan with his family at an early age. Yeun says he feels especially fortunate today to be playing a well-rounded character like Glenn—thankful not just for a prominent role in a hit show but also for the opportunity to portray an Asian-American character who is not defined by his race, ancestry, or accent.

The Ultimate Throwback: Childhood photos of your favorite Asian celebs

tbt

 

Audrey Magazine:

Remember that awkward pre-teen stage? No matter how many times you try to forget that horrid chapter of your life, the mental images are probably burned into your memory. Well we have some good news. Everyone goes through strange childhood stage. Everyone. That includes some of your most favorite Asian celebrities!

So if you still feel like you’re going through an awkward phase, check out the photos below. Some of the most gorgeous Asian celebs had their facepalm moments too. There’s still hope for all of us!

 


 

1. Steven Yeun

Then:

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Now:
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2. Sandra Oh

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3. Brenda Song 

Then:
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Now:
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4. Vanessa Hudgens 
Then:
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Now:
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5. Bruno Mars 
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6. Kristen Kreuk
Then:
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7. Mindy Kaling
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8. Jackie Chan
Then:
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9. Daniel Henney
Then:
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10. Jenna Ushkowitz
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