Wednesday 16th August 2017,

Bad Ass Asians

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Asian Americans Struggle to Break into Hollywood

posted by Randall

Tess ParasGlamour is running a three part series on being Asian American and breaking into Hollywood.

So far two of the three parts have been published and have featured two up and coming talented actresses knocking on Hollywood’s door.

Filipina American actress Tess Paras has appeared on Weeds, Wilfred and Grimm. She’s found that the parts offered to her on dramas have been much better.

“I’ve had more success in drama because they tend to comment on ethnicity as a joke much less,” said Paras.

“I’m sure I’ve lost a lot of auditions [where producers are seeking an Asian actress] because I haven’t changed my Filipino last name to something that sounds more East Asian, which some Filipino American actors have done. And I don’t look East Asian—Filipinos don’t have the same eye shape or facial features. So, “What’s your ethnicity?” is a common question. And I’ve had casting people ask me if I’m “full Asian.”

Rati Gupta is an Indian American actress who has done everything from dance, to stand up to short films. She describes herself as someone who doesn’t fit the Hollywood mold of an Indian American.Rati Gupta

“The TV stereotype of the Indian woman is very different from my personal image—submissive, quiet. Indian women are seen in American culture as these exotic beauty queens,” said Gupta.  “I’m short and funny. So the strategy for my career has been to not go for traditional Indian roles—to go for more black-girl roles, kind of.”

It’s sad, but she doesn’t see much hope ever being offered the lead.

“The first wave of auditions goes to your A-list stars. The second wave goes to established actresses who have top agents, or who have been guest-starring for a long time. I’m the third wave. I’m what I like to call special teams. The networks call us in when they realize they don’t have any minorities in their cast, so they want an ethnic choice. Any minority. They don’t care.”

Tess shares similar frustration. She played out her frustrations in a video that has been well received.

You can check it out below. You can also read the full interviews with Tess and Rati in Glamour.

 

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