Tuesday 17th January 2017,

Bad Ass Asians

Asian American Actors Wield Influence on Hollywood & Social Media

posted by Mandy Day
Off the Great Wall

Mike & Dan Chen of Off the Great Wall with Cierra Rossman

By Ciarra Rossman

Asian American actors are becoming more prominent in the entertainment business. Gaining popularity quickly, these stars are able to easily fill a room at fan events and attract attention on the streets. Four of these men discussed Asian American and Canadian issues at this year’s KCON, a convention centered around “all things Hallyu”.

 

 Mike Chen, part of the YouTube channel Off the Great Wall, is a Missouri born Chinese man who had spent most of his younger years working in his parent’s restaurant. He is a self-proclaimed foodie and currently resides in New York. Dan Chen, who is the second half of Off the Great Wall, took theater and drama in college and currently lives in New York.

 

Ki Hong Lee, an Asian American actor, was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the U.S. at a young age. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

 

 Jeffrey Chang, owner and star of the YouTube channel JeffreyFever was born and raised in Canada. After living in Los Angeles for a period of his life, he returned to Canada where he currently resides.
 
All four of these men have the capabilities to impact the media by appearing at more events to spread the importance of needing diversity in entertainment. By influencing their fans, they can promote the use of, not only Asian Americans, but any minority in the media.
 
Ki Hong Lee

Ki Hong Lee
Photo by Hien Le


 

Ki Hong Lee and Asian Americans in Hollywood
 
Ki Hong Lee, a Korean American actor who has appeared in movies such as The Maze Runner and The Stanford Prison Experiment, held a panel at this year’s KCON. The focus of the panel was Asian American influence in the United States and the entertainment business. In the panel, Lee discussed personal life experiences, his roles in movies, his experience with auditioning, and his role in the Netflix series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  When asked about movie genres he would like to audition for, he mentioned that he was open to most genres, but is easily scared so he tends to stay away from horror films.
 
Lee delved into his past and discussed his dislike for stereotypes about Asians/Asian Americans. He stated, “I don’t like it when people say that just Asian parents are strict [with school]. All parents want their kids to do well. Not just Asian parents.” As an Asian American who faced many hardships in his youth, Lee shared that he feels that all Asian American’s have a duty to represent their culture well.
 
Lee went deep into his role in the movie The Maze Runner. He said, “If I wasn’t cast as Minho, I think I would be cast as a character that was curled up scared in a corner.” He explained that character, Minho, was inspired by the author, James Dashner’s nephew.
 

Jeffrey Chang of JeffreyFever

Jeffrey Chang of JeffreyFever
Photo by Ciarra Rossman


 
The panel ended with a fan meet and greet.
 
Jeffrey Fever and Off the Great Wall
 
Jeffrey Chang from YouTube channel, JeffreyFever, and Dan and Mike Chen (not related) from YouTube channel Off the Great Wall, held a fun panel that started and ended with ease. The three panelists spoke about their experiences as YouTube stars and how they came to be. The trio’s panel was more light-hearted and carefree, as they did not get into serious topics.
 
Discussing their pasts, all three brought up how they were raised as kids and some of their more recent hardships as young adults. Jeffrey told the story of how it was hard for him when he had first moved to LA. He said, “I was living in a small, dirty, dusty apartment with a few other people. I came here knowing no one. I ended up homeless after a few months, and moved back to Canada.”
 

 
Mike shared, “My parents were really strict, typical Asian strict. They owned a Chinese restaurant and had me work there a lot. I used to work there so much that I missed a lot of events. I even missed prom!”
 
Compared to the others, Dan’s past was not so hard, “My parents weren’t the ‘typical’ Asian parents. They didn’t care so much about what I wanted to be when I got older. They mostly supported my decisions, even my decision to take theatre and study drama [in college].”
 
All panelists had similar stories about why they started making YouTube videos. They wanted to get their thoughts and ideas out to the world; whether it covered topics that bother them through JeffreyFever, or sharing knowledge about Asian cultures on Off the Great Wall.
 

 
More from Jeffrey Chang can be found at his website and Youtube page.
 
You can discover more from Off the Great Wall on Facebook and Youtube.

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One Comment

  1. Bob says:

    RE: Asian American actors wield influence on Hollywood and social media: He's not a Missouri-born Chinese man. He's a Chinese-American. What you said means he is Chinese; he's not: he's American.

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