Wednesday 17th January 2018,

Bad Ass Asians

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Tess Paras Spoofs Typecasting

posted by Randall

Tess ParasBy Ed Diokno

Before the recent brouhaha over “whitewashing” of Asian roles because – heaven knows  there isn’t enough work for downtrodden Euro American actors – there was (and continues to be) the practice of casting actors of color in stereotypical roles.


RELATED: Asian Americans decry ‘whitewashing’ of Asian roles


The dilemma for actors of color is between accepting the roll that perpetuates a racist stereotype because writers are too lazy to go beyond the stereotype and because producers continue to insist on the narrow depiction of people of color from the viewpoint of the dominant Eurocentric culture – or, they could reject the role and die of starvation.


Tess Paras, a Filipina American actress, depicts this dilemma in this delightful video Typecast, a parody of Lorde’s “Royal.”

If Paras looks familiar, it’s because she is currently in the recurring role of Jayma Chan, sister of Josh Chan on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on the CW Network. The show made history this season when it depicted the Chan family, American television’s first Filipino American family.

Thankfully, Jayma and Josh don’t speak with Filipino accents.

RELATED: TV’s first Filipino/American family debuts on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Paras said she has auditioned for numerous roles that called for accents. In an interview with Glamour, Paras said:  “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 FilipinoAmerican 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.'”

Let’s hope that the musical romantic comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which got renewed for a second season, will expand Jayma’s character and let Paras display her singing and dancing talent.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)

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