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Jon Chu denies Brenda Song wasn’t Asian enough for Crazy Rich Asians

From Hulu Brenda Song (center) in Dollface

It was one quote in a long article about the career of Brenda Song, the woman dubbed the original Crazy Rich Asian for her role as London Tippin in the Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

In a profile in Teen Vogue, buried deep in the article, Song mentions her heart break when she said she couldn’t get an audition for Crazy Rich Asians.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever,” she said to Teen Vogue. “Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words. It broke my heart,” she says. “I said, ‘This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can’t even audition for it? I’ve auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you’re not going to let me do it? You’re going to fault me for having worked my whole life?’ I was like, ‘Where do I fit?’”

That quote was picked up by numerous publications including USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. Song’s disappointment had such an impact that Jon Chu felt compelled to comment about it on social media.

The director said that’s not how it happened.

Chu followed up by explaining why Song didn’t get an audition. He said it wasn’t necessary because he’s already a fan and well aware of her work.

Song is half Thai and half Hmong. Her mom is Thai, but adopted into a Hmong family. So Song says she was raised primarily Hmong.

She told Teen Vogue she’s always been proud of where she came from even if her friends didn’t always understand. Song, to many Asian Americans, is remembered as the first Asian they ever saw on TV.

Today she’s part of an ensemble cast that includes Shay Mitchell and Kat Denning on Hulu’s Dollface.

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  1. RE: Jon Chu denies Brenda Song wasn’t Asian enough for Crazy Rich Asians: Brenda song has never stood up for the Asian American community so why should she benefit from its rise?


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