By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer
Asian Americans have always been overshadowed by the model minority stereotype. At face value, this stereotype may appear to be positive as it denotes Asian Americans as being success stories and high achievers, but it ignores the histories of Asian American migration and does not account for the struggles experienced by the community. The film Take Out Girl written by Hisonni Mustafa and Hedy Wong authentically discusses the “overshadowed” experiences of the Asian American community and authentically tells the story of how Tera Wong (played by Hedy Wong), a desperate 20-year-old Asian girl, parlays her Chinese food delivery expertise into a profitable drug hustle in order to give her family a chance at a better life and save her family’s failing restaurant.
Wong who is a writer for the film, plays the lead and whose life the film is loosely based on spoke about the importance of breaking down the model minority myth and how her own life experiences added layers to the film’s story line.
“For me personally, I never saw stories of my own family, who were middle class and struggling. We grew up as an immigrant family – my dad is a refugee and my older siblings were gang related. This is why the story I told had to be authentic and true. I wanted to show that being Asian American is not just about all the wealth, education and achievements, but it was about a family doing all it could to keep it together,” she said to AsAmNews.
Wong’s character “Terra” spends her life hustling in order to keep her family ( mother and brother) and the family’s restaurant together. “Terra” as a person is multi-faceted as she is both intelligent but also breaks away from being a model minority Asian. She is badass, resourceful, edgy and takes risks.
“Terra is definitely not the model minority ( except she was previously enrolled in college), but she is an average blue collar American girl, just trying to find her way. Terra as a character adds more texture to the fabric of Asian representation in film and shows that Asian Americans are not a monolith. These are the stories we definitely need to see more of in American film and TV.”
Finally, with the current environment of anti-Asian sentiment in America, a film like this, which portrays Asian Americans as “ordinary” people living their lives like anyone else is extremely powerful and rejects the racial stereotype that Asian Americans are the perpetual foreigner.
“When the pandemic hit, the #stopasianhate movement really pushed the issue into the mainstream. But let’s not forget this racism has been happening for a long time, way before the pandemic hit. I grew up in the Bay Area Chinatown and we have seen racism incidents happening for a very long time. We Asian Americans belong, we have normal lives. We struggle, we go through problems and we are not foreigners. This is the message I hope Take Out Girl will provide audiences.”
“Take Out Girl” came out this week. You can check it out on most streaming platforms.
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