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‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ is Making Asian Americans Feel Seen


Fans are applauding the Asian American representation in a new romantic drama television series, “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”

The new Amazon Prime show is an adaptation of Jenny Han’s novel “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” Han is also the author of the To All The Boys I Loved Before series.

Like with the film adaptation of To All The Boys I Loved Before, Han serves as an executive producer for “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” On the cover Han’s novel, the main character Belly is illustrated as a white teenage girl. In the series, Han made Belly a half-white and half-Korean teenager.

“When I was approaching the adaptation, I wanted to really reflect the moment that we’re living in. And I think the diversity of characters is a piece of that, so it felt like a really great opportunity to showcase different kinds of talent. We get to have like an Asian American family on the show,” Han told Cinema Blend.

“And then, we also have a new character Cleveland, who is Filipino. So it’s really exciting I think. And I think it feels really natural to the show, to the characters and the story.”

In the show, Belly is played by Lola Tung. Many Asian American fans of the show are enjoying the Asian American representation.

“Not to be cheesy but as an Asian woman who grew up feeling insecure about not fitting conventional beauty standards or seeing as much YA representation, seeing the summer I turned pretty has me grinning from ear to ear it is so damn cute,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

Belly’s Korean American mother also plays a big role in the show. Lacey Vorrasi-Banis, a writer for EW and TV Guide, tweeted that she appreciated seeing a show feature “an Asian mom whose Asian identity isn’t part of her character arc.”

Some fans were skeptical of the Asian representation in the show. One Twitter user said they had “a difficult time believing that any poc woman would not feel starkly out of place in any space dominated by white people.”

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  1. FYI, during the aftermath of the 1992 riots/uprising re the Rodney King verdict, we held numerous multi-racial/ethinic meetings of artists from diverse populations and artistic disciplines. I was shocked to discover that the one racial group most hated by everyone, without exception, were Eurasians, especially Eurasian women. Do a movie about that. All mixed-heritage people carry around a tremendous amount of pain–pain which not even their monoracial/monoethnic relatives can understand or even know exists.

  2. Making asians feel seen? I see NOTHING IN THIS SHOW that looks like me at all.

    Jenny once again throwing her fathers and brothers under the bus with zero representation while continuing to glorify Asian women and their white lovers.

    Interracial relationships are ok but when you can’t even represent asian Americans accurately and then try to speak out as if this work was some kind of progressive effort to help Asian Americans. It probably helped herself more than anyone else.


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