My Time To Shine

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My Time To Shine

Kaitlyn Wong, Reporter

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Since we were young, I’m sure we’ve all been told that we can be anything we want to be: astronauts, CEOs, princesses, warriors, doctors. And all these hopeful aspirations were always enforced through TV, movies, and social media: through media, anyone can find someone that inspires them.

Even with the endless span that the media reaches, I’ve always struggled to find faces like mine in American media. I mean, yeah sure, there are some Asian American actors and actresses found in TV and movies, but all the roles given to Asians are grossly stereotypical and cliché. I’ve only really seen Asians portrayed as overachieving nerds, shy wallflowers, exotic side characters, or non-speaking background roles.

And personally, growing up following a multitude of characters through books, movies, and TV shows — warriors, love interests, intellectuals, heroes, revolutionaries — I had subconsciously grown to favor more Western values, ignoring the beauty of my East Asian roots. Surrounded by blond pioneers and light-skinned leads, I couldn’t help but frame those characteristics as idealistic rather than my own Asian features.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like or want the Chinese-American parts of myself, I just simply didn’t see those qualities anywhere else, not in anyone or anything except my family members. Why would I value these aspects rather than the ones I saw on TV that everyone else seemed to appreciate more?

Finding an Asian portrayal in media is hard enough, but finding a charming and inspiring Asian character proves itself impossible; name one actor or actress covered in modern media or a charismatic Asian movie/TV show character that isn’t Mulan.   I dare you.

But Asian representation has experienced a dramatic rise over the past couple years, with the most recent breakthroughs being Netflix movie special, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” and feature film and box office hit “Crazy Rich Asians.” And honestly, I have never been happier. Finally! Asian stars represented in media that I can look up to! Asian celebrities that not only I enjoy and appreciate, but also my peers and the rest of society!

Asian actors and actresses are finally taking their place in the spotlight, paving ways towards further representation in media, and making their presence known in American media and culture.

To others, the ones that have never found conflict or confusion growing up with mainly Caucasians showcased in entertainment, this may seem insignificant; but to me, it means everything! Finally, I can find adequate Asian representation in current and popular media; finally, I can look up to someone famous who shares my small eye shape, stubby nose, thick dark hair, a round chubby face, and tanned skin; finally, I can I share this connection, knowing that they share the same roots.

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