Lana Condor On the Importance of Representation and Advocacy for Asian Americans

When she learn the script for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Lana Condor knew the movie used to be made for her. "It was something I'd never seen come across my desk — a rom-com with an Asian American actress as the lead," she says. "I remember sitting in the car before my audition thinking, I have to get this."

The function became Lana, 24, into a household title, and the movie used to be such a success that it turned into a franchise. "The greatest blessing is that it made [Asian] people feel represented. They come up to me and tell me how watching the movie made them feel seen and not alone," says Lana, who's starring in and executive producing the Netflix display Boo, Bitch and filming the movie Moonshot. "I'm very calculated about the projects I take on now. I want to continue to show people who look like me that they can do whatever they want to, regardless of what someone might have told them."

"I think many people are in denial or believe violence against Asians isn't a real thing. Even some of my close friends weren't aware of what was going on. I needed to let people know what was happening. Speaking up is important. It's easy to be a bystander, but you could save a life if you stand up for someone." (Related: Anti-Asian Hate Isn't New, But the Pandemic Made It Much Worse)

"When I speak with other people [in the Asian community], we grieve together, then we pick each other up and tell each other to keep going because that's the only thing to do. You keep going or you stop. To me, stopping is not an option."

"It's been a traumatizing and emotionally challenging year. But we have to stay strong and be hopeful about the future. Things are changing. My demographic is very loud, opinionated, and passionate. I feel a lot of positivity in that."

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