Lana Condor has responded to claims saying that she’s “not Asian enough” due to her upbringing with a white family.
In an interview with Who What Wear, Condor revealed that she has been trying to explain her identity as far as she can remember.
“I’m 100% Asian, and I’m also 100% American,” she told the outlet. “That’s something that I’m really trying to let people understand. My Asian American experience is different from someone else’s Asian American experience, and that’s okay. There are moments when I feel that people don’t think that I’m Asian enough because I was adopted by an American family. To me, that’s so silly!”
Condor also recalled the first time she experienced discrimination. She was with her brother, who was also adopted from Vietnam alongside her.
“I remember coming home one day from school and being like, ‘Mom, what does this mean?’” she asked her adoptive mother, Mary Carol Condor, about a derogatory name someone had just called her and her brother. “She was so upset and frustrated. That was the first time I was fully aware that my brother and I didn’t look like my parents.”
The 21-year-old went on to describe how she had come to terms with her “Asian-ness” and “female-ness” while working as a young actress.
“As I kept auditioning and working in the industry, I started being more aware that there was a possibility certain projects didn’t hire me because of the way I looked. I’ve never been more aware of my Asian-ness and female-ness than in the film industry.”
Condor made her acting debut as Jubilee in Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” (May 2016). She then appeared in Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” (December 2016) and Lifetime’s “High School Lover” (February 2017).
This year, Condor snagged her first lead role as Lara Jean Covey in “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” Netflix’s adaptation based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same title.
Despite the challenges, Condor remains optimistic of a shift in Hollywood. This rang true in the recently-concluded “Asian August,” which saw the release of her Netflix film, Aneesh Chaganty’s “Searching” and Jon M. Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians.”
“I think it’s changing,” Condor said. “I think so many people are talking about representation, and the industry is feeling it. I feel it in my heart.”
Condor has several projects releasing next year, including cyberpunk action “Alita: Battle Angel,” coming-of-age rom-com “Summer Nights” and TV action-thriller “Deadly Class.” Ironically, her younger self then thought that her dream of becoming an actor was beyond reach.
“I went to high school in L.A., and everyone wants to be an actor. It just seemed like too much of a dream,” Condor said. She then recalled the acting classes she took before landing an “X-Men” role, saying “I got represented and … I think I just got really lucky. Honestly.”