Asian Canadian actor Simu Liu opened up to the Facebook group “subtle asian traits” to express his thoughts on a recent video released by popular YouTube channel Asian Boss.
In the video, host Tony conducted a man-on-the-street interview, asking random Chinese people if Liu was “too ugly” to be the lead for “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero movie.
According to the video’s description, its premise was based on some Chinese netizens’ opinion that the 30-year-old star was “not hot enough” to play Shang-Chi.
To find out if there’s any truth to the alleged hot topic on Chinese social media, Asian Boss thought it made sense to show some images of Liu to some random people so they can rate him based on his looks.
“He looks like a typical ABJ,” one woman said. “American-born Japanese. Or is he Korean? He’s not bad. He’s quite handsome.”
Another woman, who gave Liu a “6” rating, explained, “He’s just about average. I don’t think he’s considered handsome by Chinese standards.”
Then one disappointed fan noted that “there are more handsome men in China, who are aged between 30-40.”
Liu also received a 3.5 rating from a woman who commented that “he looks a bit mature and he looks old.”
Asked for suggestions, the participants offered Chinese actors Eddie Peng, Vincent Zhao and Wu Jing as better alternatives for the role.
The video, which was posted on the Asian Boss’ channel on Thursday, has already been viewed over 180,000 times as of this writing.
In his response, the “Kim’s Convenience” star opened in jest, poking fun at how getting rated 3.5 and getting his name mispronounced was “not the best way to wake up.”
He then went on to address the interview which he considers “a very teachable moment,” narrating how he faced criticisms and rejection throughout his life.
“I think this is a very teachable moment. I’ve had people question me my entire life. A lot of teachers thought I’d never amount to anything, a lot of producers, directors, writers AND costars have questioned my acting ability, and I’ve been rejected from countless conservatories, grants, programs, etc. I’ve been second-guessed at every single possible step of my career.”
He pointed out that he has not allowed other people’s opinion define him and his abilities, attributing his current success to his focus and self-esteem.
“The reason why I’m still standing is because I’m singularly focused, I have the utmost belief in my abilities and I refuse to let the opinions of others define me. In your careers, in your lives, no matter where you go, you will always encounter voices of doubt. Some will come from people who are frighteningly close to you. Are you going to let those voices own you? Define you? Keep you from achieving what you want?”
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Liu then noted that while shutting off such “voices of doubt” is a “fruitless effort,” one can deal with them by acknowledging their existence, but not allowing them to ruin opportunities.
“That isn’t to say you can’t have bad days, and that you shouldn’t use your support systems and talk about how you feel like I’m doing right now. I’ve never been called ugly so many times in my entire life! For me, it’s never been about trying to shut the voices out – it’s a fruitless effort (especially if people happen to be making Youtube videos about it lol). Rather, it’s about learning to let the voices exist and be OKAY with it. I’m still doing my thing, and I’m still over the moon happy I get this amazing opportunity.”
“I’m not going a few voices of doubt ruin that for me, and neither should you, in whatever you are pursuing in your life. Bet on yourself. Own your greatness. Take that spotlight.”
He ended his post by challenging Asian Boss to tackle topics with “more journalistic and creative integrity,” suggesting other points of discussion on the subject of his film’s source material.
“BTW I sincerely hope this Youtube channel will attack topics with a bit more journalistic and creative integrity in the future… there are a lot of real and valid reasons why audiences find Shang Chi’s source material to be controversial and I love the discussion that’s taking place. This… not so much.”
Liu’s post, which has received over 37,000 reactions, has thousands of netizens commenting their messages of support: