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Stephanie Hsu recalls being asked to sound ‘more Asian’ during an audition

stephanie hsu
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/FilmMagic

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    “Everything Everywhere All At Once” star Stephanie Hsu recalled a time she walked out of an audition “fuming” when asked to perform with an Asian accent. 

    In an interview with the New York Times published on Wednesday, the 32-year-old actor disclosed her personal highs and lows in the entertainment industry and her fight to find a part that resonated with her values. 

    “I was breaking down all these barriers that had been placed around me, carving my own path in a really real way,” Hsu said. 

    Uninterested in suppressing her identity, Hsu previously avoided roles that prevented her from staying true to herself. 

    I understand that people want to make it and they only see one path and have to bend and fold to have a life in the arts, but I always thought if that’s how it’s going to go for me, then I’m going to work at a bar or in a wood shop. 

    Hsu recalled walking out of an audition that required her to “dehumanize” herself before landing the role of both Joy Wang and Jobu Tupaki in “Everything Everywhere.” 

    I remember in 2012, I went into a commercial audition and they were like, “OK, could you do it again, but with a more Asian accent?” And I said, “I’m so sorry, but this role is not for me. I don’t do that and I’m not interested in this part.”

    After Hsu walked out of the room fuming, she asked another actor if he had complied with the request for an accent, to which he responded, “I have no other choice.”

    Hsu on the other hand, said she had “no interest in selling myself or just shrinking myself to an inappropriate cameo just so that I could say I added one more thing to my résumé.”

    Despite the film’s great success, Hsu said her biggest fear is, “What if this is my last chance?”

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