Representation in the media has never been a more popular topic than right now. But there is still so much more room for authentic Asian stories in Hollywood. These five talented actors will be bringing those stories to our screens this year, and hopefully beyond!
1. Manny Jacinto
After quickly becoming everyone’s favorite Himbo/DJ/Fake Monk on sitcom The Good Place, this Filipino-Canadian actor landed a role in the next installment of the Top Gun series. Catch him in Top Gun: Maverick this summer!
2. Gemma Chan
You may know her as the beautiful and intelligent prodigy Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians. She has also pushed the envelope for Asian actors in Hollywood, by appearing in two period films during the last two years. But Gemma is sure to garner even more admirers as Sersi in Marvel’s Eternals, which is slated for a November 2021 release. (Fun fact: it’s directed by Chinese Filmmaker Chloe Zhao, the first Asian Female to direct a Marvel film!)
3. Alan Kim
The early reviews for Minari, a drama about a Korean immigrant family adjusting to life in the midwest, are in. One thing is clear: 7-year-old star Alan Kim stole the show. His performance, which is both adorable and impressive, will reach an even wider audience this February, when the film is released in theaters. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this talented young actor.
4. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
This charismatic newcomer was essential to the success of Netflix teen comedy show Never Have I Ever, bringing authenticity, charm, and much needed representation to her lead role as Devi. She’s currently filming the second season of the show. On the side, she’s a Global Ambassador for children’s-rights organization Plan International. We know she’s going far because she embodies the best things about Gen Z—humor, activism, and social media mastery.
5. Simu Liu
Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu famously tweeted Marvel about starring in a possible film for Marvel martial arts hero Shang-Chi. Two years later, the Kim’s Convenience actor will make history as the first Asian lead in a superhero film in one of Time’s Most Anticipated Films of 2021, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Ask, and you shall receive.
Test your knowledge of other Asian actors with this quiz!