Ascent of stars of Asian descent: 3 Singapore talents included!
Netflix and chill?
The slow but steady rise of young actors and actresses of Asian descent is taking Hollywood and Tinseltown by storm. We’re talking binge watch-worthy series like Orange Is The New Black, Riverdale and the likes. Let alone #13 Reasons Why, which is basically on everyone’s to-watch list right now. So no, it’s virtually impossible to not notice them, besides, a whole bunch of them are real lookers. So here’s a compilation of these artistes of Asian descent to look out for. Who knows, you might just get an inspiration on what series to binge on next. Thank us later.
The geeky stud’s CV is brief but promising: Daniel Yang took up the role as Dilton Doiley in Riverdale, but was replaced by Major Cruda shortly after. Minor setback aside, he’s been slated to star in a new series as Brian in Crawford that will be out in 2018.
From one adorkable Asian to the next … Taking over the role as Dilton Doiley in the subsequent episodes, Major Cruda made his splashy broadway debut at a tender age of 9 as Flounder in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He was nominated for a Young Artist’s Award shortly after and has been steadily making a name for himself ever since.
If you’re a fan of the hit Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black, you’ll definitely recognise Kimiko Glenn as the ditzy bleeding heart liberal Brook Soso. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, she’s a multi-hyphenate performer with the lungs to match; she’s been cast as Dawn in the Broadway transfer production of Waitress by Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson.
American-born actress-singer-model Arden Cho is perhaps best known for her role as Kira Yukimura on Teen Wolf. The strikingly beautiful woman has endured her fair share of pain; as a child, she was mercilessly bullied because of her ethnicity, so much so that she was hospitalised twice. But Arden dusted herself off, got right up and went on to pursue a career in acting at Los Angeles. As a model, she has worked with Reebok, Apple and Alexander McQueen. How’s that for the sweetest comeback?
Jessica’s the quintessential “rojak” Millennial: Born to a Zambian-English father and Singaporean Chinese mother in Surrey, England, Henwick started her theatre stints at the National Youth Theatre. In June 2009, she landed the lead role of Bo for the BBC show, Spirit Warriors, making her the first ever actress of East Asian descent to star as the lead in a Brit tellie series (shocking, we know). Since then, she has gone on to score modest roles in Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You can catch her on Netflix’s Iron Fist as Colleen Wing.
This brooding stud of a man first auditioned for the role of martial arts hero Danny Rand AKA Iron Fist himself, but was later cast as the a villain (bad boys are the best, amiright?). While he may not be the titular character, he sure looks good busting out those kungfu moves.
Fresh Off The Boat’s tigress mother Jessica Huang stole our hearts right off the bat. Constance Wu is super convincing in her role, maybe because she does have that vaguely regal air about her.
She is now working on Crazy Rich Asians, a film adaptation of the novel by Kevin Kwan, who based it loosely on his time growing up in Singapore. He wanted to “introduce a contemporary Asia to a North American audience”; production has just begun in Singapore. So yes, fans should keep an eye out in the hood as Constance Wu is right here on our sunny island, starring alongside Michelle Yeoh and our very own local artists Pierre Png, Tan Kheng Hua and Fiona Xie.
Having made headlines recently for scoring a role in the hotly anticipated Wonder Woman film, Mayling Ng spent her childhood travelling the world. She’s lived in Asia for five years, with Singapore serving as her base. She went on to become a personal trainer in Europe and the USA, but never gave up her dream of breaking into the film industry. After an encouraging boost in the form of roles in two feature films, Mayling decided to throw herself into acting. The rest, as they say, is history.
It’s impossible not to take notice of Godfrey Gao, a Taiwanese-born Canadian model and actor. With his scruffy good looks, he’s made fashion history for being the first Asian male model to work with Louis Vuitton. His first stint in Hollywood was a plum role as the dangerously suave immortal Magnus Bane in Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Godfrey’s also a huge animal lover, which is always a plus.
We would be remiss not to mention this up-and-coming actor from Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why. Both cult hits in their own right, Ross Butler stars as Reggie Mantle and Zach Dempsey respectively.
One thing we love about him: His role as a hunky jock is a solid repudiation of the stereotypical ‘soft’ nerd that most Asian actors tend to be typecast as.
Oh, and how’s this for a fun fact: Ross was born in Singapore to an American British father and Indonesian Chinese mother. He was raised in Virginia and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. Open invitation to Ross: Come back to your birthplace; we’re sure local tellie will benefit from your presence!
Here’s another surprisingly subversive Asian role in 13 Reasons Why. Courtney Crimsen isn’t your run-of-the-mill nerd; rather, she’s the smart and popular one. Off-screen, Michele is a talented singer and dancer, having dabbled in theatre and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from Fordham University in London. Mark our words: This woman is the one to watch.
Instantly recognisable to a whole generation of Millennials for his role as the hunky dancer Mike Chang in Glee and as Magnus Bane in the TV adaption of Shadowhunters, Harry is no stranger to the screen: He’s appeared in Stomp the Yard, Step Up 2, Step Up 3D, and many more. A talented dancer, Harry also had a major role in Revenge of the Green Dragons, a crime drama executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
Born in Buenos Aires to Korean immigrant parents, he studied architecture at the University of New South Wales. But architecture wasn’t his passion, so he went on to pursue his dream career as an actor in New York City at 19.
Like many bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ingenues before him, Leonardo struggled throughout, making ends meet by working at a bar in the Meatpacking District and grabbing any role he could land before hitting jackpot as Brian McBrian in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2. You can catch him in the massive sci-fi hit Westworld.
A true-blue Singaporean, Chin Han has made appearances on stage, film and television. Eagle-eyed fans might have noticed him in The Dark Knight and more recently as Jia Sidao in Netflix original series, Marco Polo. Look out for him as detective Henry Cho in American buddy-cop series Lethal Weapon, which has just been greenlit for a second season. We’re proud of you, Chin Han.
Lean and mean Ludi Lin is the new black power ranger who has been stealing hearts left, right and centre. The China-born theatre actor can also be seen in all his rippling muscly glory in the second season of Netflix’s Marco Polo.