Crazy Rich Asians may have brought Singapore and Asians to the forefront of international cinema, but these online TV heroines are perfect watching in the comfort of your own home. They may not be crazy rich or have Astrid Leong’s wardrobe, but they’re breaking barriers in their own way and contributing to more Asian representation on screen. Too busy to search for inspiration Asians on screen? Check out our nifty guide below.
1. Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Marvel’s Runaways
Family fights just got a lot more serious as Nico (second from left) finds out. Photo: Hollywood Reporter
No stranger to comic books fans, goth chick Nico (played by Japanese-American actress Okano in her first big role) is part of the eponymous Runaways, a group of teenage superheroes forced to, well, runaway, when they discover their parents have been sacrificing girls to three giants in a quest for power.
She soon discovers she’s a witch, and together with the rest of the Runaways, they fight back against their parents, The Pride.
The series has been receiving rave reviews, and sadly, hasn’t received as much recognition as it should. Good news though, the series has been renewed for a second season and will be released in December this year.
Watch on: Hulu
2. Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor), To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Now we want a boyfriend who’ll drive across town to buy us Yakult. Photo: Vox.com
Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Netflix’s latest rom-com hit that’s been raved about worldwide, that had a strong, thoughtful lead character in Lara Jean (played by Vietnamese-American Lana Condor), and made Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) every woman’s dream man.
Based on Jenny Han’s book of the same name, half Korean, half American Lara Jean finds herself in a bit of a mess when five love letters are mailed out to her old crushes – including her sister’s boyfriend. These love letters are her way of releasing her feelings for the boys, locked away in a hatbox, never to see the light of day.
When they’re mailed out and her sister’s now ex-boyfriend realises how she felt, what’s a girl to do except pretend like the hottest guy in school is her boyfriend?
It sounds cliche (hey, it’s a rom com) but the way Lara Jean’s mixed heritage and relationships with everyone in her life are showcased are well thought-out and tasteful. The men are respectful (we loved how Peter K called out how racist Sixteen Candles’ Long Duk Dong was) and Lara Jean grows from being a shy wallflower, to someone who actively takes control of her life. While the characters are teenagers, they obviously resonate with audiences of all ages judging by the overwhelmingly positive reception the film has received.
Watch on: Netflix
READ MORE: HOT ASIAN FACES ON THE SMALL SCREEN
3. Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), Marvel’s Iron Fist
Is Colleen the new Iron Fist? Photo: Bustle
Another Marvel heroine, martial-arts master and definitely not a damsel in distress is Colleen Wing (portrayed by half-Singaporean, English actress Jessica Henwick of Game of Thrones fame).
Descended from a family of samurai and running her own dojo for underprivileged children in New York, Colleen initially turns down Danny Rand (the Iron Fist) when he applies to work at her dojo, but as fate and the Marvel comic gods would have it, they get thrown together to fight against the Hand and protect New York.
While Danny may be the star, we preferred it when she teamed up with another bad-ass babe, police detective Misty Knight, with their chemistry outshining many other pairings in the series.
While the series initially received negative reviews for its ‘white saviour’ casting of Finn Jones as Danny Rand, Henwick’s performance was praised and she has gone on to become a major character in season 2 (which finished airing in September).
Watch on: Netflix