In SHAPE’s Women Run the World issue in collaboration with the SeeHer movement – which aims to accurately portray women in media to raise powerful, truthful visibility – Lana Condor opens up about using her platform to enhance representation for Asian Americans, eliminate hate by speaking out against violent attacks on her community, and how she’s strategically choosing roles that show future generations what’s possible.
On reading the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before script for the first time: “It was something I’d never seen come across my desk—a rom-com with an Asian American actress as the lead,” she says. “I remember sitting in the car before my audition thinking, I have to get this.” “The greatest blessing is that it made [Asian] people feel represented. They come up to me and tell me how watching the movie made them feel seen and not alone.” “I’m very calculated about the projects I take on now. I want to continue to show people who look like me that they can do whatever they want to, regardless of what someone might have told them.”
On how awareness is everything: “I think many people are in denial or believe violence against Asians isn’t a real thing. Even some of my close friends weren’t aware what was going on. I needed to let people know what was happening. Speaking up is important. It’s easy to be a bystander, but you could save a life if you stand up for someone.”
On using her platform to stand up and speak up: “There’s no point in having a platform unless you use it to stand up for your beliefs.” “When I speak with other people [in the Asian community], we grieve together, then we pick each other up and tell each other to keep going, because that’s the only thing to do. You keep going or you stop. To me, stopping is not an option.”
On why she’s hopeful about the future: “It’s been a traumatizing and emotionally challenging year. But we have to stay strong and be hopeful about the future. Things are changing. My demographic is very loud, opinionated, and passionate. I feel a lot of positivity in that.”
The September issue of Shape magazine is available for purchase on August 13.
[Photo Credit: Djeneba Aduayom for Shape magazine]
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