"To All the Boys I've Loved Before" actress Lana Condor revealed that she was once instructed to "be more like Hello Kitty" while auditioning for an undisclosed project — an incident, she said, further exemplifies the importance of Asian-American representation in the entertainment industry.
“What the f-ck does that mean?" Condor told Teen Vogue upon recalling the incident. "That's so insanely ignorant and racist."
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The Vietnamese-American actress told Variety in a subsequent interview that instead of accepting the remarks, she used the interaction as an opportunity to educate the casting director by telling her she didn't understand what the direction meant.
“You kind of have to call that out,” Condor told Variety. “Also, Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth. As a woman, I’m like, ‘One, you want me to be more like Hello Kitty, but she doesn’t have a voice.’ That’s so insulting to me.”
Condor has been lauded for her portrayal of Lara Jean, a teenager of mixed Korean American descent, in the film adaptation of Jenny Han's bestselling young adult novel "To All the Boys I've Loved Before." The 22-year-old will reprise the role in an upcoming sequel, "P.S. I Still Love You," which is slated for a Feb. 12 release on Netflix. She will also star in a female buddy comedy alongside Brianna Hildebrand called "Girls Night," which is scheduled to premiere later this year.
Condor, who was born in Can Tho, Vietnam, has long been candid about the discrimination she's faced as an Asian-American actress and as an adoptee.
Last year, she told Who What Wear that she often deals with criticism that she's not "Asian enough" because she was raised with white parents.
“I’m 100 percent Asian, and I’m also 100 percent American,” she said. “My Asian American experience is different from someone else’s Asian American experience, and that’s okay."