Actress Chloe Bennet says changing her previous name from Wang to Bennet allowed her to get more casting tasks in Hollywood. While she have this, she says she hope Asian American women that come after her don’t need to take the same steps to find work.
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Last week Uk actor Ed Skrein, who’s white, made reports for quitting a project where he was cast as an Asian-American figure in the reboot of the comic film Hellboy. Skrein’s decision is the latest addition to a continuing talk about “whitewashing.” People as well as performers have began to issue the casting of white performers as non-white cultural characters.
Skrein’s decision to step back again from the role in Hellboy prompted Chinese-American actress Chloe Bennet, who stars in Marvel’s Real estate agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tv set series to speak away. That’s because Chloe Bennet was born Chloe Wang. She says she improved her name since it was the only way she could improve her job potential customers in Hollywood. However when Bennet praised Ed Skrein on interpersonal media for his decision to step from his role in Hellboy, an individual on Instagram challenged her on the decision to improve her name. Within her response Bennet published:
“Changing my name doesn’t change the fact that my blood vessels is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both North american and Chinese. This means I needed to pay my lease, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn’t cast me with a last name that made them uneasy. I’m doing everything I could with the system I have to make sure no one must change their name again just to get work.”
Bennet spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin about her decision to improve her name, her experience as an Asian American actress in Hollywood and her group Represent. Us. Now., designed for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders that seeks to boost and coordinate the Asian-American community in politics and in the marketing.
[Y]ou know it really was just a really organic thing. An uncomfortable amount of my feedback had to do with the fact that we didn’t look like what they expected me to look like. I put a casting director tell me ‘You’re not quite white enough for the role, but you are not quite Asian enough to discover the best good friend role.’ And I remember genuinely thinking ‘Oh yeah, yeah she’s right.’ Like, I’m not fully white so I couldn’t possibly be the business lead even though there was no restriction on the breakdown of the character declaring that this persona needed to be any ethnicity. Also, when they see Chloe Wang, when you’re new as an actor as well as your agents are trying to put you out for different functions, the casting directors go, ‘No, that’s Acceptable. We won’t take her. We have no idea who that is. We’re not looking for like this because of this role.’
That kind of continuously happened and my dad’s first name is really Bennet. So in Chinese language culture, your father’s name is an extremely big honor therefore it only thought natural to use his first name, therefore i still honor him by doing so.
On if changing titles signify assimilating and accommodating to stereotypes as opposed to fighting it
Component of it probably is, as I said, part of me will feel guilt about this at times, but it’s my quest, it’s what I did and which certain point where you have to learn the game, and I’m doing everything I can with the program I’ve now to make certain that no lady that comes to Hollywood now who’s name is Lee or Wong or Chung or Wang must do this again. It’s really about changing the narrative and changing this content for Asian-American actors.
On the discussion that people can cast any ethnicity in illusion roles
I think there are certain things that lend to authenticity and there are certain stories and tasks that do make sense for many white visitors to be in, in the event that’s the story and if they want to help make the film with true historical correctness. And then there’s 90 percent of assignments where that’s not necessary. I think what’s really dangerous using what, continuously, is happening with Asian-Americans in Hollywood is there’s a narrative that white Hollywood, or maybe any other ethnicity really in Hollywood offers to Asian-Americans that, ‘You’re the butt of the joke.’ They’re identifying that we’re the nerds, that we’re the shy females or that the man that can not be captivating because he’s an Asian man.
When you’re consistently providing a different ethnicity their own narrative without providing them with an opportunity to actually represent themselves or write something that is true to them, then that’s really dangerous. It certainly seeps into the psyche of young Asian-American kids. I know it did for me. I didn’t see anybody that looked like me growing through to TV. I sincerely thought to my center that I would have no chance of being an actor because my dad wasn’t white. The more I became alert to my thinking, a lot more I thought, ‘Oh, it is because I look this way or because I feel this way.’ Part of the reason why I started RUN is because I must say i want to encourage Asian-American teens and kids and anyone really, to start telling their tales because there’s so many unique and interesting and dark and unhappy and funny reviews that haven’t been told because we haven’t received the chance.