Throughout the years, Asian-American actors have struggled to fight past typical Asian stereotypes in the TV/Film industry. Even in today’s most popular television shows, the Asian American community continues to suffer under racial stereotypes usually portraying the average Asian male to be weak and timid. But this series of articles is meant to highlight actors who have been able to defy the stereotypes in their workplace.
John Cho has become one of today’s most prominent Asian American actors. He has appeared in a number of both television shows and movies since 1997. Some of his most successful films include Star Trek, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and To Be Takei.
Throughout his career, Cho had always made a point of trying out for roles that didn’t fall into the parameters of an Asian stereotype. He even denied doing an accent in the kid’s comedy Big Fat Liar because he didn’t want kids to be laughing at the accent.
Cho has had a variety of roles, from being the “MILF Guy” in American Pie to Mr. Sulu in Star Trek. During his role as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, he portrayed confidence and skill as one of the most iconic Asian character in television popularized by George Takei.
But his most recent and probably most revolutionary role as Henry in the new ABC show, Selfie. In this show, Cho plays the romantic lead to a young professional woman who is trying to find herself in a modern My Fair Lady. This will make John Cho the first Asian American actor to receive a lead romantic role in television. So far the show has made no references to race and even if the show does not continue (which it may not), simply being casted as the romantic lead is a great accomplishment!
As an Asian American actor, John Cho has achieved success both in Hollywood, and defying stereotypes.