Image Source: PHOTOGRAPHED BY DJENEBA ADUAYOM
When it comes to issues that are important to her, like stopping violence against the Asian community, To All the Boys I've Loved Before actress Lana Condor will not stay silent. "There's no point in having a platform unless you use it to stand up for your beliefs," the 24-year-old said for Shape's Women in Hollywood issue, which is available for sale starting 13 Aug. "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."
Despite a difficult year that saw a rise in anti-Asian hate, Lana is still hopeful about the future. "It's been a traumatising and emotionally challenging year," she explained. "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."
"You keep going or you stop. To me, stopping is not an option."
Lana is actively working towards this change by using her platform to spread awareness about the hate she and others in her community have experienced. "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," she added. "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."
She credits To All the Boys I've Loved Before with giving her a platform and allowing her to feel seen. "It was something I'd never seen come across my desk — a rom-com with an Asian American actress as the lead," she shared. "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." Aware of the struggle for representation in Hollywood, Lana is more careful about the roles she takes on. "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."