Eye Candy : Gemma Chan for Allure

Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians

Gemma Chan shines in a range of colorful makeup looks on the cover and pages of Allure magazine. In the accompanying interview, the radiant actress who appeared in last year's breakout hit Crazy Rich Asians as well as Captain Marvel spoke about Asian representation in Hollywood after facing backlash for her role as a white historical figure in Mary Queen Of Scots. Gemma who is British born of Chinese ethnicity questioned “Why are actors of color, who have fewer opportunities anyway, only allowed to play their own race?” She raises a valid point in relation to the long history of white washing  in Hollywood, y'know like when Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton all deigned to portray characters who were supposed to be ethnically Asian.

So while the success of Crazy Rich Asians was a watershed moment, the Western entertainment industry still has a long way to go when it comes to Asian representation. A big part of the problem is how it continues to view Asians as a whole as a monolith. Each Asian ethnic group has it's own unique culture and history which informs its identity. They are NOT interchangeable and they DON'T look alike. Of course part of the problem stems from Asian American actors who are fighting for a dearth of quality roles for Asians that it doesn't matter if they are racially appropriate. It may not seem like a big deal but it matters to those of us whose identity is tied into our heritage and culture. Ethnicity and nationality are two distinctly different things. We don't want to see a Japanese actor playing a Chinese character and mangling the Mandarin/Cantonese language or the other way around. It's like whitewashing to a lesser degree where they just go it doesn't matter, any Asian will do. But it does because that's not proper representation and it's offensive. This is why I can't really get behind many Asian American actors. Many of them merely look Asian but may otherwise just be white because they don't care to know Asian culture, history or languages. You have the Lucy Lius who resent being Asian and the Ken Jeongs who willingly continue to perpetuate the negative stereotype of Asian males for cheap laughs.

Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians

Gemma Chan seems to have a good understanding of the responsibility that comes along with her visibility. She doesn't sidestep her heritage and made a point of using the Crazy Rich Asians press tour to highlight Asian design talent with her fashions. And she has become more mindful when it comes to choices in her work. “There is a certain pressure and added scrutiny to what roles you take going forward. And actually, I'm okay with that. Now, when I read a script, I'm not just looking at, ‘Oh, is it an interesting character for me to play? Is that gonna be a challenge?’ I am thinking about, ‘What is that saying? What am I putting out into the world? What is it adding to the conversation?’ 

I read that the producers for Crazy Rich Asians originally asked Gemma to read for the role of Rachel. Even though she would've been a better visual match for Nicholas Golding who played Nick and I'm no fan of the actress who played Rachel, I'm so glad Gemma ended up playing Astrid since she was my favorite character from the books and she nailed the portrayal.

Allure April 2019 // Photography: Paola Kudacki // Styling: Karen Kaiser // Make-Up: James Kaliardos
Hair: Kevin Ryan // Manicure: Casey Herman  // Set Design: Juliet Jernigan  // Production: Heather Robbins

Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians
Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians
Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians
Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians
Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians
Gemma Chan, Gemma Chan Allure April 2019, Gemma Chan 2019, Gemma Chan Crazy Rich Asians


Doctor Anne said...

I get your point, but at the same time: Men play women and vice versa, that is part of the acting, so I don't get why a Japanese person shouldn't play a Chines character. Yes, there is a distinct difference in the way they look, but International acting about embodying something that you are actually not? I am aware that I speak from the perspective of someone that is very well represented on TV, so I probably don't get the true point, but while I am very aware of the discrimination happening, I don't think she should have to defend herself for playing a white character.

Ivana Split said...

She truly is a beauty. Representation both in movies and books can be a complex subject, sometimes artistic liberties make sense, and sometimes they don't. There is clearly much room for improvement, especially in Hollywood. There are still no American Indians or films in Hollywood. One of the reasons I don't want to see their films anymore.

I'm horrified that books and movies like Memories of a Geisha have so many fans. The author told a book of lies that endangered the life of poor geisha whom he interviewed (she received death treats). Not only is the book complete fabrication, it's also racist and insulting to Japanese culture in general. Many Asian woman have been sexually assaulted because such books and movies that portray them as exotic prostitutes. So, I'd say that's a very serious problem! We speak of artistic liberties but sometimes they are just a mask for racism.

I heard the author's family owns The New York Times, but I still don't see how people can't see through it. Chinese actresses should have passed on that opportunity, I'm surprised that any of them wanted to have anything to do with Memoirs of a Geisha, let alone act in that film. I haven't actually seen the film but I read the book years ago and I've been warning everyone against it ever since. This book is the most popular historical piece of fiction on a American reading site goodreads. Seeing that, I'm tempted to quit that site.

Blackswan said...

Oh yes, I remember her from the movie! Such a beauty! xoxo

Emmylou said...

Hear hear, Rowena! Despite all the progress we've seen lately in Hollywood roles for Asians, we still have a long way to go. And I love Gemma in Captain Marvel even if she was a villain. Honestly, she could've played Captain Marvel IMO.
And yeah....Lucy Liu...It was only recently she only really acknowledged she's Asian.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

I think Emma, ScarJo and Tilda should not have been in those roles. I think if there are actors who represent those ethnicities, then they should have been the ones playing those roles. I feel that way across the board - same for gay actors and actors with disabilities. I haven't seen CRA yet, but I do remember her from Captain Marvel. She's a stunner.

new post: http://www.ohtobeamuse.com/2019/04/smart-spring-cleaning-samsung-powerbot.html

Dressed With Soul said...

I'm impressed by her beauty and now you sensitised me how challenging it obviously is to be an actor with Asian appearance. But honestly I have the same question as Anne in the first comment and agree to her thoughts.
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

Lilly said...

Such deep thoughts, I enjoy reading how you think about this topic!
Would love to read similar articles to this from you!

The pictures of her are definitely stunning!

I wish you a sunny day,

Lilly from Fetching

"THESE 5 PODCASTS CHANGE YOUR LIFE!" Find out which podcasts I am talking about!

Sakuranko said...

Oh very gorgeous photos!
Amazing style

Jo said...

Oh, I love Gemma! Not only is she beautiful but she is incredibly smart. I'm so happy she chose the role of "Astrid" since she is nothing close to a plain jane "Rachel." Beautiful editorials!

xo Jo


Evi Erlinda said...

so fantastic !!!

Pilar said...

Gemma Chan looks amazing in this editorial!

Jackie Harrison said...

She looks absolutely beautiful.

ALLIE NYC said...

First I want to say this editorial is stunning I am going to have to pick this up, so sad this art form is going away (along with blogs) for IG ugh.

That aside we still have a LONG way to go with the representation of Asian cultures in the west. Yes I get that actors play different heritages then their own, this happens all the time with people of different European heritage, though this is not the same as playing someone of a different race.

Also we are still in our infancy of Asian representation in the film and TV industry so I think in this moment when ever possible it is best to have Asian people play roles of their heritage. This may not always be doable but I think filmmakers and producers should try when ever possible

Allie of

Jenny said...

Gemma Chan is so stunning and I think she was perfect for Astrid's character in Crazy Rich Asians, she's too pretty and elegant to play Rachel imo. I had no idea she played a white character in Mary Queen of Scots, but I can see why there was backlash, though I'm not sure how I feel about it. To be fair there was a ton of criticism when Stone, Johansson, and Swinton played Asian roles as well, and to me the latter backlash is definitely justified because there are already so few roles for Asians, and they had to give it to white actresses *rolls eyes*.

As for Asian actors playing their own ethnicity, I guess I don't feel as strongly about that yet. It would be ideal for sure, but personally I'd rather see a talented (not just popular!!) Asian actor/actress play whatever role as long as they've taken the time to understand the character's cultural background and portray them well. It could be a good learning experience for the actor at the same time! As for language butchering, my ears bled listening to Candace Wu's broken Chinese in CRA despite her being Chinese. I actually like the actress, but with the way she spoke, I feel like they could've hired a Korean or Japanese actress and the it would've made very little difference. Just my two cents :)

Geeky Posh

sonia // daring coco said...

She is so beautiful. I adore these shots. I hadn't heard about the backlash over her Mary Queen of Scots. It's crazy how and what people become enraged over these days. And I'm not talking just about acting roles. It's a damn shame there are not enough opportunities out there. To be honest, it is the West's loss. Having been introduced to Korean films and shows has really opened my eyes and I've had the privilege to watch some amazing tales and incredible acting. It has changed the way I watch TV now. And I find myself needing more substance with shows. BTW I finished Encounter. It was such a beautiful story. It did take me a while to get through, it felt a little slow but I think that had more to do with the storyline being so packed and progressive. Here's hoping for more male roles that move away from that cold and disinterested stereotype!


Midnight Cowgirl said...

She is fabulous!

little luxury list said...

She seems like such a thoughtful individual. I've seen a few of her interviews and they similarly speak of how she wants to create and put forth a positive and meaningful message.
It would be ideal to have a world one day where a number of roles are blind to ethnicity. In the meantime, yes, please find an actor from that demographic to represent it!

R's Rue said...

Love Gemma