“I resent that white men never get asked, ‘What is it like being a white man in movies?'”
If you ever get the (enviable) opportunity to talk to Ali Wong, a comedian who wears many hats from movie producer to actor, she’d appreciate it if you didn’t ask her about her race or gender.
"Something I always get asked is: ‘What is it like being an Asian American woman in Hollywood?’ I hate this question almost as much as I hate, ‘What is it like being a female in comedy?’ Nobody wants his or her identity and defining characteristics reduced to just race and gender, and I resent that white men never get asked, ‘What is it like being a white man in movies?’," Wong writes in an excerpt published by Elle from her upcoming book "Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life".
"What disappoints me even more is that the people asking are always Asian American," the "Always Be My Maybe" star continued. "It’s like they want to hear a titillating story about how a high-powered Hollywood executive sat me down in his office and said, ‘Look, we love you, Ali. In fact…we love you long time!’ And then this same exec proceeded to throw rice on my face while forcing me to watch Mickey Rooney’s scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s on a loop, before kicking me out of his office, screaming, ‘You’ll never make it in the white man’s world, you chinky ho!’"
To illustrate her point, she recounted a particularly cringe-inducing experience with a local reporter with an Asian wife who was way too excited about his connection to her identity.
"[He said] ‘I noticed that food is a huge theme for you. In my wife’s family, food is so important. Lola [this is a Filipino word for ‘grandma,’ which he made sure to over pronounce] always insists that we eat before going out for the afternoon.’ But that’s not necessarily an Asian thing," Wong observed. "To me, it sounded like Grandma was encouraging people to eat lunch. All sorts of people around the world eat lunch. Termites eat lunch. I was excited to talk about my work process, and all he wanted to discuss was how his Filipino mother-in-law made delicious shrimp."
The creative powerhouse would much prefer questions related to her work, writing process, and ability to deal with failure.
Reporters and fans alike, take note!
"Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life", by Ali Wong, will be published on October 15, 2019 by Random House.
Wong can also be seen in the hit rom-com "Always Be My Maybe" — which she co-wrote, stars in and produced alongside Randall Park — on Netflix.
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