Actors share experiences of being leading Asian American entertainers in the LGBTQ community
IN the March 2019 issue that looks at the increasing representation of Asian Americans in the LGBTQ community, gracing the cover of leading LGBTQ magazine Advocate are Fil-Am actors Nico Santos and Vincent Rodriguez III who shared with readers their experiences of being gay, Fil-Am actors in Hollywood.
Santos — who plays the flamboyant undocumented Fil-Am sales associate Mateo Liwanag in the NBC comedy “Superstore” and played the even more flamboyant Oliver T’sien in the highly raved about film “Crazy Rich Asians” — shared in his individual cover, his experience of being not only a minority, but a gay one in the world of mainstream entertainment.
“We talk about representation all the time,” said Santos, who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was sixteen. “That’s like such a buzzword in Hollywood right now, but really, it is—as somebody who’s like a double minority, as somebody who is queer and Brown—it’s important to bring that to the forefront.”
He continued, “My Browness is something that I can’t hide. There are some straight-acting or straight-passing queer people out there, but I’m not one of them. This is something I would rather not have to hide,” he added.
Rodriguez similarly talked about being a double minority, and expanded on what it personally meant to be able to tell the Fil-Am story on television.
Rodriguez’s Fil-Am character of Josh Chan on the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has a backstory that includes being a devoted Catholic, being raised by a tight-knit family, and even living in the densely Filipino-populated city of West Covina, California — experiences familiar to many Fil-Ams.
“To represent my community as a Filipino man, as a young leading man, a gay man, and [asking] what if I could be there and be myself?” he recalled in his interview with the Advocate. “[To] tell stories and show the world that Filipinos can be leading men too.”
Playing the role of the straight ex-boyfriend of the show’s main character, Rodriguez also shared of how he’s been focused on exploring new possibilities in acting including in stunts and actions.
“I’m preparing for action roles. I know I’m an Asian dude, but now that I think [that] we’re more likely to see Asian leading men, I think we’re going to see new stories being told that are not what we’re used to, in terms of the action genre,” said Rodriguez.
Also joining Santos and Rodriguez on the cover is Jake Choi of “Single Parents.”