Jake Choi is an actor, activist, and advocate who is out to prove that Asian men can be sexy and desirable as well! Too bad he is straight, darn it! But he has gained a huge following for his portrayal of a gay New York stylist in film Front Cover.
He recently spoke to Movie Pilot about the challenges of changing the mindset of mainstream culture that Asians can be sexy saying
I do see progress for Asians and POC (people of color) in Hollywood but it’s too slow in my opinion. TV seems to be the more progressive platform — expectedly — than film, but the number of Asian leads in film and TV doesn’t properly represent the actual Asian demographic in the country. Or, for all POC for that matter. I hear my white guy actor friends tell me that they don’t get as many auditions, that their agents tell them that “ethnic” is the trend or “it’s in.” First of all, that’s racist as fuck. POC are not some trend or a quota you meet. I hate when white people call us “ethnic” — stop using that fucking word. Also, POC might be getting into the rooms for auditions, but who do they cast usually for those same roles? I’ll bet it’s a white man over a POC. Usually some dude with a name, so it really isn’t our fault white guys aren’t getting auditions. Maybe their reps should do better. It’s just causing a rift between white guys who are struggling to get seen and POC actors.
Hollywood continues to whitewash because Hollywood is run by white people, mainly white men. They want to keep their power and dominance over the masses by using the strongest tool there is: media. They’re scared of giving that up. Which, is why they use that excuse of casting white leads because it’ll make more money for the studio/network even though they know damn well that’s not true. If they were really adventurous and courageous, they would give opportunities to actors of color to lead huge blockbuster movies. And, not just once or twice, then defer back to white actors. Give us the chance to fail and succeed numerous times like you do with white male actors. I doubt it though.
But what will it take to desexualize Asian men?
Oh, I think it occurs for many different reasons. One is going back to the fear of white men scared of giving up their privilege and power. Also, white male insecurity/sexual insecurity. If you have Asian men believe they are what you want them to believe, which is not desirable, not masculine, invisible, etc., it’s easier to control them. We can change it by not believing these harmful tropes and stereotypes to begin with.
Hollywood can produce and help finance stories with Asian male leads who are three-dimensional characters. Actually cast asian men in non-stereotypical roles as the leads of shows and films. Hire Asian writers, directors, producers and give them creative control for these big budget shows and films. I mean, [there are] so many ways to help change the way we are portrayed.
Also, Asian men shouldn’t act hyper-masculine and be misogynistic to compensate for their insecurities, and to change how they are viewed from these harmful stereotypes. That’s something important to note because Asian men do that, a lot.
To read the full interview go to The Desexualization Of Asian Men, And Diversifying Hollywood