Brenda Song has been acting in television and films since she was a young girl. Her early career included roles in such popular films as Stuck In the Suburbs, College Road Trip and The Social Network. But her most notable role was as London Tipton on the popular Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Her career making role as a ditsy hotel heiress was a fan favorite.
However, in a new in-depth interview with Teen Vogue, Brenda recalled that when it came time for the hit 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians to audition Hollywood's best and brightest Asian-American actors, she was denied an opportunity for an incredibly demeaning reason.
"To be just a part of that conversation, I was just happy with that," she recalled of fans throwing her name in the ring for consideration. "It's way past the time that this should have been happening. I was like, even though London Tipton lived over 15 years ago, we're fine with it."
Although the internet was interested in seeing the actress in the role, the powers that be had a different idea. "A lot of people don't know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever," she explained to the publication.
"Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words. It broke my heart," she revealed. "I said, ‘This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can't even audition for it? I've auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you're not going to let me do it? You're going to fault me for having worked my whole life?' I was like, ‘Where do I fit?'"
After more than a decade in the business, Brenda took some time off to travel and process, which in turn helped her come back with an even greater fire and passion for her work. "I got myself together and said, ‘Brenda, there is only one you, and you can't change who you are. You can't change your past.' I am so grateful for every job that I've done," she shared. "All I can do is continue to put good auditions out there, do the best that I can—that's all I can ask for."
She's done exactly what she set out to do. Soon after her mini-break, she got booked for a role in Netflix's thriller Secret Obsession, and currently stars in the Hulu series Dollface alongside Kat Dennings and Shay Mitchell.
At the end of the day, Hollywood learned a very important lesson: never underestimate Brenda Song.