For Lana Condor, "stopping is not an option."
Amid the rise in violence nationwide against the Asian community since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Vietnam-born actress, 24, is both processing the pain and pushing forward. "When I speak with other people [in the Asian community], we grieve together, then we pick each other up and tell each other to keep going because that's the only thing to do," she told Shape. "You keep going or you stop." For the To All the Boys I've Loved Before star, it's the former.
Compounding the trauma of hate crimes and violence against AAPI citizens is the lack of awareness in other communities. "I think many people are in denial," she said, "or believe violence against Asians isn't a real thing."
That lack of awareness extended to Condor's inner circle. "Even some of my close friends weren't aware of what was going on," she said.
Although the actress, who was adopted and moved to the U.S. at 4 months old, understands the importance of speaking up, she also advocates for the Asian community through her work in Hollywood.
After all, when she became a household name as Lara Jean Covey in the hit Netflix franchise To All the Boys, the role helped shine a light on how few major roles were available to Asian Americans. "It was something I'd never seen come across my desk," she told the magazine, "a rom-com with an Asian American actress as the lead."
While there were early—and fortunately unsuccessful—attempts to whitewash the role, the character's ethnicity was preserved and the movie was eventually hailed by Netflix as one of its "most viewed original films ever."
Now, the Moonshot actress is using her platform to set an example for fellow Asian actors. "I'm very calculated about the projects I take on now," she said. "I want to continue to show people who look like me that they can do whatever they want to, regardless of what someone might have told them."