Arden Cho is finding the power in saying no.
The Teen Wolf alum confirmed she turned down the opportunity to reprise her role as Kira in the upcoming Paramount+ revival movie, empowered to make the decision after hearing from others that she was paid half of what her female co-stars were earning per episode. "I think I was actually offered even less," she told The Cut in a new interview, adding that she didn't leak the story. "I probably would've never shared it."
She played Kira, a Thunder Kitsune, in seasons three through five until she was abruptly cut from the show in 2016.
As for how she discovered this inequity, Arden declined to share, adding that she does "appreciate artists who are a little bit more transparent because they realize that we're all important."
E! News reached out to MTV and Paramount+ for comment and didn't hear back.
Now that she's in a better position—her career is thriving—Arden feels comfortable walking away from the film, which will see a majority of the cast (except for Dylan O'Brien) reunite for the first time since the show wrapped in September 2017. "I wasn't saying ‘no' necessarily for me or because I was angry," she explained. "I was saying ‘no' because I hope that there will be more equality in the future."
She isn't the only Asian American actor who has experienced inequality. As she told The Cut, "I could probably, off the top of my head, think of over 10 Asian American actors I know who were paid significantly less than their counterparts."
Hopefully that's in the past. Today, there's an increased push for diversity in the film and TV industry as studios recognize the power of representation. Films like Everything Everywhere All at Once and Crazy Rich Asians have put the AAPI community on the map, according to the former's star Michelle Yeoh. "Doors have opened much wider," Michelle recently told NBC News. "This is the first time in many years, apart from the movies that I made in Asia, that I had the lead role."
Like Michelle, she thought she'd only find success in foreign countries. At one point, as she told The Cut, she remembered being told, "If you want to be the lead, go to your country. Go be the lead where you look like the lead."
Now, she will be leading the forthcoming Netflix series, Partner Track, in which she'll play lawyer Ingrid Yun. The role, she said, is "something I never imagined would happen in my career."
As for Teen Wolf, she has no bitter feelings. "When I meet fellow friends who enjoyed my time on the show and they enjoyed Kira," she shared, "I'm happy because something good came out of it."