I was reading an article about Glee actor DARREN CRISS in Vulture. He was being interviewed on his career as well as his role playing the serial killer Andrew Cunanan in ACS: Versace. Most of the interview was pretty normal and had some interesting facts which I didn’t know about Criss. Actually asides from knowing that he is in Glee, I am not so knowledgeable on him at all. The part of the article which caught my eye was when he talked about his racial identity ( he is hapa – half Filipino and half white) and how he does not really see himself as “Asian American” because he is white passing and he is okay with that as it doesn’t weigh on his conscience (via Vulture):
Yeah, it is, and the harsh truth is like, when else would that be a specific character? And that’s not a bad thing or a good thing. Somebody was talking about Asian-American representation, and he’s like, “I don’t see a lot of stuff for Filipinos specifically,” and I went, “I guess not, but I guess I don’t think about it.” I have the luxury of being half-white and looking more Caucasian, so it doesn’t weigh on my conscience as much, like, “Ugh, why aren’t there more roles?” I think as an actor, you just study and you wanna bring your A game all the time and hopefully it doesn’t even matter.
Has it played a part in casting for you at all?
No. No. I’ve been really happy and really thrilled. I always say one of my favorite things about myself is that I’m half-Filipino but I don’t look like it. It’s always like an ace up my sleeve of like, “Oh really? How nuts.” So it never really has. I just look like a Caucasian guy, which is nice. I’ve got the multiethnic thing going on. People think I’m like Italian or Mediterranean. No, my mom’s very Filipino. I grew up with a Filipino mom. Anybody who’s grown up in that world knows that’s a thing you share.
Did it ever in your life?
No. I suppose I’m very lucky because any people of color, it’s a thing. It’s a thing that is your best asset, and when it doesn’t work, is your greatest enemy. And it’s tough, yeah.
Do you identify as Asian-American?
No. I think that’d be unfair. I think that’d sound like I’m reaching for the minority card on a college application. I think that would be unfair. Yeah, my mom’s Asian-American. She’s from the Philippines and came here and then married a white guy, and here I am. But maybe it’s because of the way I look. Maybe if I looked a little more pan-Asian and I was put in that box then I would be like, “Yeah, I identify as Asian-American,” but maybe because the obstacles that may come up haven’t that I don’t think about it. But that’s a really interesting question. I’ve never thought about that. For better or for worse, I guess not. But I guess I am. What do you think? Am I? On paper I guess I kind of am.
My 2 cents worth? I don’t feel any anger or animosity towards him for not identifying with his Filipino heritage as such because I wonder whether he was included or accepted in Asian circles. Knowing many biracial Asians I hear the story of them being not accepted in both camps (Asian and the white side). Some look more Asian, some look like a complete mix and some like Criss don’t look Asian at all. I consider Criss to be Asian American because I hate the discriminating of “purity”. I guess he knows that him being white passing he has gotten a lot more opportunities than others who are Asian. I do think though he should be more concerned with Asian representation and it is selfish in a way that he doesn’t see it as a major issue.
Images via Vulture
To read the original article, please click on: Darren Criss on Playing Serial Killer Andrew Cunanan in ACS: Versace and Passing As White