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I know there were some Asian Americans who had issues with MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD star Chloe Bennet (who is hapa) when she had talked about how changing her name from Chloe Wang to the more Anglo-sounding Bennet helped get her more work in Hollywood. If you were one of those people, Bennet’s recent interview with the Daily Beast should shed light on her reasons for that decision:

“Oh, the first audition I went on after I changed my name, I got booked,” Bennet tells The Daily Beast, in an interview timed to Marvel’s Women of Power month. “So that’s a pretty clear little snippet of how Hollywood works.”

That audition was for the role of Hailey, an office assistant on ABC’s Nashville. That same year, Bennet was cast as the lead in Marvel’s first cinematic universe TV show, the Joss Whedon-created SHIELD. Over three seasons, Skye, a headstrong young “hacktivist” who gets recruited by SHIELD and eventually discovers her real identity, the half-Inhuman Daisy Johnson (aka Quake), has evolved into what is still a rarity on TV: a superhero who happens to be both female and Asian-American.

“I wish people talked about that more,” Bennet says. “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but when Supergirl came out, people were like, ‘This is the only superhero on TV that’s a female!’ And I was like, ‘Hold on! I’m pretty sure Daisy’s been here.’ And I also happen to be half-Chinese and I’m so proud of that.”

“I want to be clear because some of my Asian-American fans seem to think I did that [changed last names] because I didn’t want to known as Chinese, but it’s so the opposite,” she adds. “I just wanted to be known as me and let my personality define who I was, rather than my ethnicity.”

The more I’ve learned about Bennet, the more I’ve admired her out-spokenness. She’s always been honest and proud about her Asian American heritage (she took the name “Bennet” for her Chinese father) and she isn’t shy about telling it like it is—as when she’s asked about the casting of a non-Asian actor for the lead role in Marvel’s Netflix series IRON FIST:

“I actually saw that [casting] news and I can’t lie, I was a little [disappointed],” she says, before breaking into laughter again. “I love Marvel, but…”

“I know they want to stay true to their characters but, you know, every female character in Marvel comics also has, like, triple-Z-sized boobs,” she reasons. “So if they cast actors based on the way characters look on the page, I don’t think even Scarlett Johansson—well, maybe Scarlett Johansson—would be in the movies.”

To read the rest of the interview, go to The Daily Beast: Agents of SHIELD’s Chloe Bennet: Why I Stopped Using My Chinese Last Name

1 Comments

  1. I hope you are also proud of your American half.