turns out asian bae is also woke bae https://t.co/GEEdUG9k7Y— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) April 20, 2020
alexander hodge, who plays "asian bae" andrew on insecure opens up with vulture writer e. alex jung on interracial dating, racial solidarity, growing up mixed, and most importantly, his hair (rip).
on the decision to make andrew american rather than australian: "Andrew has to be American, because Insecure is a love letter to L.A. That’s why everything is shot on location. That’s why the references are so specific. The integrity this show has in terms of representing L.A. [is such that] where Andrew’s from is culturally specific. Andrew is from Gardena, which is a very specific reference to Asian-Americans in Los Angeles, because it’s one of the first places Asians were allowed to buy property in Los Angeles. So it wasn’t just like he was from Silver Lake or West Hollywood. No, he’s from south L.A., because this show represents south L.A. in a way that no other show does."
on the casting being racially conscious: "They did it in a way that was intentional without being exploitative. They were intentional about choosing Asian versus Latinx or white, because they wanted to have the opportunity to explore a certain side of race relations in America. They landed on Asian specifically because of the reality of the relationship between the Asian and black community. And we get into it later in the second half of the season. When a show is being led by a minority community — in this case, this show is created and produced by a team of black women — it inspires a level of thoughtfulness. I understand that somebody who has had similar experiences to me would not take my experiences for granted, and would also not diminish my experiences.
I’m half-Asian, half-white. I had long hair. I wear Vans. I’m dating a black woman. They hired a half-white, half-Asian guy with long hair who wears Dickies and Vans in the writers’ room who’s engaged to a black woman. That’s how specific they were. They got him to write for me."
on cutting his hair: "Well for the record, I didn’t decide....That would be a network by the name of CBS. It was for another job. [Editor’s note: Tommy starring Edie Falco.] I was playing a police officer. They were adamant there were no long-haired police officers, that they weren’t allowed to have hair that touched the collar, and they weren’t allowed to have facial hair. So I ended up agreeing to cut my hair. And I will tell you the week I cut my hair, I saw a fucking NYPD officer with a fucking man bun, and I was livid. I was furious, but I laughed. It was too late. I did it and we’ve got to move on. I’m growing it back out right now. I’m kind of thankful to be in quarantine because I’m in the middle of that awkward regrowth phase. Every time I put on a hat or a beanie, I look like I’ve got a mullet. Every time I take it off, it looks like a mess. For everybody who keeps asking about my hair, let them know I’m trying to grow it back out."
on growing up mixed: "My mother was born and raised in Singapore and my father is Irish, and I was born in Australia. I’m a third-culture kid. Growing up mixed now is different to growing up mixed in the ’80s and ’90s. Now we’re making more room for more ethnic identities, but in the ’90s, you really had to pick. I [went] to Singapore a lot when I was a kid, but I was always the white cousin they had, because culturally, that’s just the way I was. I was the white one. But then to my white family, I’d be the Asian one. Growing up mixed was like you’re never enough of one thing and you’re always too much of the other. I’ve sort of been able to unify my cultures and embrace both sides of me. I view it as a strength now because I get to identify with so many beautiful experiences from two totally different sides of the world."
on the rise of anti-asian racism: "It has always existed, but it feels like we escaped the center of attention for a little while. We stuck to the shadows and skated by while the black community was systemically oppressed and targeted by police. Whereas now we feel like we are being attacked. Maybe for those of us who have never really experienced it personally, now that we’ve experienced it, we can understand how Latinx people who are being oppressed by ICE and immigration and how the black community has been oppressed by police and government. We can begin to be more empathetic towards other communities while asking for more empathy from them.
Have you seen the footage of black people being arrested, being dragged in China, being kicked out of their homes and things like that? It’s difficult to articulate the feeling of, We need help, but also we need to help. We need to do better. I don’t know."