"I looked at Caucasian people and I just thought that I was them"
Keiko Agena has discussed representation and admitted that she thought she was Caucasian when she was growing up.
Best known for her her role in Gilmore Girls, where she played Lane Kim, best friend of Rory Gilmore, Agena was one of the only young Asian-American characters on TV in 2000.
17 years later, Asian American representation in Hollywood is still a hot topic.
Speaking at the second annual Gilmore Girls Fan Fest in Kent, Connecticut on 21 October, Agena discussed representation and her Asian American experience.
Buzzfeed reports that when asked if the Gilmore Girls actress looked up to Asian-Americans on TV growing up, Agena admitted, “when I grew up, I looked at Caucasian people and I just thought that I was them, I think.”
“I just related to their stories and they were my heroes because I didn’t have that, and I didn’t know that I missed it.”
However, Agena added that she can see changes occurring in the industry. “I didn’t understand that that was a thing until now because things are changing. We get very excited when we see people of color, and especially Asian-Americans, onscreen.”
“It is very moving and I think it’s events like this and it’s comments like that that really bring home what it means, and I have a different appreciation of that now because of this [festival] and because of you making that comment.”
Although notable for its Asian representation, Agena said that because not many people watched Gilmore Girls at the time, the show’s recognition for diversity was a “slow burn”.
“For me, I sort of watched it grow in tiny little steps, and so I’m grateful to be a little part of the progression,” she said.