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35 Actors That Made People Say, "FINALLY, Someone Who Looks Like Me!"

"It's very inspiring to hear others' stories and the different ways we relate to seeing others on screen."

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which Asian actors and characters made them feel seen on-screen. Here are some of their favorites:


1. Brenda Song

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"I'm a Thai-American animator. I literally burst into tears when I found out Brenda Song was voicing the main character of Disney's Amphibia. Brenda was the only Thai-American actress I knew as a kid. Now that she voices a dark-skinned, Thai-American girl LEAD, I feel like my motivation as an animator has reached full circle." —mrbuzzfeedplsletmein

2. Hasan Minhaj

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"As an Indian, I never even got what the big deal was with seeing someone like yourself represented on TV. But now that we have him, holy shit it's awesome! Dude is straight up amazing and I love how he so seamlessly incorporates Indian cultural references into his material, in a way that is palatable to non-Indian audiences as well. He's such a breath of fresh air. Love him!" —anishak3

3. Fresh Off the Boat cast

Bob D'Amico / ABC

"The cast of Fresh Off the Boat made me feel more seen than I expected. Even though I’m Filipino-American and wish that there more Filipino actors on the big screen, Fresh Off the Boat reminds me of my own experience as an Asian-American growing up in an immigrant family." —theniceslytherin

4. Mindy Kaling

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"From her days writing and acting on The Office, to her books, her namesake show, and even her social media posts, Mindy has taught me that I can be brown, thick, Indian, American, intelligent, funny, goofy, savage, and most importantly, UNAPOLOGETIC, about all the components that make up ME!" —devikaj

5. Riz Ahmed

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"Riz Ahmed for sure! Growing up, there wasn't much (if any) Pakistani Muslim representation on TV that wasn’t stereotyped. It makes me happy seeing some representation out there for us Pakistanis that aren’t in the forms of terrorists. If I saw more representation on TV growing up, it would've made me really happy."


6. Ali Wong

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"When she talks about anything it’s like she’s talking about my life, but especially being cheap and keeping everything. As the child of a Chinese immigrant, I felt so different from everyone in my predominantly white town. I used to be so embarrassed to bring people to my house because of the clutter of stuff my mom would keep in the house, but I finally felt SEEN when I watched Baby Cobra. Even my white husband watched it and said, “Holy shit, I think I get why we have a thousand empty yogurt containers now.” —auroraleigh

7. Jacob Batalon

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"Jacob Batalon playing Spider-Man's BFF was freaking goals! I joke around with my friends and call him kuya, which means "brother" in Filipino, when referring to him." —shawolmblft

8. Sandra Oh

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"Seeing Sandra Oh in Killing Eve as a character whose ethnicity isn’t important was a huge deal. She was selected to play Eve because she was a talented actress, not because of her ethnicity." —julias4acce67ce

9. Jameela Jamil

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

"She is one of the first Pakistani actresses I saw on Hollywood TV. Her role on The Good Place was phenomenal and really inspiring. I know if I saw an actress like her on TV as a child I would have felt so happy. Representation really matters!" —princessminion555

10. Crazy Rich Asians cast

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"Constance Wu, Henry Golding, and the rest of the Crazy Rich Asians cast. It felt wonderful to see an Asian-American female lead who was strong and well-spoken. It was also great seeing a sexy Asian man play a main love interest. You feel seen when you see Asians play roles beyond the stereotypes of what we are always portrayed in media." —rebeccamk

11. Kumail Nanjiani

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"Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick. That's how I discovered him actually. Finding out that he's also a Pakistani from Karachi (like me) was a very pleasant surprise. To see him as a lead in a romantic comedy was even better. It's just wonderful to see him work his magic." —mariajamal974

12. Lucy Liu

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"Lucy Liu was a powerhouse in the '90s and early '00s while I was growing up. She showed me what beautiful, powerful and fierce Asian women could be!"


13. Steven Yeun

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"Steven Yeun as Glenn from The Walking Dead. It felt like the first time an Asian character was given a spotlight that didn’t focus mostly on his race, but rather his personality and character development." —kathyl45b3d6c50

14. Lana Condor

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"Lana Condor’s Lara Jean and her family in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before really made me emotional. I’m an adopted Korean woman in my 30s who had lost her adoptive mother a few years back, and it was the first time I saw a mixed race family that looked similar to mine in a movie. I really felt represented as I watched Lara Jean stumble through her late teens while also dealing with not having her mother around to talk to. I saw a lot of myself in her and loved how her family was represented as...normal, for lack of a better word. No Asian stereotypes. No talk about an Asian parent vs. an American parent. They were just a family." —emvision

15. Vincent Rodriguez III

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"Vincent Rodriguez as Josh on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I’ve literally never seen a Filipino actor on TV whose character is actually Filipino. Only Filipinos cast as Latinos or Koreans. It was a happy reminder for people that we exist and that our culture is HUGE." —lauracorinas

16. Michelle Yeoh

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"I came of age in the '90s, which means the actress I looked up to was Michelle Yeoh. Michelle Yeoh was the action superstar we all needed. When Jackie Chan started breaking in stateside with Rumble in the Bronx I started watching his older movies and discovered Michelle Yeoh in Supercop, as a Bond Girl in Tomorrow Never Dies, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The strength, grace, and heartbreak was astounding. I'm grateful for her paving the way for this new wave of Asian actresses who get to play more than just "strong female characters" but complex and flawed people who inspire others." —tkgm

17. Benedict Wong

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"Benedict Wong is British and damn proud! Granted, he's a Mancunian with Chinese ancestry and I'm a Londoner with Japanese/white ancestry, but he's British. That was the main thing in an era where someone like him was a rarity in British/American TV and films (it was much more common to see British actors of South Asian or Afro-Caribbean ancestry)." —kittykay

18. Parminder Nagra

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"Parminder Nagra really made me feel seen as a South Asian in Bend it Like Beckham." —chandnip4dbe3b052

19. Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen

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"Seeing Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen as Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a really tremendous moment for my sister and I. Chirrut was impish and satirical, adding dimension to a profile that could have easily played out as the wise, sensei-type. He was perfectly balanced by his counterpart Baze, who was so badass and stoic. It was honestly just so surprising to see two killer Asian men playing such major roles in a legendary franchise. My sister and I walked out of that theater with unexpected tears in our eyes. We just felt really seen that day." —m_sam

20. Cassie Steele

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"I used to watch Degrassi every day when I came home from school and I was so invested in Manny Santos, because she was a regular Filipina, just like me. It made me happy seeing her being portrayed as Filipina, instead of a Latina like many movies make Filipino actors do." —princxssdancingsxnshine

21. Chloe Bennett

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"Chloe Bennet is best known for playing Daisy Johnson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She's of mixed Chinese and white heritage, speaks proudly about her heritage, while at the same time clearly naming the difficulties of being mixed race." —tkgm

22. Taika Waititi

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"I first felt seen when I saw all the Māori and Pasifika people Taika Waititi had cast in Thor: Ragnarok, namely hearing that classic Māori accent when Korg started speaking made me so happy." —morganthepan

23. Lea Salonga

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"Lea has always been a role model. As an aspiring Filipino performer, Lea means so much to me! She supplied the singing voice for two Disney princesses (Jasmine AND Mulan). How amazing is that?!" —beans1606

24. Deepika Padukone

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"Deepika Padukone for flawlessly integrating herself into various cultures and holding herself with a confidence that's simply astonishing." —tuligho

25. Naomi Scott

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"For me, it has to be Naomi Scott. She’s British-Indian, from Gujarat, like me. I watched her on Disney channel and I watched her in Aladdin — she makes me feel so proud to be Gujarati." —mayaaax

26. Iko Uwais

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"I feel like he's the only Indonesian who's made it big so far. The fact that he's a badass martial artist makes him cooler to represent my country!" —chortlingchode

27. Tala Ashe

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"Tala Ashe as Zari in Legends of Tomorrow. As a Muslim woman, she was the only character I've seen being more than just a Muslim for namesake on TV. Zari mentions she is fasting and doesn't eat pork. She's so relatable to me. I was so surprised when I saw her on screen. I never thought Muslim women would be portrayed practicing their faith so significantly on screen." —thehoodedface

28. Cassie

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"Cassie! I remember seeing this mixed-race Filipina woman singing and dancing in the 'Me & U' music video on TV, and being so excited cause she looked like me. When I found out she was half, I was so excited and felt so proud!" —lex_nic

29. Conrad Ricamora

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"Conrad Ricamora as Oliver from How to Get Away With Murder. Being a gay, Asian male I’ve never really saw the prospect of marriage or having my family attend my wedding, until I saw the marriage scene between Connor and Oliver. That's when I realized that I want and could have it all." —tommya4d587f4d7

30. Kristin Kreuk

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"Im half-Chinese, so it’s great to see other hapa kids out there representing."


31. Yayan Ruhian

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I just watched John Wick 3 and Yayan Ruhian played a big part as Shinobi. It was the first time I saw an Indonesian have so much screen time in a Hollywood movie. He even used some of our traditional martial arts move in the movie! I couldn't help but feel proud." —adindasyafri

32. Ming-Na Wen

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"Ming-Na Wen, who was the speaking voice for Mulan. I saw Mulan when it first came out, and when it was over, some folks from Disney handed out comment cards asking to know what we thought about the movie. I remember saying up until that point, I had never seen a main character that represented my Asian heritage and looked like me in any way in a Disney film. —midori711c

33. Jamie Chung

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"Jamie Chung is just an inspiration in everything she does. Besides the fact that she is an amazing actress and fashion icon, she also supports body positivity and the environment." —intje01

34. Amrita Acharia

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"Amrita Acharia was the first Nepalese actor I ever saw in a Hollywood film or series. That really made me feel seen. She's known for her work on Game of Thrones as Irri and Dr. Ruby Walker on ITV's The Good Karma Hospital." —nyrupamd

35. Sonja Sohn

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"Sonja Sohn is mixed race Korean and African-American. She was amazing in The Wire and does some great non-profit work, on top of acting and directing." —tkgm

*Note: Submissions may have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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