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34 Multiracial Celebs Who Are Actually Asian Or Pacific Islander

Relatable and inspirational icons, all of 'em.

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1. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

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The Rock is of black and Samoan heritage. His father is former professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, who was the first black Georgia heavyweight champion. His maternal grandfather, Peter Maivia, was a Samoan American professional wrestler.

After a Twitter debate regarding how he identifies, Johnson tweeted, "Glad I came across this and I’ll give you guys some context & truth. I identify as exactly what I am - both. Equally proud. Black/Samoan."

2. H.E.R.

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

H.E.R. is of black and Filipino heritage. In an interview with WWD, H.E.R. says her home as a kid was distinctly Filipino. She always took her shoes off at the door, and her grandparents lived with her, always cooking.

At the same time, she said, "My dad would throw down with the soul food when we had our black side over. Black culture, to me, is so important and I identify with young black women. I represent young black women, and I’m proud of that."

3. Naomi Scott

Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland / WireImage

Scott is of Gujarati Indian and English heritage. Speaking to her background in an interview with Teen Vogue, she said, "There were moments growing up where you’re like, 'Oh, I don’t really feel Indian enough.' But now I’m at a place where I’m like you know what? It’s okay. It doesn’t make me any less Indian, or any less half Indian."

4. Taika Waititi

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Waititi is of Māori (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), Russian Jewish, and Irish heritage. He won an academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2019 for Jojo Rabbit, becoming the first person of Māori descent to win an Academy Award in a screenplay category and the first Indigenous person to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

In his acceptance speech, Waititi spoke to Indigenous children: "I dedicate this to all the Indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories. We are the original storytellers and we can make it here, as well."

5. Kimora Lee Simmons

J. Vespa / WireImage

Simmons is of black, Korean, and Japanese heritage. In an article for Working Mother, she wrote, "I was a loner growing up. I was a mixed-race girl with a Korean-Japanese mother and an African American father, and none of the other kids at my school were like me. I was nearly six feet tall by the time I was 11 years old. And I was an only child being raised by a single mother."

She then revealed, "They called me 'chinky giraffe.' I cried all the time. But my mother wanted me to turn my tears into something else, something positive." So her mother signed her up for modeling, where Simmons went on to help pave the way for mixed race models, with Karl Lagerfeld eventually calling her "the face of the 21st century."

6. Sir Ben Kingsley

Francois G. Durand / WireImage

Kingsley is of Gujarati Indian and English heritage. Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji and, as a kid, was called Krish. "As soon as I changed my name," Kingsley told RadioTimes, "I got the jobs. I had one audition as Krishna Bhanji and they said, ‘Beautiful audition but we don’t quite know how to place you in our forthcoming season.’ I changed my name, crossed the road, and they said when can you start?"

He added, "But the irony is, of course, I changed my clunky invented Asian name to a more pronounceable, and acceptable, universal name in order to play Mahatma Gandhi. There’s your irony."

7. Jemaine Clement

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Clement is of Māori and European heritage. He's a direct descendant of Wairarapa chief Iraia Te Whaiti, who was a Ngati Kahungunu leader, farmer, and historian. Clement named his son after him and said in an interview with the Guardian, "Everyone in my family for generations has had at least one Māori name; can’t break it now."

8. Naomi Campbell

Kristy Sparow / Getty Images

Campbell is of Jamaican and Chinese heritage. Despite her Asian heritage, she faced racial discrimination when she was informed her picture would not be used for a campaign in an Asian country.

Yahoo News reports that when speaking to the BBC, Campbell explained, "Something happened to me the other day and I was quite taken aback. I did a campaign for someone and I was told one of the countries in Asia won’t use the picture because of the color of my skin. It doesn’t stop me. That’s just another country that has to be shown that it is ignorant and that is not the way of the world right now on the global scale. Ironically, I have that gene in my family."

9. Jason Momoa

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Momoa is of Native Hawaiian, German, Irish, and Native American heritage. When speaking to Yahoo Entertainment about his role as Aquaman, Momoa said, "It's an honor to be a brown-skinned superhero for sure. There’s a lot of Polynesian kids who are going to be very stoked to have someone to look up to like that."

10. Chrissy Teigen

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Teigen is of Thai and Norwegian heritage. While she now proudly shares Thai recipes, she didn't always feel that way. "I remember being really embarrassed by it when I was young and had friends over," Teigen told SheKnows. "It was weird to pull shrimp heads off and discard the body and eat the head. There were moments when as a kid you cringe."

11. Danny Pudi

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Pudi is of Indian and Polish heritage. In an interview with the Center for Asian American Media, Pudi said, "Inside my home, I’m very Polish. As soon as I left the door, in school and in public, I was pretty much perceived as Indian."

12. Vanessa Hudgens

Jean Baptiste Lacroix / WireImage

Hudgens is of Filipino, Irish, and Native American heritage. Vanessa spoke with Reuters in 2011 about her multicultural background, saying that she sees it as a positive, despite being told as a younger actor that she "wasn't Latin enough, or Asian enough, or Caucasian enough."

13. Alexa Chung

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Chung is of Chinese and English heritage. In 2009, she tweeted, "I’m 3/8 chinese 5/8 english. A very silly fraction. Less than a half, more that a quarter. Pass it on so I don't have to explain again. Thanks."

Despite this, Chung's heritage seems to remain a topic of confusion to many, as it was reported by the Telegraph in 2016 that there are 42,000 Google searches every year relating to her ethnicity.

14. Keanu Reeves

Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

Reeves is of Chinese, English, Irish, Native Hawaiian, and Portuguese heritage. In an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he recalled how his manager initially wanted to change his name. "Great to see you, but we want to change your name," Reeves recounted, explaining how he then suggested Chuck Spadina or Templeton Paige Taylor, before they decided to stick with Keanu Reeves.

15. Darren Criss

Phillip Faraone / Getty Images

Criss is of Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, English, German, and Irish heritage. After making controversial remarks in a 2018 Vulture interview, Criss tweeted to clarify, "[One] of my favorite things about myself is that I’m half Filipino. PERIOD. I happen to not look like it, but THAT fact is not what I like. I like the fact that most people don’t know it’s an ace up my sleeve, an ace I’m very proud of, regardless of what I look like."

16. Anderson .Paak

John Lamparski / Getty Images

.Paak is of black and Korean heritage. His mother is black and Korean, and his father is black. Paak's wife is from South Korea, and they met at music school. In an interview on the Fun With Dumb podcast, .Paak speaks a little Korean and discusses his family trip to Korea.

17. Karen O

Brent N. Clarke / FilmMagic

O is of Korean and Polish heritage. In an interview with the New York Times, she discussed how being biracial led her eighth grade peers to treat her as a "novelty," marking a "brutal but also pivotal" experience that "forced her to identify as a weirdo, which led her straight to rock ’n’ roll."

18. Avan Jogia

Jason Laveris / FilmMagic

Jogia is of Gujarati Indian, German, English, and Welsh heritage. He has recently published Mixed Feelings, a combination of poetry and interviews with other mixed race individuals that focuses on self-identity.

In what started as an exploration of his own identity, Jogia explores the "complicated emotions surrounding race, identity, religion, and family," as he describes in an interview with AM New York.

19. Christina Chong

Luca Teuchmann

Chong is of Chinese and English heritage. In an interview with the Evening Standard, Chong said, "My siblings and I were probably the only mixed-race children" in the village in Lancashire she moved to after her parents' divorce.

Her father, a chef of Chinese descent, has a restaurant called Charlie’s that she co-owns.

20. Devon Aoki

Stephen Lovekin / WireImage for amfAR

Aoki is of Japanese, German, and English heritage. In an interview, Rotten Tomatoes asked Aoki if she feels any pressure from being one of the highest profile Asian American actors. Aoki said that she does, especially after looking up to Asian celebs as a young girl.

She elaborated, "There weren’t a lot of people who were even allowed to represent for our culture, being from the East. So every movie I do, that’s a thought in my head that I have to represent for Asian people. That’s really important to me."

21. Enrique Iglesias

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Iglesias is of Spanish and Filipino heritage. He was born in Madrid to Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and Filipina journalist and socialite Isabel Preysler.

When asked in an interview what country he would like to help, Iglesias responded, "A lot of countries in Latin America, because they’ve given me so much in return. And another country would be the Philipines, because I’m part Filipino."

22. Kristin Kreuk

Jun Sato / WireImage

Kreuk is of Chinese and Dutch heritage. When she played the titular Chun-Li in the 2009 film, Kreuk had to relearn Mandarin and Cantonese.

In an interview with Australian website Girl, she explained, "My Mom's Chinese. She doesn't speak any Chinese. But I went to Chinese school one summer, so I have a little bit of Mandarin, but nothing, really — I don't remember it. The guy who played the servant in the household was the dialect teacher, as well. So he taught me Mandarin."

23. Chanel Iman

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Iman is of black and Korean heritage. Chanel, who has been outspoken about racial discrimination in the fashion industry, discussed the industry's diversity problem for a cover story of Net-A-Porter's The Edit, as reported by HuffPost.

"I think that everyone should be equal; it shouldn’t be about color," she said. "It's unfortunate that there is still a lot of politics involved in both the acting and modeling worlds. I do think we’ve come a long way, but things could still be a lot more diverse on the runway and in films."

24. Olivia Munn

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Munn is of German, Irish, English, and Chinese heritage. She predominantly grew up in Japan, though the moved back to Oklahoma for her last two years of high school.

When asked about the struggles she encountered trying to establish herself, Munn told Prestige Hong Kong, "I’d go out for so many auditions, for everything. And then I’d be told, 'You’re too Asian' or 'You’re too white.' I remember someone telling me, 'Don’t feel bad. One day they won’t be trying to match you to fit with anyone else. You’ll just be hired for you.' So you can’t help but get frustrated. That’s part of it all."

25. Nicole Scherzinger

Gregg Deguire / WireImage

Scherzinger is of Filipino, Native Hawaiian, and Russian heritage. She was born in Hawaii, and, in an interview with Pacific Citizen, she said, "My mother, growing up, would dance the hula and Tahitian with her family. My mother taught me hula when I was really young."

She also opened up about being a mixed-race artist, explaining she faced challenges getting work "especially because I started out in theater, and a lot of people didn't understand what my nationality was or what race I was. So, they were a little confused on how to cast me or what my place was. But it was really confusing at first because people wanted me to be like the Puerto Rican girl, the sidekick, the Puerto Rican best friend."

26. Karrueche Tran

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Tran is of black and Vietnamese heritage. In an interview with Jet Magazine, she said, "I’m all for diversity and anything multicultural. I’m half black and half Vietnamese and grew up very diverse. I had an Asian godmother and Korean best friends, so being a black actor and being involved in the industry is amazing. I would love to be able to contribute to the community of African American actors. We need more of them out there, just period. People look at me and ask 'What are you?' and I tell them black and Vietnamese and they think that’s really cool. I love and am happy that I’m able to bridge these two cultures."

27. Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Gosselaar is of German, Dutch Jewish, and Indonesian heritage. When he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Gosselaar asked, "Did you know that my mother — I'm saying this as if, like, I'm excited — but my mother is Asian?"

He added, "People don’t know this: Zack Morris is half Asian. That’s why the hair, the blond hair, was dyed for all those years."

28. Jessica Henwick

Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

Henwick is of Zambian and Chinese Singaporean heritage. When speaking with Interview magazine, Henwick said, "I want to continue to broaden expectations of what an Asian can be but also pursue ones that would have spoken to me as a young Asian."

She also revealed that she turned down roles because she "didn't want to ever feel defined by [her] ethnicity."

29. Norah Jones

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

Jones is of Bengali and European heritage. She was born Geetali Norah Jones Shankar. Although they weren't close, her father, Ravi Shankar, was called the Godfather of World Music by George Harrison (yes, the Beatle).

A singer-songwriter herself, Jones has won nine Grammys and Billboard named her its jazz artist of the 2000–2009 decade.

30. Shay Mitchell

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Mitchell is of Filipino, Irish, and Scottish heritage. She talked about struggling at school due to her cultural background in an interview with Cosmopolitan: "I was so uncomfortable being Filipino. I’d get ‘Oh, is your mom a nanny?’ It’s like, No, fucker, but even if she was, do you know how hard that is? Could you do it? No."

31. Henry Golding

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Golding is of English and Malaysian heritage. He opened up about being mixed race in an interview with Bustle: "I felt like if you were an Asian mix, were you allowed to belong in any society or were you just meant to be on the outskirts?"

Golding expanded, saying, "Just because by blood I'm not full Asian doesn't mean I can't own my Asianness. And I relate so much more with my Asian side."

32. Maggie Q

Gregg Deguire / WireImage

Q is of Vietnamese, Polish, and Irish heritage. She's no stranger to racial typecasting, and, in an interview with CAA Media, she shared, "I got this script — and I’m not going to tell you what movie it is — that said, 'In anticipation of our conversation, please find the script…written by blah blah and starring blah blah.' I shit you not, it said, 'Please take a look at the role of The Chink.' You can’t make it up. That’s the name of the character. It’s framed in my office, because I want to always be reminded of what’s out there."

33. Hannah Simone

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Simone is of Indian, Italian, Greek Cypriot, and German heritage. Talking about her role on New Girl in an interview with CAA Media, Simone explained, "When they were casting this role, they weren’t looking for a South Asian character. I remember when I got cast, I went to [show creator] Liz Meriwether and I said: 'That’s really cool that you cast me. I didn’t grow up watching American sitcoms seeing my face in those shows.' I was talking not just as a South Asian person, but as someone with this skin tone."

Simone continued, "I remember Liz just looking at me and saying: 'Hannah, I just cast the funniest person,' and that really landed on me. And she just kept writing that way to keep Cece a funny, honest character and friend and woman on that show."

34. Kimiko Glenn

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Glenn is of Japanese, Scottish, Irish, and German heritage. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Glenn discussed her role as Brook on Orange Is the New Black. "I think the original vision of the character was a blonde girl, and then they opened it up to Indian, and then it kind of landed on me somehow."

She expanded, "What I love about playing Brook is the fact that this is not an Asian stereotype. This is not like any character I've gone in for. I go in for a lot of the typical things you would think: the silly sidekick, the smart one, stuff like that. It is something I think about all the time. It's a conversation I ask my agents; I ask my managers. It's always a conversation because I do want to be playing parts that are human parts. And I love that they say that I'm Asian American. I'm not 'full Asian.' I think Asians in general are underrepresented."

Check out how BuzzFeed is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

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