From being a businessperson with conflicting values in “Cloud Atlas” and wowing fans as a clone coping with her own existence in “Sense8,” Doona Bae made a mark in American cinema. Claiming a presence on both the big screen and the computer screen, the native South Korean actress is among the most prominent foreign actresses. Her talent has clearly taken her far and cleared a path for aspiring actresses of the same ethnic background.
When it comes to Asian actresses in major blockbusters, cameos are far more frequent than actual prominent roles. Most of the time their lines are also often restricted to basic dialogue or short catchphrases. While much of this is to ensure that their pronunciation in proper, one can’t help but wonder how limiting such roles are and how difficult it is for Asian actors and actresses to break into the American spotlight.
The 35-year-old actress serves as a milestone. Not only was she personally scouted by the Wachowskis – the mastermind sibling duo behind “The Matrix,” “Cloud Atlas,” and “Sense8” – her roles are far from minor. The characters she brings to life are very crucial to the plot. Instead of being the exotic Asian beauty who serves as eye candy, the “Bae” is the mature sophisticated thinker who provides wisdom to the big screen. Despite playing a martial arts champion in “Sense 8,” Bae’s characters do not completely rely on stereotypes, making her an inspiring role model for young upcoming Asian entertainers.
The popularity of minority performers and more sophisticated roles exemplifies what the American audience desires to see in a predominately-white film culture. By being able to take on defining roles that depict more wholesome characters, she proves that there is a lot of unseen potential in the Asian film market that can prosper in an American setting.
Doona Bae displays the spirit of acting. Conquering language barriers and cultural stigmas, she shines light to the issue of Asian representation in Hollywood and American media in general. With her diverse filmography of South Korean, American and Japanese films, she is not just an actress but also a pioneer of the age of American film inclusiveness. Her acting skills and memorable roles continue to inspire and open doors for other Asian actors and actresses hoping to make it in the States.
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