The Advocate’s March 2019 issue explores the changing visibility of Asian-American entertainers in the LGBTQ community via the experiences of Vincent Rodriguez III (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Jake Choi (“Single Parents”) and Nico Santos (“Crazy Rich Asians”).

 

Dive into their thoughts via these excerpts from their individual cover stories.

Choi on what made him question his own sexuality:

After identifying as straight without any doubt for most of his life, he says he began to question his sexuality and identity for the first time after playing a gay man in the 2015 queer romantic comedy, “Front Cover.” It wasn’t the role itself but the barrage of questioning from the press about his own sexuality when he was promoting the film that led Choi to do some serious soul-searching.

“I feel like we’re all conditioned. There are levels of conditioning. I have to work on myself too. I want to stay flexible…. It’s a daily practice, sometimes a struggle. I have to sort of fight against it and be conscious of what I’m thinking,” says Choi on combating messaging from his many machismo-filled years playing sports. “If you show any [sign of femininity or queerness], it’ll get squashed real quick and shut down. I think that’s a problem. I hope it changes, but it’s going to be a very slow process.”

Rodriguez on his superheroic ambitions:

“Now that I’ve been on [‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’] for a while, I’ve been focusing on stunts and actions for the last two years, and then in the last year I’ve been focusing on my body and lost 30 pounds. I’m preparing for action roles. I know I’m an Asian dude, but now that I think [that] we’re more likely to see Asian leading men, I think we’re going to see new stories being told that are not what we’re used to, in terms of the action genre.”

Santos on representing his people in his openly gay and Filipino”Superstore” character:

“We talk about representation all the time. That’s like such a buzzword in Hollywood right now, but really, it is—as somebody who’s like a double minority, as somebody who is queer and Brown—it’s important to bring that to the forefront. My Brownness is something that I can’t hide. There are some straight-acting or straight-passing queer people out there, but I’m not one of them. This is something I would rather not have to hide.”