Originally posted on YOMYOMF
Being an Asian Australian living in Southern California, my focus is all about looking at the Asian Australians who have done well and this particular top 10 list recognizes those who have nailed it here in Hollywood. Researching for this list was an interesting one because there are more than just 10 Asian Australians who are working hard to have fulfilling and successful careers in Hollywood. But one must remember that we are not only nailing it in Hollywood, but there are many who are successful in Chollywood ( China), Bollywood ( India), the UK, Japan and South Korea. I will get to those soon, but before I start this top 10 list, let me say that a reason most Asian Australians leave Australia for their entertainment careers is because there is nothing there in Australia for them/us.
This is also evident in other fields and industries because the institutional racism and the maintaining of a white-centric society is still dominant there. Here is one of my opinion pieces talking about the lack of recognition in Australia of some of the large names like James Wan.
So in saying all this, and without further adieu, here is my 2018 list ( in no particular order) of the TOP 10 ASIAN AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE TOTALLY NAILED IT IN HOLLYWOOD….
1. CHRIS PANG (Chinese Australian)
I first saw Pang when he played LEE TAKKAM in the famous Australian young adult book series film adaptation Tomorrow When The War Began. I remember watching him and thinking wow, what a hottie. Little did I know that a year or so later, I would meet his parents at a Chinese community event in Melbourne and later get connected with Pang and get to know him as a person. Since then Pang’s notable achievements would be on Netflix’s Marco Polo (2016), playing Colin Khoo on Crazy Rich Asians, and we will see him next year on Sony’s Charlies Angels. And I am 100% sure we will just see his career go from strength to strength, so keep you eyes out for him.
2. DICHEN LACHMAN (Nepalese Tibetan Australian)
I first noticed Lachman when she appeared as “Jiaying” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in the 2014 – 15 period. She interested me and so I looked her up and found out that she hails from Australia. So since then I have been following her career and she has just continued to thrive. This year she was in Netflix’s Altered Carbon and on TNT’s Animal Kingdom. I am sure next year we will keep seeing her in other awesome shows and films.
3. LEONARDO NAM (Korean Australian)
Seriously one of the nicest people you can ever meet who is always laughing and smiling every time I see him at events, Nam is definitely an Asian Australian veteran in Hollywood. I remember first seeing him in the young adult film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and since then he has just gone from strength to strength. Nam was cast as a series regular in HBO’s Westworld and featured in an episode of CW’s The Flash.
4. GERALDINE VISWANATHAN (Indian Australian)
I have only realized this year that Visvanathan hails from Oz, and its just so awesome for me to keep seeing my fellow Aussies here in Hollywood. Blockers was the first film I saw her on and I thought she was pretty awesome in that. Since then she is one busy woman and will be seen next year on film Bad Education and TBS comedy series Miracle Workers. Looks like next year is going to be a big one for her and I am sure more to come!
5. JAMES WAN ( Malaysian Chinese Australian)
This guy definitely needs no introductions, because he is the one and only James Wan. Wan has had an extensive career in Hollywood being a director and is most known for his horror genres, like the Saw series and The Conjuring. More recently he has directed DC Comics film blockbuster Aquaman and have done an extremely awesome job with that. I was lucky enough to interview Wan in the lead up to the release of Aquaman, and this is what he said about how much his Asian Australian-ness has rubbed off on his work:
Growing up as an Australia of Malaysian Chinese descent, I grew up hearing many Malaysian and Chinese horror stories, as well as some ‘local’ Australian horror legends. When I made my movies like Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious I added the flavours from the stories I grew up with. They got into my head at a young age and they find ways to inspire my work, whether consciously or unconsciously. My culture, my upbringing and my Australian identity are important in making me who I am today, and who I am as an artist.
Big name, and we will see more of him next year!
6. REMY HII ( Malaysian Chinese Australian)
Seriously a nice dude and easy on the eyes, I first noticed Hii when he played Van Truong Nguyen on Australian mini series film Better Man. His acting there was impeccable and I have pretty much followed his career ever since. In 2016, I was introduced to him via a mutual friend and got to know him personally and he is seriously a humble guy! Hii has done really well this year featuring as Alistair Cheng on Crazy Rich Asians and next year we will all see him in the new Spider-man film – “Far from home”. Hii interestingly has done well in Australia in addition of nailing it in Hollywood, and I do not see this guy stopping any time soon!
7. JORDAN RODRIGUES (Malaysian Australian)
I first noticed Rodrigues in an Australian series which I have always boycotted watching because it was virtually all white. But low and behold in 2008 ish I saw this young Asian guy on the series Home and Away, and was like whuut?!?!?! Since then Rodrigues has done really well and is now killing it here in Hollywood. He was cast in a recurring role in Freeform’s The Fosters and on Hulu web series Light as a Feather as the main character. No doubt we will see more of his charming good looks in the year to come.
8. RONNY CHIENG (Malaysian Chinese Australian)
Wow, it has been a very long time when I remembered seeing Chieng, and I can trace it back a number of years ago when I saw him in Oz doing some stand up comedy sessions. Chieng’s career was really sewn up when he featured on The Daily Show as a regular ( and continues to be). Hollywood wise, he was on Crazy Rich Asians and played Edison Cheng. Chieng has a huge name as a comedian, and has done well in both Australia and the US. His comedy show Ronny Chieng: International Studentran on Australian ABC network and did really well. Chieng has a long future ahead and we will definitely see lots more of him in 2019.
9. DESMOND CHIAM ( Singaporean Australian)
Another extremely nice guy and one who has awesome social media opinions ( love reading the stuff he writes on his Facebook), Chiam has had a successful career in Hollywood. I first saw him on various episodes on Australian series like Neighbours and Offspring and since then his career has taken off. He was a regular in the sci-fi series The Shannara Chronicles which was aired on Spike and is currently in pre-production for upcoming ABC (US) series Reef Break in one of the leading roles. Huge year for him in 2019.
10. JOHN HARLAN KIM (Korean Australian)
I first saw Kim on the HBO Tom Hanks – Steven Spielberg produced mini series The Pacific back in 2010. Kim has had an exceptional career thus far in the US in the TV series area. He had a starring role in TNT’s series The Librarians and his career will just go from strength to strength and we will see more of him in 2019.
I am sure there are many more awesome Asian Australians doing awesome things in Hollywood, and this list definitely will be built on in the new year as we see more of our peeps doing awesome things. Ill definitely compose a list on where are our Asian Australians in the world wide entertainment industry but this is a great start for sure. It is important that we continue to support our peeps and acknowledge and recognize them – if we don’t then Australia definitely won’t. But to end on a good note, how proud is it, that I had more than top 10 to write on and my most difficult decision was to come up with this 10.