How Lana Condor Fought Back When a Casting Person Told Her ‘to Be More Like Hello Kitty’

Lana Condor reprises her starring role as Lara Jean Song Covey in “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” one of two sequels to Netflix’s hit teen rom-com “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which debuted in 2018. But despite her top billing in the series, based on books by Jenny Han, the Vietnamese American actor isn’t immune to insensitive comments in the casting room.

As Condor originally shared with Teen Vogue, a casting person once asked her “to be more like Hello Kitty.” 

She told Variety that she had a pointed response to the (non) direction. 

“I remember when she said that, I just was like, ‘I don’t know what you mean.’ I straight up — you kind of have to call that out,” Condor said in an interview in the Variety studio. 

She added, “Also, Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth. [So as] a woman, I’m like, ‘One, you want me to be more like Hello Kitty, but she doesn’t have a voice.’ That’s so insulting to me.”

A self-proclaimed optimist, Condor said she is heartened to be part the uptick in representation of Asians and Asian Americans on-screen, pointing to the success of films like “Parasite,” “The Farewell,” “The Foreigner” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” 

“We’re making strides, and I see that,” she said. “When I go into rooms now, I’m taken more seriously. However, those little blurbs remind me that there’s still so much more work to be done in the industry and to knock out that ignorance.”

Part of that is telling specific stories about Asian American characters, like Lara Jean, a teenager of mixed Korean American descent whose cultural specificity was praised by viewers through the inclusion of subtle details, like when she drinks Yakult, a beverage popular in Asia. And in “P.S. I Still Love You,” Condor’s character will be going through an almost universal teenage conundrum: choosing between two love interests, Peter (Noah Centineo, who co-starred with Condor in the first film) and John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher). 

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” debuts Feb. 12 on Netflix.

More Film

  • Nora Arnezeder

    Berlin: Wide's Thriller 'Blast' Sold to Japan, Latin America at the EFM (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Blast,” a high-concept thriller produced and represented in international markets by Paris-based company Wide, has sold to several territories at the EFM in Berlin. Vanya Peirani-Vignes’ feature debut, “Blast” takes place Parisian parking lot where Sonia finds herself trapped in her car with her son while her boyfriend’s daughter has been left outside to deal [...]

  • digger

    Greek Director Grigorakis Saddles up 'Western' 'Digger' at Berlin

    For a feature debut that he describes as a contemporary Western, Greek director Georgis Grigorakis settled on a familiar archetype — “a lonely guy with his horse, with his shotgun” — who, in keeping with the genre’s conventions, is drawn into a confrontation and is prepared to fight to the bitter end in the defense [...]

  • North Macedonian directors Ljubo Stefanov (R)

    Berlin: 'Honeyland' Directors Prepping New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, the Macedonian directors of the dual Oscar-nominated documentary “Honeyland,” are prepping several new projects, Variety has learned exclusively. The directing duo are looking to build on the success of their debut, a moving portrait of a lone beekeeper struggling to preserve a traditional way of life, which was nominated for [...]

  • David-Casademunt-and-Joaquin

    Rodar y Rodar Boards “The Beast” (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar, producer of Spanish horror titles such as J.A. Bayona’s “The Orphanage” and Oriol Paulo’s “The Body, has thrown its weight behind David Casademunt’s “The Beast,” boarding it as its main producer. “The Beast,” which participated in Filmarket Hub’s 2017 Sitges Pitchbox event as well as Ventana Sur’s 2017 Blood Window, it [...]

  • Bad Tales

    Italy's Pepito Prods. Shines With 'Bad Tales' (EXCLUSIVE) Trailer

    Italy’s Pepito Prods., at Berlin with competition drama “Bad Tales” by Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, is emerging as a new home for the country’s auteurs.  The company, headed by former RAI head of drama Agostino Saccà in January, scored more than $6 million in Italian cinemas with veteran Gianni Amelio’s “Hammamet,” a biopic of disgraced [...]

  • La Belle Époque

    France's Les Films du Kiosque Board Nicolas Bedos', Mabrouk El Mechri's Next Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Les Films du Kiosque, the Paris-based production company behind Nicolas Bedos’ Cannes-premiering “La Belle Epoque” and Netflix’ hit original “Family Business,” is set to reteam with Bedos on “Masquarade,” and will produce Mabrouk El Mechri’s “Kung Fu Zohra.” El Mechri’s film follows Zohra, a young cashier from the suburbs who is being physically abused by [...]

  • EFM European Film Market 67th Berlinale

    Berlin Film Market: Unsettled, Angry and Adjusting to Upheaval

    After its usual slow start, Berlin’s European Film Market came to closely resemble the state of the underlying film industry: unsettled, angry and uneasily attempting to adjust to major change. Where the film festival has new leaders in artistic director Carlo Chatrian and managing director Mariette Rissenbeek, following changes of leadership at Panorama and Forum, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content