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Gossip Girl's Yin Chang Talks Asian Representation in Original Series

Gossip Girl's Yin Chang Talks Asian Representation in Original Series

Yin Chang is opening up about Asian representation on the original Gossip Girl series, and revealed that her character, Nelly Yuki, was actually rewritten to fit into a stereotype.

The 32-year-old actor and 88 Cups of Tea founder spoke to Teen Vogue about reprising her role on the new HBO Max show.

Click inside to see what she had to say…

Yin shared with the magazine that when she first got the treatment for Nelly, she was impressed by the character, describing her as “supremely confident,” “beautiful” and bright characterization.

“The audition for this role came at a time when characters specifically written for Asian American women were so few and far between and I was under the impression, via the sides given for Nelly Yuki’s first episode, that the role had more complexity and nuance than most other auditions I had seen,” she revealed. “This was back in 2008, and the initial impression of the role gave me hope that the industry was changing and moving forward in the right direction for Asian American representation.”

However, leading up to the shoot, Yin says that characterization changed from “overachieving and effortlessly ‘confident’ and ‘sexy,’ to overachieving and ‘timid’ and ‘submissive.’”

This hinted to her that the show was reinforcing “cultural stereotypes of ‘the model minority’ and this age-old isolating idea that ‘there can only be one’ Asian American individual existing in the same world.”

There was also a writing shift that had Nelly with glasses so as to not confuse “viewers to think they were replacing me with another Asian actor who was previously on the show.”

She added, “I want to underscore that there’s nothing shameful about wearing glasses or having a shy personality, but it is of concern when a pair of glasses is used as a prop to differentiate between two Asian Americans and furthering that point by altering the character’s initial description/personality.”

Yin recently reprised the role of Nelly for the new HBO Max series.

“I was so moved by what they shared, to know that Josh [Safran, showrunner] intentionally wanted to weave Nelly Yuki in as part of the storyline and exercising his authority as a showrunner to make space for a more layered portrayal of the character meant the world to me in regards to representation,” she shared.

Find out when the second half of the series will debut here…

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Gossip Girl, Yin Chang

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