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Improving API Representation in Casting

In Summer 2021, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with CAPE and Gold House, released the report: I Am Not a Fetish or Model Minority: Redefining What it Means to Be API in the Entertainment Industry.

This comprehensive report examined the portrayal of Asian people and Pacific Islanders within the film industry – both on screen and behind the scenes. In this ReSource, we will share the recommendations for improving casting of API people in the industry. 

Still of students in class from "Never have I ever"
"We see stereotypical portrayals of API characters on our screens again and again -- if we see them at all -- which have real world impacts."
Michelle K. Sugihara
Executive Director of CAPE
Jodie Comer as Villanelle and Sandra Oh as Eve in "Killing Eve"

In addition to informative insights on representation and casting, the Geena Davis Institute partnered with CAPE and Gold House to design a series of interventions. We encourage visitors to the ReSource to read the full study, and have highlighted the interventions related to the Development process below.

Read the Report

Recommended Interventions, Developed in Partnership with CAPE and Gold House

  • Cast more API actors in authentic and leading roles. The API communities are not a monolith; the entertainment industry should work to represent these communities authentically.
  • Allow for more portrayals of mixed-race and multi-ethnic characters and families.
  • Advocate for more Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian inclusion in API representation, as East Asian heritage is most likely to be represented.
  • Cast more API actors in movies of all genres so API people can see themselves as superheroes and romantic leads.
  • Recognize the difference between representation and tokenization.
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CAPE has long been a leader in advancing and improving representation of API people in the screen industries. We strongly recommend contacting CAPE to learn more about their robust consulting services, pipeline and training programs, and ongoing advocacy.

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