Modern Asian: Q/A with Alessandra Mai Vinh

You’ve definitely seen Alessandra Mai Vinh (dancer, model, and actress extraordinaire) on your feed. Her talent knows no bounds but what might not be obvious at first glance is her incredible tenacity in pursuit of her dreams. We dove deep into how she’s able to thrive as an Asian woman within an industry notoriously closed off to anyone who doesn’t fit “the mold.”

What does being a Modern Asian woman mean to you?

Being a modern Asian for me means resisting the model minority myth and creating our own narratives and stories. It means not feeling the pressure to meet cultural expectations, i.e perfectionism and being quiet in front of disrespect.

How has your Asian heritage shaped you?

My Asian heritage taught me the importance of collectivism, the collective well-being of the community, and emotional self-control, the ability to manage emotions versus suppressing emotions.

What are the biggest changes you’ve experienced since moving from Italy to L.A.—not just as a multihyphenate in pursuit of their dreams, but as an Asian person?

Growing up in Italy, my brother and I were the only non-Italian in the whole school. In the States, especially in NYC and LA, I feel that I blend in more. It's not necessarily good or bad.

As a dancer, actor, and model: how do you deal with racial stereotypes in an industry with a high barrier for entry (and is so known for typecasting)?

There is certainly a higher barrier to entry for Asian Americans and Pacific Islander performers because there are a few roles. I'm aware that often I'm the token Asian in a project. Thank God I haven't been offered the role of the nerd or the kung-fu master but if it ever happened I will certainly speak up.

We need a well-rounded representation. Representation in entertainment has not always been inclusive or reflective of our multifaceted communities.

How do we move the conversation forward to create change?

It's importnat to speak up and use our platforms to amplify Asian voices and we need to support Asian writers, producers and directors.

To learn more about Alessandra, follow her on Instagram, @alessandra.maivinh.