The breakout star of this season of Insecure is Andrew, played by Alexander Hodge. Nicknamed “Asian Bae,” he tries to have a relationship with Yvonne Orji’s character, Molly.
Hodge spoke to The Huffington Post’s Kimberly Yam about his role on the show, which brings a new, more well-rounded dynamic to how Asian men are portrayed onscreen.
“I think it’s so important to see a confident, outspoken man bun-sporting Asian onscreen saying, ‘I want what I want.’ We haven’t had that before,” said Hodge, who also talked about how he had few Asian role models growing up.
“My perception of male Asian identity came from media representation. And obviously, in the ’90s, that didn’t give me much to work with,” he said, adding that, as a child, he was “ashamed of being Chinese as a kid.”
Hodge, like his character, is also in an interracial relationship with a black woman, and while his art reflects his life, he said he was careful about bringing all of his experiences to his character. He said to do so “would insinuate that black women are interchangeable and can all be treated the same, so I couldn’t allow myself to do that.”
He did say, however, that his personal life allowed him to bring a “more grounded appreciation of black culture and the black community–understanding that just listening to J. Cole doesn’t make you an expert on the black experience.”
“My real-life relationship definitely allowed me to sink into the character of Andrew more truthfully and see Molly for who she is entirely, without caricature or presumption.”
You can read the full interview at The Huffington Post.