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INTERVIEW: "Crazy Rich Asians" Star, Victoria Loke, Talks About The Feature Film, Making History, Philanthropy, And More

Sydney A. Braat

Crazy Rich Asians star, Victoria Loke. (Photo: Sydney Braat)

Crazy Rich Asians is making history as the first film to feature an all-Asian cast in 25 years. With a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film is setting records. The film opened in theaters across America on August 15 and features well-known talents including Michelle Yeoh, Ken Jeong, Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Victoria Loke, and many more.

Crazy Rich Asians, based on the global bestselling novel written by Kevin Kwan, is a contemporary romantic comedy that follows young Asian-American "Rachel Chu" who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend "Nick Young's" family, only to discover that they are one of the richest families in all of Singapore. She is soon thrust into the lives of Asia's rich and famous and the dark secrets of his family and discovers that "Nick" is the desire of every woman's wishes. Victoria Loke plays "Fiona Tung-Cheng," "Nick's" cousin-in-law who has married into his wealthy family.

We sat down with Loke to learn more about her role in Crazy Rich Asians and why this film is making global headlines:

It must be great being back in New York City, what did you love about going to college in Manhattan? How do you think it contributed to your success today?

VL: Growing up in Singapore I always felt out of place. I felt like my personality was a bit too big - coming to New York that completely changed. In New York you can't be too outspoken. I felt completely at home the moment I got here. I had never been to America before arriving to New York to attend NYU. People come here for a reason - to do something. New York has a kind of energy you can't find in many other places.

For aspiring actors, dancers, and models, what is your biggest piece of advice?

VL: If you want something ask for it. That's the New York hustle. You can't be shy. If not, you'll get lost in the shuffle.

In addition to being a model, actress, and dancer, you somehow manage to fit in time to be an activist. Can you talk a bit about your work in Singapore?

VL: It started when I was in New York. I was very involved in Asian activism thanks to my Professor Jack Chen. He was the founder of the Museum of Chinese America. He really put me onto this. The class was about the depiction of Asian Americans in America and it really started everything for me. It made me more aware of the sociopolitical climate that I'm a part of. It made me aware of my position in society. Because I've had the privilege of education and resource, it is a fundamental duty to help those who don't have those resources and speak up for them. My work started in New York as a series called Asian Girl. It was a project to talk about issues that affect Asian women in digital media. It was mostly about starting a conversation in an inclusive manner. With something like social media, anyone can have a voice.

You're not only a beauty but you also most definitely have the brains. You speak five languages which is absolutely incredible. Can you speak to the importance of a global education and appreciation? How has your diverse global experiences helped you in your career today?

VL: That is what is defining our generation. We are so interconnected today. A lot of us have had the opportunity to travel a lot more and are considered "third culture kids," which is a slang term used today who do not have cultural anchors. Those who are immigrants or are part of a diaspora or are educated in different countries. We no longer have cultural markers and what really defined us is the ability to relate and empathize with people from cultures around the world and most importantly doing that in a respectful and sensitive way. That's the task for our generation.

When you landed the role of "Fiona," what was your immediate reaction?

VL: I was in my house getting ready to have my breakfast and my agent called me. She got an email and said, "I have good news for you!"

When you signed up for this, did you know what you were going to be a part of?

VL: I really had no idea what was going to happen. It really hit me when I went to the production office and they put all the cast headshots together. I looked at all of the photos together and went, "Wow!" That was the moment it hit me.

Remarkably (and disappointingly), this will be the first predominantly Asian cast in over 25 years. That's insane! Why is being a part of Crazy Rich Asians so important to you?

VL: I was born in 1992, so since I was born there has only been one movie with an all-Asian cast. I think it's a long-time coming. How has it been so long?

What's the biggest takeaway from your experience filming Crazy Rich Asians and working with an incredibly talented group of people?

VL: One of the biggest things was how quickly the cast bonded. We're almost like family now. We knew that this was going to be a big group effort and we needed a strong bond. We were all uniting with the goal of making a really incredible film. We had the pressure that if we didn't do this film right there may not be another chance for an all-Asian cast.

Added: August 21, 2018, 11:54 am
Appeared In: the arts >> on the screen