Crazy Rich Eurasians: white enough to be acceptable, Asian enough to be an asset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores Henry Golding’s transnational stardom as a site of racial ambiguity, with Golding and producers strategically utilising different aspects of his mixed-race identity in his filmography. I distinguish between two stages of Golding’s transnational stardom: the first in his early career as a regional television host, predicated on his ‘Eurasianness’ for a Southeast Asian audience, and the second in his Hollywood stardom, which emphasises his ‘Asianness’ for a global audience. I argue that mixed-race individuals in Southeast Asian media industries represent an ‘Asian Dream’ that Golding embodies. Golding is an asset precisely because he fulfils Western conventions of beauty in his British heritage and supplies an Asian heritage that is simultaneously authentic and exotic, made more valuable by the fact that he is indigenous. This article examines how producers from different regions use Golding’s Eurasian identity to market their films, and how Golding navigates his Eurasian identity in his different projects. Golding’s racial ambiguity allows him to be a uniquely versatile star, relying on his identity alternately as a British, Eurasian, Southeast Asian, Malaysian or Iban man. Golding thus simultaneously belongs to both, and neither, the Western and Eastern worlds, shifting between roles as required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-233
Number of pages15
JournalCelebrity Studies
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Eurasian
  • Race
  • racial ambiguity
  • Southeast Asian
  • stardom

Cite this