Lana Condor WRTW Shape Mag September 2021

Lana Condor On Why She'll Never Stay Silent About the Violence Against the Asian Community

Plus, how she's strategically choosing roles that show future generations what's possible.

When she read the script for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Lana Condor knew the movie was made for her. "It was something I'd never seen come across my desk — a rom-com with an Asian American actress as the lead," she says. "I remember sitting in the car before my audition thinking, I have to get this."

The role turned Lana, 24, into a household name, and the film was so successful that it became a franchise. "The greatest blessing is that it made [Asian] people feel represented. They come up to me and tell me how watching the movie made them feel seen and not alone," says Lana, who is starring in and executive producing the Netflix show Boo, Bitch and filming the movie Moonshot. "I'm very calculated about the projects I take on now. I want to continue to show people who look like me that they can do whatever they want to, regardless of what someone might have told them."

Lana Condor WRTW Shape Mag September 2021

This past year, Lana has also been passionate about speaking out against violent attacks on Asians. Here, she explains why she'll never stay silent.

Awareness Is Everything

"I think many people are in denial or believe violence against Asians isn't a real thing. Even some of my close friends weren't aware of what was going on. I needed to let people know what was happening. Speaking up is important. It's easy to be a bystander, but you could save a life if you stand up for someone." (Related: Anti-Asian Hate Isn't New, But the Pandemic Made It Much Worse)

We Share Our Strength

"When I speak with other people [in the Asian community], we grieve together, then we pick each other up and tell each other to keep going because that's the only thing to do. You keep going or you stop. To me, stopping is not an option."

Lana Condor WRTW Shape Mag September 2021

Passion Brings Purpose

"It's been a traumatizing and emotionally challenging year. But we have to stay strong and be hopeful about the future. Things are changing. My demographic is very loud, opinionated, and passionate. I feel a lot of positivity in that."

Photography: Djeneba Aduayom, @djeneba.aduayom // Styling: Molly Dickson, @mollyddickson // Lettering: Samantha Hahn, @samanthajhahn // Hair: Kat Thompson/ for GHD Hair, @kattthompson // Makeup: Melissa Hernandez/The Wall Group for Neutrogena, @melissa.hernandez // Manicure: Thuy Nguyen/A-Frame Agency for OPI, @thuybnguyen // Creative Director: Noah Dreier, @noahdreier // Photo Director: Toni Paciello Loggia, @toniloggia