2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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Darren Criss recently delved into a topic we don’t typically hear him discuss: identity.

In a recent interview with Vulture, the actor talks about his role on American Crime Story: Versace. He also discusses his cultural and racial background, why they are two very different realities for him, and admits that his white-passing appearance has afforded him a privilege of not discussing the lack of Asian-American representation.

“I guess I don’t think about it … I have the luxury of being half-white and looking more Caucasian, so it doesn’t weigh on my conscience as much,” he told Vulture. “I think as an actor, you just study and you want to bring your A game all the time and hopefully it doesn’t even matter.”

He later humbly acknowledges that any actor who is half-white and half-Filipino could have gotten his American Crime Story role, but he “lucked out.”

“I always say one of my favorite things about myself is that I’m half-Filipino but I don’t look like it,” he said. “I grew up with a Filipino mom. Anybody who’s grown up in that world knows that’s a thing you share.”

However, Criss is quick to clear up that he doesn’t want to overstep any boundaries. He doesn’t identify as Asian-American for a very particular reason.

“I think that’d be unfair,” he explains. “I think that’d sound like I’m reaching for the minority card on a college application. [My mom’s] from the Phillipines and came here and then married a white guy, and here I am. Maybe because the obstacles that may come up haven’t that I don’t think about it.”

Shout out to Criss for acknowledging his privilege and understanding the difference between race and culture. We hope this impactful conversation provides space for others to have the same talks.

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