In a virtual conversation with USC Price School of Policy and Asian Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC) Tuesday afternoon, Olivia Munn discussed Asian representation and how she managed her family’s expectations while becoming a household name in Hollywood.
As a first-generation American of Chinese-Vietnamese descent, Munn said though she wanted to be an actress for as long as she could remember, her mother used to limit her career options to jobs like lawyers or doctors. When her mother disapproved of her studying theater, Munn majored in journalism at the University of Oklahoma as the “closest to being a storyteller.” Still, her desire to be an actor never stopped. She made a deal with her mother, who said if Munn graduated and used her degree for one year, she would support her acting.
During the event, Munn also said when she first started as an actress, many times she was told she was “too white” to play the Asian role and “too Asian” to play the white role.