SHAT­TER­ING STEREO­TYPES

TALA ASHE PLAYS MUS­LIM-AMER­I­CAN SU­PER­HERO

Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Ni­cole Evatt

Ashe joins sea­son three of “DC’s Le­gends of To­mor­row”

Tala Ashe is thrilled to de­but her new char­ac­ter, a Mus­limAmer­i­can su­per­hero join­ing sea­son three of “DC’s Le­gends of To­mor­row.” It’s a par­tic­u­larly poignant mo­ment for the Ira­nian-born, Ohiore­ared ac­tress who de­scribed the hard­ship of por­tray­ing stereo­typ­i­cal char­ac­ters in the past.

“I have been part of projects where it is not dealt with sen­si­tively or ac­cu­rately and it’s in­cred­i­bly painful. It’s in­cred­i­bly painful,” said Ashe in an in­ter­view while pro­mot­ing The CW se­ries dur­ing the Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion sum­mer meet­ing.

One of Ashe’s first breaks was on a soap opera. She took the role to pay the bills, but said she would never agree to the part now.

“It’s still ac­tu­ally painful for me to talk about be­cause I, it was such a stereo­type,” she re­called. “I try not to be­rate my­self for tak­ing it be­cause I un­der­stand the rea­sons that I did. But I would never, I would never say ‘yes’ to some­thing like that now . ... Going through that ex­pe­ri­ence taught me the power of say­ing ‘no’ and say­ing like, ‘Ac­tu­ally I’m not OK with that.’ And if that’s all there is out there for me then it’s OK. I’ll go work in a law firm pour­ing cof­fee. I’d rather do that then to be part of pro­mot­ing that stereo­type.”

Her ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing Zari, a com­put­er­hack­ing su­per­hero in “Le­gends,” which re­turns Tues­day, could not be more dif­fer­ent.

“What is great is (her eth­nic­ity) is an as­pect of who she is, as much as she’s an ac­tivist and she’s a strong woman and some­one who speaks truth to power,” Ashe said.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that we have rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the me­dia and specif­i­cally we have Mus­lim-Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tion that isn’t just pos­i­tive in a sort of rosy, un­nu­anced way, but is a real per­son.

“And there’s so much of the other right now and there’s so much mak­ing Mus­lims ‘the other’ that I’m ex­cited to play this char­ac­ter in what I hope will be a very nu­anced and sen­si­tive, ac­cu­rate way.”

Ashe was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed when showrun­ners brought in a Mus­lim-Amer­i­can writer to help craft her role and hopes that kind of in­clu­siv­ity will spread through­out Hol­ly­wood.

“I do think there are more sto­ries be­ing told. I think more sto­ries can be cham­pi­oned both in theatre and in tele­vi­sion and cer­tainly in movies. I think we have a long way to go in terms of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in movies. But I think TV is do­ing kind of the best job in terms of re­al­iz­ing that we need to re­flect our world and that it mat­ters,” she said.

Ashe aims to be a pos­i­tive role model for young fans and per­haps break down a few stereo­types along the way.

“I’m ex­cited to see what the re­ac­tion is and if it can make some­one feel a lit­tle less alone or — here’s the big hope — if it can change a mind,” she said.

As­so­ci­ated Press photo

In this Aug. 2 file photo, Tala Ashe, a cast mem­ber in the CW se­ries “DC’s Le­gends of To­mor­row,” poses for a por­trait dur­ing the 2017 Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion Sum­mer Press Tour in Bev­erly Hills, Calif.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.