Ashe shatters stereotypes with Muslim superhero
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Tala Ashe is thrilled to debut her new character, a Muslim-American 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. “Going through that experience taught me the power of saying ‘no’ and saying like, ‘Actually I’m not OK with that.’”
Her experience playing Zari, a computer-hacking superhero in “Legends,” which returned 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, un-nuanced 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.”