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June 01, 2019  Comments are off Abominable

Nextshark – Chinese American actress Chloe Bennet, famously known for her portrayal of Daisy “Skye” Johnson on the television series “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has recently unveiled the trailer for her latest project with Dreamworks Animation.

“Abominable” tells an adorable story of a young Chinese girl named Yi, voiced by Bennet, who discovers a young Yeti on the roof of her Shanghai apartment building and soon embarks on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family.

This comes as a welcome addition following the announcement of several other Asian American-centered cinematic projects announced within the last several months. “Abominable” is an opportunity for young Asian children to see themselves represented on the big screen in the form of a vibrant and relatable animated character.

Bennet spoke with NextShark about the upcoming film, her own cultural roots, and the importance of being authentically represented in Hollywood.

For the actress, being a part of this project was a nostalgic and personal experience:
“Every part of Yi feels so much more familiar than any character that I’ve ever played, and a big part of that was just that connection with her Chinese roots,” she revealed.

“There’s so much nostalgia wrapped in so many of the different situations and just the themes of the movie, of trying to figure how to deal with grief and with loss and how family means that you’re there for each other. And there are many themes like that that are so parallel to my life and getting to play her was really therapeutic in a way, like to be centered back to my nostalgic roots.”

Throughout the film’s conception and production, the most emotional and touching aspect of her role was always the thought of young Asian children who will eventually watch the film:
“I’m excited for Asian kids to watch it and see just a part of them represented in a really cool way and it’s all about these kids stepping outside of whatever it is that scares them, and for each character that’s something different. It’s about getting closer to the things that inspire you and it’s about adventure.”

Yi certainly appears to be the strong female character many Asian girls could only dream of seeing on screen in previous generations. “It’s just such a good heartwarming, funny and sweet film, I’m very excited for young Chinese girls to see themselves in Yi because she’s so fiercely independent and really learns the power of vulnerability throughout the film because I think that’s one of the most important lessons for all of us to learn.”

“I’m excited for kids, not just Asian kids, I’m excited for White kids to see themselves in an Asian character because that reversal is also just as important because Asian kids have been doing that for a very very long time and now I think it’s equally as important for everyone to see it,” Bennet added,

Like many other Asian children who grew up around the influences of media, primarily Western media, Bennet understands the lasting effects of diverse representation on a child’s mind and why characters like Yi are so necessary:
“It implants in your mind what you believe you can do and what you can’t. When you’re a young kid and you don’t see anyone that looks like you on screen you think you have to be a certain way to be the princess or to be the hero or to be the superhero, you think, ‘Oh if I don’t look like that, then I don’t think I can be that.’ I know it did that for me. I thought that I’d have to be a certain way to make it and that shouldn’t be the case at all,” she tells us.

“I wish that I had a Yi when I was a kid, I think it would have changed my perspective on a lot of things so I hope this does that.”

The discussions regarding authentic representation within the Asian American community have often debated who is truly “Asian” enough to represent us in the media. As a person of mixed heritage, Bennet was ready to address these concerns for viewers:

“I lived in Shanghai for two years and my Chinese culture was so much more prominent than any other part of me growing up, so I feel much more connected to that side of me than I think people think upon looking at me,” she explained.

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