Actress Jessie Mei Lee has already stolen screens and hearts with her definitive approach to the fierce Alina Starkov in Shadows and Bones. In the Netflix series, opposite the books, Alina is Biriyal. Therefore, many people are wondering who Jessie Mei Lee’s parents are and what their ethnicity is.
Jessie Mei Lee’s parents are from two different countries, and Jessie herself is Biriyal. Therefore, she feels a certain resemblance to Alaina, which may lead to further complications in the character.
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And although Jessie falls in love with both parents, she has indicated that growing up with parents from two different countries has caused her an identity crisis that she has learned to embrace.
Jessie Mei Lee shared a little bit about her experience with her parents and Vanity Fair. It is revealed that Jessie’s mother is English, but her father was born in China and grew up in Hong Kong.
She explained what her childhood meant: “I grew up in a predominantly white area in the south of England.”
“Racism against Asians in Britain in general, I think is higher than in the United States, is very strange and is not taken seriously. People were totally racist and making fun of it. You know , Silly accents and bent eyes. “
Jessie continued, “Even my own father makes fun of himself for being Asian, because that’s what these things are and how people are socialized.”
Looking at her past, Jessie was excited about her future and the opportunity to portray a biased Asian character in Shadows and Bones.
Like Alina, Jessie often felt torn between the two worlds. Located in the south of England, Jessie discussed her dual identity with the South China Morning Post.
“It’s definitely something that seemed big to me,” she said.
“I was very Chinese with my friends from school, but I never felt that way. So that was another thing that I felt I could bring to the role, it is a shared experience of being in one place, but not really connected to another place. But everyone thinks you are. “
However, especially when Jessie began to devote herself more to acting, her identity really came into play.
“I went to audition, and sometimes it was for a mixed race role,” Jessie said.
“And sometimes those roles went to a completely Asian person or a completely white person, whoever it was, which is good – there’s diversity and representation, that’s great. But at the same time, I often think Was, ‘Well, what am I? What is my role?’ “
As the star of Shadow & Bones, Jessie now has the chance of a lifetime to bring an Asian and bi-character to the center of a story. And using her real-life experience with her parents, her family and her own identity, Jessie is also able to tell her story through Alina Starkov’s interpretation.
Shadow and Bones is now available for streaming on Netflix.