There’s this awful stereotype about “all Asian people looking the same.” Aside from that being offensive, it’s also very dumb. It makes zero sense to generalize something about every single person in such a large group of people. Even though most people are smart enough to realize that, there are plenty of others who get caught up in the stereotype.
We all know that old adage, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s an expression for a reason and it applies in this instance. With that said, there are actually a lot of famous people that you didn’t realize are actually Asian. Not everyone from Asian decent has dark hair and a certain eye shape. The word “Asian” implies a lot more than just that stereotype.
Asia is a continent full of countries with diverse looks and cultures and that is why you probably didn’t notice that some of your favorite celebrities are of Asian descent. There are plenty of Asian celebrities that have blonde hair and blue eyes. There are also a lot of famous people with American names or names with other cultural origins so you might not have realized that they are actually Asian. Plus, a lot of stars actually go by stage names that they chose themselves so that can be a little misleading.
Nevertheless, there is more to a culture than embodying one particular stereotype. There are a lot of celebrities that you would be surprised to know are of Asian descent and this just goes to show us all that it’s never a good idea to assume anything about anyone.
Open up your mind and check out this list of celebrities that you probably didn’t know are Asian. I bet a lot of the names will surprise you.
14. Vanessa Hudgens
The world was introduced to Vanessa Hudgens when she played Gabriella Montez, a character with an obviously Spanish name, in the classic Disney movie High School Musical. Then she recorded several songs in the Spanish language so I, along with some other people, just assumed she was Hispanic, but she actually has a very diverse background. Vanessa Hudgens is Irish, Filipino, Spanish and Chinese. I cannot be the only one who was surprised to learn that Vanessa Hudgens is part Asian, right?
13. Freddie Mercury
Whenever I think of Freddie Mercury, all I can picture is that mustache, so it’s kind of tough for me to look past that and see much else. Freddie Mercury’s parents were both from India which means that he was Asian. This just goes to show you that you can never assume, especially when it comes to people’s ethnic background.
12. The Rock
I always thought that The Rock had a swirly vibe going on, but I could never quite place it. I’m into whatever I’m looking at, but I just don’t know where the good looks stem from. The Rock is African Canadian and Irish on his father’s side of the family and his mother is Samoan. So this means that he’s part Asian.
I went from having zero interest in Tyga to wanting to know everything about him ever since he got involved with the Kardashian universe through his relationship with Kylie Jenner. So I have no idea if I just didn’t notice that Tyga was Asian or if I really just didn’t notice Tyga in general. Nevertheless, Tyga is actually half Vietnamese. And fun fact, his mother started calling him Tyga because he looks like the infamously Blasian Tiger Woods. It’s all coming together now.
At first glance, it looks like Ne-Yo is African American, but apparently there’s more of a swirl happening here than meets the eye. Ne-Yo has stated that he is partially Chinese. It’s not clear what percentage of his background is Asian or which side of the family has Chinese roots, but this technically makes Ne-Yo a member of the celebrity blasian club.
9. Eddie Van Halen
I’m not gonna lie: I was pretty shocked by this one. But the more I looked for it, the more clear it became to me. In addition to being Dutch and Italian, Eddie Van Halen is part Javanese. So what does that mean? Did I just misspell the word “Japanese”? No, Eddie is Javanese because his grandparents were born in Java, Indonesia. Don’t let the Dutch last name fool you, Eddie Van Halen is part Asian.
8. Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is insanely gorgeous. She has such a unique look to her so it makes sense for her to have a pretty mixed background. And then there’s that British accent which throws me off a little when it comes to making observations. Naomi Campbell has Jamaican and Chinese roots. Even though Naomi Campbell has never met her biological father, he is the one with the Chinese ancestry.
7. Michelle Branch
I feel bad saying this, but I just ignorantly thought that Michelle Branch was your standard white girl singer/songwriter. I feel dumb for being so insular, but what’s done is done. So what’s the deal with Michelle Branch’s ethnic background? In addition to being Irish, Dutch, and French, Michelle Branch is also Indonesian. Once again, I have learned to never assume.
6. Adriana Lima
When I think of Adriana Lima I just think Brazil. Adriana Lima has that sexy accent and is such a proud Brazilian so I just figured that she was one hundred percent. But there is actually quite a mixture of cultures when it comes to Adriana’s background. We all know that she is Portuguese-Brazilian, but Adriana Lima is also part Japanese in addition to being Swiss and African. And this explains why she is so hot.
5. Enrique Iglesias
Enrique Iglesias has English and Spanish versions for most of his songs, so I just never thought about him being anything other than Spanish. But I was very off (once again). I’m not super shocked to find out that he’s Spanish and Puerto Rican, but am a little surprised to know that Enrique Iglesias is Filipino and Austrian.
4. Nicole Scherzinger
I never knew what to make of the last name “Scherzinger” so the Pussycat Doll’s ethnicity was always a huge mystery to me. Well, things are even more unclear since Nicole actually took her stepfather’s last name which obviously has nothing to do with her ethnic makeup. In addition to being Ukrainian, Nicole Scherzinger is Filipino.
3. Bruno Mars
First off, I had no idea if Bruno Mars was a given name or a stage name, so I really had no clue what to guess when it comes to the singer’s ethnic makeup. By the way, his real name is Peter Gene Hernandez and I immediately think “Spanish” when I read that, but I’m only partially right with that guess. Yes, Bruno Mars is Spanish, but he is also Puerto Rican, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Filipino. That’s a lot of diversity happening.
2. Fred Armisen
Fred Armisen has played so many different characters on Saturday Night Live, that it’s a little tough to nail down his ethnic background, but he’s on this list so that means that he’s Asian. Fred Armisen is Japanese, German, and Venezuelan. That’s an interesting mix.
1. Keanu Reeves
With a name like Keanu Reeves, I don’t really know what to make of things, but I guess it does make sense for him to be Asian and the more I look at him, the more I see it. Keanu Reeves is actually part Chinese.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty shocked by most of the names on this list. This just goes to show you that you can’t get by making assumptions based on hair color, last name, or really anything else.