Lana Condor: “I’m a boss-ass bitch”

Lainey Posted by Lainey at February 6, 2019 19:48:53 February 6, 2019 19:48:53

Yeah you are. 

Lana Condor is on the cover of the March 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan.  I can’t remember the last time an Asian woman was on the cover of Cosmopolitan. At the same time, I know that over the course of the last six months or so, I’ve seen more Asians in media, featured in more English language magazines, than I have in the last 15 years. Or more. Or ever? 

So the cover, already, is a win. And then there’s the interview. If Duana and I were doing an episode of Show Your Work this week, we’d already have pitched this to each other. (Due to weather conditions and winter conditions, we’ve had to postpone the last two weeks.) There’s so much good work happening here, both in how Lana presents her personal life and her professional decisions. Let’s start with personal because of the target market. Cosmo markets to young women and with specific content for young women about their love lives, sex lives, and beauty lives. “Dating” is the Cosmo brand. So Lana’s talking about her boyfriend, Anthony De La Torre, a musician, and their relationship. She tells the story of how they met – at a party, of course, and they flirted, and there was a good vibe, and then she left, but she decided she didn’t want to go home without being able to reach him. So SHE was the one who went back inside the party to get his number. And then she texted him right away, from the car. 

Is this radical in 2019? Not at all. But it is a certain reinforcement that I would argue we still don’t hear enough, even in the age of digital dating. You can’t tell me that we’ve undone the centuries of gender role conditioning that has been embedded into our social DNA. And there’s more of this from Lana, even after the initial meet-cute. She and Anthony have been together three years now. He was with her at the photo shoot for this Cosmo cover, standing at the back, seemingly content to just watch, the “wife” of the situation, if you will, not bothered at all that he wasn’t the main event, not complaining that, frankly, nobody in the room other than Lana gave a sh-t about him and, more importantly, not needing her to show him she gave a sh-t about him every five minutes. When it came time for the interview, he waited two hours on his own at Chipotle for her to finish up with the writer who makes a point of telling us that he wasn’t rushing her. When her Cosmo commitments were over, she and Anthony went on holiday in Kenya and then Paris. She explicitly wants us to know that “I’m taking him, cuz I’m a boss-ass bitch”. 

I f-cking love this. Not only because she’s revealing this to us but because what she’s revealing is essentially about money. Women aren’t encouraged to talk about money like this – how they spend it, who they spend it on, when they spend it. And I’d like to believe that this is deliberate, that she’s sharing these details with other young women reading Cosmopolitan and normalising her position in her relationship. She’s the more successful partner. She’s not afraid to acknowledge it. She’s not pretending otherwise. 

On the subject of pretending though, professionally, that too is addressed, particularly when To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before comes up, and the way she and Noah Centineo promoted the movie and the Lara Jean/Peter Kavinsky connection. Per Lana:

The suggestiveness was strategic. “Noah and I definitely encouraged the speculation,” Lana admits. “But it’s because we believe in the story and the characters and we genuinely love each other. You can truly love someone in a very platonic way.”

Well that’s a work reveal, non? Yes, we did that on purpose. We wanted people to ship us. We know how fans shipping a couple can take a movie or a TV show to the next level. We grew up watching Twilight. 

How many of them actually come out and say it though? 

And how many of them get away with it without it coming across as a deception…even though it kind of was a deception? Maybe this is the way to go about it: you matter-of-factly present it as an extension of your work. Also, you don’t give it too much credit in the bigger picture of your work. Because she’s also not afraid to remind us of the obvious: 

“Listen, I worked every single day. I was in every single frame,” she says of her To All the Boys experience.  

Translation: I was the star of that movie. The movie is about ME. I am the nucleus. This is my story. 

Right. But then… why was it all about Noah Centineo for a while? Goddamn her answer to this one is f-cking amazing too:

Take, for instance, how, less than two months after To All the Boys premiered, her costar Noah was in high demand. His face was plastered on T-shirts. His “Whoa” catchphrase was quickly meme’d. He booked a role as a love interest in the ¬upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot, alongside Kristen ¬Stewart. When Lana didn’t land similarly high-profile roles at the same time, supporters saw injustice afoot. But Lana says they weren’t ¬seeing the whole picture.

“I’ve been working 14 to 15 hours a day every single day,” she says. “I can’t audition. I’m in contracts. I’m on hold for things.” She pauses. “He wasn’t shooting a show, right?”

“I like to believe that if I hadn’t been busy and I was out here in Hollywood hustling and doing just as much as Noah was doing in terms of publicity and auditioning and meetings, I would hope that we’d be going up like this together.” She takes her two index fingers and launches them toward the ceiling.

I don’t know that I totally agree here. There are realities in the business and in our culture that we’ve yet to overcome that advantage men over women and especially women of colour. BUT. I do like the optimism and the confidence. And I do like the way she laid it out here which, I’m sure, wasn’t intentionally shady but the comparison was sitting right there and had to be highlighted – the best part is she didn’t wait around for anyone else to do it for her, she slammed it down herself:

Remember, Lana was the one who’d already had jobs lined up BEFORE To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a major hit. Noah was… not doing much. She was the one who was on set. She was the one locked into deals and other opportunities that were already in progress. He needed this more. In other words, he was hungrier than her. Or, you might say, THIRSTIER, lol. 

I mean…she’s not wrong. But it’s direct. It’s fact in plain language with no dressing. It’s so refreshing. And she’s only just started. To read more about Lana in Cosmopolitan and to see more photos, click here.
 

Photos:
Cosmopolitan

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