Lana Condor: A Rising Vietnamese American Actress


You may have seen her as Jubilation Lee in X-Men: Apocalypse and as Lara Jean Covey from the To All the Boys film series. Lana Condor is a Vietnamese-born American actress who had her humble beginnings in ballet dancing before making her way into being a star in popular films when she made her film debut in 2016.

Lana Condor was born in May 1997 in Can Tho, Vietnam and was originally named Tran Dong Lan. This was legally changed in her adoption to Lana Therese Condor. She was adopted by Bob and Mary Condor in October of 1997.

Quoting Lana with regards to her family: “My parents are white -- I mean, white as day. When people see me out to dinner with my dad, I think they assume he is my agent. But I have never really felt like I was misplaced or that I was in the wrong family. I love my family and am so grateful to them because they are the reason I have any of this. If I hadn't been adopted, I would likely still be in Vietnam, working in a rice field.”

Bob Condor, who is a journalist, has written about the process it took in adopting Lana along with her adopted brother Arthur in the Chicago Tribune back in 1997. Lana spent a period of time from her childhood in Chicago. When she reached the age of 7, Lana’s family moved to Whidbey Island in Washington. This is where Lana went to her first dance class.

She had the opportunity to dance at the Rock School of Dance Education as well as the Spectrum Dance Theater. Her family eventually moved to New York City when Lana was 11. Lana was able to continuously do her training in classical ballet while staying there with her family and had the chance to dance at the Joffrey School of Classical Ballet and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

As a freshman in high school, Lana went to her first acting class at the Professional Performing Arts School. Afterwards, she then studied during the summer at the New York Film Academy. Eventually, the Condor family moved to Los Angeles where Lana had her sophomore year.


Photo Courtesy of DEOW NY

Quoting Lana with regards to taking an acting class: “I first got into acting when I took an acting class in New York City. I lived in New York for about five years and was always surrounded by so much art and culture. My family would take me to plays and musicals and I always kind of thought to myself that I could maybe do something like that in the future, that it all looked so exciting.”

In the course of her senior year, she grabbed the opportunity to audition for roles and finally landed one in X-Men: Apocalypse as Jubilee. Lana waited four months and finally received a call while in study hall. The audition for X-Men: Apocalypse was her third one.


Jubilation Lee in X-Men: Apocalypse

Photo Courtesy of CBR

Her role as Jubilation Lee, who is a mutant who can create pyrotechnic energy blasts using her hands, first appeared in the X-Men comics back in 1989. Jubilation is written as a Chinese American who is the daughter of Chinese immigrants who are both wealthy.

Another role which contributed more to her rise as an actress was playing Lara Jean Covey in the To All The Boys film series which is an adaptation of the novels by Jenny Han. Lana plays as a Korean-American girl who has to deal with her love letters being sent to her crushes.


Lara Jean Covey in To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Photo Courtesy of Teen Vogue

Just like her role in X-Men: Apocalypse, Lana’s representation of Asian Americans was received very well and serves as a source of empowerment and inspiration for the AAPI community.

References:
IMDB
NBC News
The List

Written by Jan Marbella

Jan Marbella is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of De La Salle University DasmariƱas.

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