This Asian-American Turns The Tables On The History Of Hollywood’s Depiction Of Asian Women

by Courtney Bissonette

Weary of the whitewashing in Hollywood,  blogger Michelle “Mimi” Villemaire attempts to put the red light on yellowface by transforming herself into a long list of Hollywood’s portrayals of Asian characters played by non-Asian actresses. And the result? “It felt sooooo good.” In Get the Picture: My Adventure in Correcting Yellowface, Villemaire not only pays attention to race but takes into consideration what the characters have gone through and what they would look like. When transforming into Olan, a character from The Good Earth who was controversially played by Luise Rainer, Mimi went makeup-less and writes “Olan was a Chinese farmer. She birthed her babies in the fields and got right back to plowing. I wanted my sun spots to show.”

So why did Villemaire decide to do this? Aside from the obvious need to bring attention to the situation, Villemaire writes “Growing up, I didn’t see many faces like mine on television and film. And because I wanted to be an actor it was really hard to believe that I could ever be one. Only women who had a certain skin color and eye shape were really allowed on screen, right? To this day white people are cast as Asians, deepening the message that Asians just aren’t wanted.”

The improved versions of the characters show just how much Hollywood execs are missing out by not hiring the appropriate race. Villemaire, we applaud you. 

 dragonseedMEKate 1024x730Mimi as Katharine Hepburn playing Jade Tan in Dragon Seed

FuManchuMEandMyrna 1024x789Mimi as Myrna Loy playing Fah Lo See in The Mask of Fu Manchu

AlohaMEandEmma 1024x448Mimi as Emma Stone as Ng in Aloha

MaskofFUand ME 1024x512Mimi as Myrna Loy in Fu Manchu

GhostShellMEScarlet 940x1160Mimi as Scarlet Johansson playing Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost

meandluise 1024x512Mimi as Louise Rainer as Olan in The Good Earth


tuptim1 1024x1024Mimi dressed as Rita Moreno as Tuptim in Anna and the King

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