Snapchat Star Tatsumi Romano Champions the Importance of Media Representation for Asian Americans

“Representation” has recently become a buzzword in Hollywood circles for good reason. According to a recent study from UCLA, most ethnic minorities are still underrepresented across all theatrical roles. However, 2022 also displayed some encouraging trends, with the study listing Asians at proportionate levels of representation for all theatrical roles, as opposed to the much lower levels of representation for Asians throughout film history. Despite this, there is still room for improvement, since Asians are still underrepresented among theatrical film leads, with only 2.3% of films featuring an Asian lead.

If the film industry is going to evolve when it comes to representation, it will need some new blood willing to champion the importance of representation for Asian Americans both in front of and behind the camera. Tatsumi Romano, star of the award-winning Snapchat original series Class of Lies, is one young talent who has been a voice pushing for change in the industry.

A New York native, Romano moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting when she was 19. She got her start playing roles in smaller indie projects. Most notably, she played a role opposite Stranger Things star Maya Hawke in the thriller Ladyworld.Ladyworld was shown at several film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Romano’s breakout role was Missy, one of the two leads in Class of Lies. The series, which centered on two college students and true crime podcasters investigating their friend’s death, was a hit among fans of young adult mystery stories. The series amassed  over 20 million viewers and won a Writer’s Guild of America Award for Best Short Form New Media. Class of Lies was also notable for being filmed in a vertical split-screen format to take advantage of the unique medium of Snapchat. In the series, Romano also acted alongside future stars such as Lee Rodriguez, known for her roles in Grown-ish, The Good Doctor, and Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, and Lukas Gage, known for his roles in Euphoria, The White Lotus, and You.

Romano’s most recent work is playing Brianna in the film Year One, which is currently in post-production. The film is an illustrative example of the continuing progress of representation for Asian Americans in Hollywood. In addition to Romano, the film also stars Elizabeth Yu, another young Asian American actress gaining prominence in Hollywood. In 2024, viewers will be able to see Yu in another prominent Asian-led production, Neftlix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Now, Year One is on the list of IndieWire’s Sundance Wish List: 45 Films We Hope Will Premiere at the 2024 Festival.

With the attention received on platforms like Snapchat, Romano has spoken about embracing her experiences as an Asian American in the industry and creating conversations about inclusivity. She has spoken about her passion for empowering people by bringing more diversity to the  screen. 

“Television is a powerful tool that can be used to cultivate a better understanding of others. Shows with characters of different cultures and backgrounds can really shift perceptions and promote inclusivity. I am thrilled to be part of a film [Year One] with an Asian American lead,” Romano says. 

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.