AE: Have you ever thought that your race was an obstacle in your career?
GP: I haven’t found that at all but it wasn’t like when I turned 20, I turned Asian. It’s not like Cinderella.
I found that I didn’t realize some of my beliefs until I went to another country. I went to Hong Kong for a year and was in a fashion show and I’d say 80% of the girls where Chinese. I thought, “That’s weird!” I was so used to being the token Asian. There was this realization that I was in the majority, after I hadn’t realized I was the minority. I know that that is a perspective for a lot of different people whether you’re gay or Jewish or Asian. It could be anything.
There are so many ways to identify yourself with a smaller group and it also gives you a sense of togetherness, but it actually can give you a sense of distance and separation depending on how you see it.
I don’t find it for myself but I certainly have noticed there’s a lot more exposure of Asians now. I was looking through Oprah’s magazine about a year ago and after the fourth ad of an Asian person, I had to put it down. [laughs] "What is going on here? This is really weird!"
Then I realized that four is a phenomenal amount, and that was just the first half of the magazine.
AE: And if Oprah’s doing it, everyone else will follow!
GP: Exactly! If Oprah’s doing it…
The Cleaner airs Tuesday nights on A&E