Actor Alexander Hodge aka “Asian Bae” from the hit HBO series “Insecure” speaks on why his role is monumental for Asian men.
Hodge plays Andrew, Molly’s new love interest on the hit series. He seems to fit everything Molly would want in a man: he’s suave, confident, and handsome and as we’ve seen can challenge her alpha personality. But in the beginning, the one thing that deterred her from pursuing Andrew was the fact that he was Asian, which she eventually accepted and welcomed.
Rightfully so, the quality that prevented Molly from taking a chance is the same one Hodge hopes to highlight on the show. “I think it’s so important to see a confident, outspoken, man bun-sporting Asian man on screen saying, ‘I want what I want.’ We haven’t had that before.”
Hodge’s character breaks the stereotypes of how Hollywood has portrayed Asian men for years. Insecure has traded in the nerdy, overweight and sexless Asian stereotypes for an appealing, desirable and more accurate depiction of all sides of the Asian community. “The structural emasculation of Asian men in all forms of media became a self-fulfilling prophecy that produced an actual abhorrence to Asian men in the real world,” restaurateur Eddie Huang said in connection to research from 2013.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Hodge went on to say that he didn’t have many examples of strong Asian roles in films. “My perception of male Asian identity came from media representation. And obviously, in the 90s, that didn’t give me much to work with,” he said. Hodge said he also struggled with accepting his Chinese heritage as a child.
In relation to his character’s relationship with “Molly” played by Yvonne Orji, he says his real-life relationship with a Black woman helps him love Black culture more, as well as the interchangeability of Black women. “I would say the biggest thing my real-life relationship allowed me to bring was a more grounded appreciation of black culture and the black community ― understanding that just listening to J. Cole doesn’t make you an expert on the black experience,” Hodge explained. “My real-life relationship definitely allowed me to sink into the character of Andrew more truthfully and see Molly for who she is entirely, without caricature or presumption.”