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ClexaCon, an LGBTQ convention about queer representation in television and media, was held in Las Vegas, NV March 3-5, and OMFGTV was among the attendees. We were able to sit down and talk with several of the guests appearing on panels, and they all had a lot to say about why they were there and what the convention means to them, but one commonality several of the guests spoke about was the matter of representation and why it is important.
Representation is a hot topic right now, whether it be about queer representation or representation about people of color or women, it is something hotly debated and needs to be addressed. Actors and creators such as Ali Liebert, Aasha Davis, Natasha Negovanlis, Alice Wu, Michelle Krusiec, and Lynn Chen opened up about why representation matters to them.
“I think asking how much does representation matter is like asking how much does air matter?” Actress Ali Liebert (“Bomb Girls,” “Lost Girl”) opened up about why representation is important to her, and why conventions such as ClexaCon are so important. “To me, it’s such a huge question, and it matters so much. And I think this conference, and everyone who came and everyone that participated, I think that that anything we can do to keep being ourselves and not hiding is so excellent.”
Aasha Davis (“South of Nowhere”) thinks representation is something that should be changing due to social media and the fact we can share our stories with anyone willing to listen, but isn’t sure if that’s how things are going. “I’m trying to decide if we’re more adversaries or we’re coming together because of it [social media]. And I’m still torn, I don’t know. But I’m hoping that the more you hear other peoples stories and the representation of those stories will matter to other people.” Aasha feels lucky that she’s been around all kinds of people and really gotten to know their stories working in Hollywood, but she acknowledges just how rare her experience is. “I’m hoping that other people will get those stories by being on social media and blogs and stuff like that because we are able to experience them.”
KindaTV star Natasha Negovanlis opened up about why representation and diversity matter to her while casting her new project ‘Clairevoyant’. “It’s really important to me to cast as diversely as possible. Obviously Annie (Briggs, co-star) and I are both Caucasian and I feel like there might not be room for more Caucasian women.” In fact, Natasha didn’t even want to be in the show herself, thinking there wouldn’t be enough diversity, but she was convinced that it would be best for her to act in it as well.
‘Saving Face‘ writer Alice Wu opened up about her experience as a queer Asian woman in film and what kinds of stories stick with her the most. “I feel in my bones that the best stories are the ones that arise from your deepest experiences. And I always felt like the more specific you get with characters, the more human they feel, and therefore the more universal they are.” Wu wants the opportunity to continue writing stories from her standpoint, stories where she can make a real connection with her audience through the stories. “It’s just like a visceral feeling when I see another queer person onscreen, when I see another Asian person on screen. I strongly feel a stronger sense of belonging.”
Alice Wu isn’t the only ‘Saving Face‘ alum we caught up with, stars Michelle Krusiec and Lynn Chen also open up about representation and how it’s changed. According to Krusiec, accurate representation is about “intention and completion.” She goes on to explain, “There’s intention there to be diverse, but the completion generally is not there. However, within the last year I feel like diversity has become kind of a current trendy topic. So whether that starts to manifest itself or not is still yet to be seen.” Chen piggybacks off of her co-stars idea and adds how the Asian community is becoming much more vocal about misrepresentation. “I think that the Asian community has really stepped up to become super vocal about movies where there’s a lot of whitewashing going on. Where people of one race are playing people of another race, and finally saying ‘this is wrong.'”
Representation will continue to be a hot topic until it is formally addressed and fixed, and it looks like these women are ready to lead that fight. Here is to strong and accurate representation across all media platforms!