You might remember Lana Condor for her breakout role as Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse. Even though she can’t fire off the kind of impressive pyrotechnic displays that her character can, she does have something interesting in common with her.
Lana Condor is adopted, brought into the care of her American parents in 1997, from an orphanage in Cần Thơ. Her new adoptive family consisted of Mary Carol and Bob Condor, as well as her adoptive Arthur.
Just like Jubilee, Condor spent some time as an orphan, thankfully under much less dramatic circumstances. Although Condor doesn’t talk about it too often publicly, the upbringing that she experienced has played a significant part in one of the roles she has played, as well as being a well of emotion to draw from.
Located in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, Condor’s birthplace was Cần Thơ, one of the largest cities in Vietnam. Adopted at just four months old from an orphanage in the city, she never knew her birth mother, joining her new American parents Mary Carol and Bob Condor shortly after she was born.
Her part in the Netflix movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before had her wondering about the fact she never met her own birth mother. Her character in the show, Lara Jean, lost her mother at a young age, a point of the role that resonated especially poignantly with Condor due to wondering what happened to her own birth mother and never having known her.
Condor’s adoption hasn’t managed to get in the way of her heritage being a permanent fixture in her life. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which being moved so far away from your native culture could cause you to have a disconnect from it, but according to Condor, her parents have made efforts to keep her in touch with her roots.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, she has spoken at length about the way her parents would seek to integrate various parts of Vietnamese culture into their own family, including feeding her the traditional Vietnamese dish pho.
It’s an interesting perspective from someone who, despite racially being of Vietnamese descent, was essentially raised from birth in an entirely different culture. Although according to her there’s a belief that she isn’t truly “Asian-American”, she has clearly lived through the same kind of mixed household experience that defines that classification.
Stigma and Difficulties
As previously mentioned, Condor had faced issues before with accusations and implications that she simply wasn’t “Asian enough”. She fairly asserts that she is both simultaneously 100% Asian and 100% American, and that simply because she has an upbringing that wouldn’t be considered “standard”, doesn’t make her identify any less with both of those cultures.
The slight stigma of the way she looks in comparison to the way her parents look has always been something of a constant in her life, but not one that appears to have done any lasting damage, as Condor simply sees the hardships as a part of life.
Perhaps not so easy to deal with has been her experience with the Hollywood machine, a machine that for the longest time didn’t necessarily see it as being a viable idea to have an Asian woman in the lead role.
This was especially true of her first leading role in the film To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, where there was fear of a possible white-washing of the cast. Thankfully for Condor and for the authenticity of the original work, she got the role, a role that seems set to make her into a fixture of upcoming young actresses.
Owing to her own situation and how the direction of her life was changed for the better, Condor has embraced both her adoption and her heritage and has even made efforts to assist those in a similar situation to her by creating a scholarship that seeks to provide aid to other girls from her birth city of Cần Thơ.
Her aspirations for trying to spread the fortune she has been so lucky to enjoy goes even further, with the young star even talking of a potential adoption in the future, fully realizing how different her life may have been if it had not been for her own adoptive parents.