‘And Just Like That’ newcomer Cathy Ang was worried her character would be an Asian stereotype (VIDEO)

·4-min read
The Filipino-American actress plays Lily Goldenblatt in the reboot of the HBO hit series ‘Sex and the City’. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO
The Filipino-American actress plays Lily Goldenblatt in the reboot of the HBO hit series ‘Sex and the City’. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Filipino-American starlet Cathy Ang may have scored the coveted role of Lily Goldenblatt in And Just Like That but the actress had her fair share of concerns prior to filming.

In the HBO Max revival of the iconic series Sex and the City, the 26-year-old plays Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Harry’s (Evan Handler) on-screen teenage daughter who is wise beyond her years, a model student and a piano prodigy.

In short, the perfect daughter.

Ang told Malay Mail and other South-east Asian press in a recent interview that she was concerned about Lily being portrayed as an Asian stereotype in the reboot.

“Yes, definitely,” she said, when asked if she was worried at all about falling into the model minority cliché.

To allay those anxieties, Ang spoke to producer Michael Patrick King prior about what motivates Lily.

“It shouldn’t just be pleasing her parents but there’s a desire to discover where she belongs,” she said via Zoom from New York.

Fans of the original series were first introduced to Lily in the finale of Sex and the City in 2004 and in the two movie sequels.

“I think when anyone is going through that journey, what you’re going to do is push yourself to see where you succeed, where you feel like you’re thriving and so in that respect, everything that you see is actually about finding out who she is.”

Ang who studied music at NYU — she was also the voice of Fei Fei in Netflix’s Over the Moon — loved that she and King landed on music, saying that various artforms are important to Lily.

“That’s maybe where her interests are getting piqued now, different modes of expression there, so I’m very excited to see where it goes,” she said.

Ang with her on-screen mother Kristin Davis and Alexa Swinton in a scene from ‘And Just Like That’. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO
Ang with her on-screen mother Kristin Davis and Alexa Swinton in a scene from ‘And Just Like That’. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO

Ang was working on a different project in Georgia when she decided to send in her audition tape which she self-recorded in a random closet because she didn’t have her usual equipment.

“That was it, Michael and Kristin we’re like, this is Lily and when I got that phone call, oh Lord, my mind was blown because I didn’t even really know that it was going to happen, there were no callbacks so that was pretty crazy to me,” she said.

Ang recalls opening a confetti cannon and a lot of screaming when she broke the news to her family, adding that one of her parents blew out her ears.

“It’s such a joyous moment – you have so many noes in the actor's life and so you have to celebrate really hard when you get a yes.

“I honestly didn't know how big this show was until now and like it just keeps blowing my mind how wonderful it is how, what a big celebration it is,” she said.

Growing up in a traditional Chinese-Filipino household in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Ang wasn’t allowed to watch Sex and the City – she only started watching the series after being cast as Lily – which explains why the actress didn’t know of the show’s cultural impact.

Ang’s conservative parents didn’t let her watch ‘Sex and the City’ when she was younger. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO
Ang’s conservative parents didn’t let her watch ‘Sex and the City’ when she was younger. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO

Ang’s mother texted her to say she was so thankful that the reboot was named And Just Like That with no sight of the word ‘sex’.

“My parents are a little more conservative.

“They grew up in the Philippines and they had an idea about what I should be doing with my life,” she said.

Ang’s family is of course excited, and they enjoy watching the show together which can be a little uncomfortable at times.

The reboot sees the women of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York-Goldenblatt and Miranda Hobbes, navigating the complexities of life and friendship in their 50s.

“What’s really exciting is they’re trying to understand these characters and the way that different people in the world can operate,” she said.

The 26-year-old said the new series sparked heated conversations at home. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO
The 26-year-old said the new series sparked heated conversations at home. — Picture courtesy of HBO GO

“It’s because they hired an Asian actor and so now I’m their vessel for getting into the show.”

Ang added that having a diverse cast will bring more viewers into the story and challenge their views just like how the show challenges her family’s views at times.

“It’s really wonderful and it feels like a huge honour to be able to share this with them even if sometimes it can spark some heated conversations,” she said.

Catch new episodes of And Just Like That every Thursday on HBO GO, the finale episode streams on February 3.

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