While you may not know the name Lana Condor just yet, we reckon in a couple of months nearly everyone will know this talented young lady. Heading up her first lead role in a movie, Lana is playing the oh-so-loveable Lara Jean in Netflix's hotly anticipated original rom-com, To All The Boys I've Loved Before.
The movie is all about Lara's secret love letters to three boys she has a crush on at school getting leaked to the lads — ensuring chaos and cringe-worthy moments follow. While we don't need much convincing to get on board with a rom-com, this film is kinda making history for having an Asian actress as the romantic lead.
We had the chance to have a chat with Lana Condor to talk all things movies, boys and beauty — and much like we did with Lara when we watched the movie, we fell head over heels for the actress. See if you do too…
How did you get into acting in the first place?
Well I danced for basically all of my childhood, I was always performing. In high school my Dad made me sign up for a drama program, and I loved it. I always hoped I could be a professional actor but I never that I would get this lucky and all of a sudden the stars aligned!
Did you ever struggle to book jobs when you were first starting out?
I think it's always a struggle to book jobs because there are so many of us out there trying to look for work and there are only so many roles. I spent like three years trying to get an agent and then finally I got one and by that point I had been training so much that I felt really ready. Very quickly after I got representation I booked my first job and ever since I've been working!
But, you know, jobs come and go in this industry very quickly, you might be employed for a month then unemployed for a month then employed for another four months and unemployed for another six months. It's pretty difficult to find a job, but I got pretty lucky in the beginning to hit the ground running.
What's been your best and worst audition experience?
My worst audition experience, I guess, was when for the whole entire time one of the producers texting on her phone then showing the text to the other producers while I was doing my audition. I was so annoyed by that, I wouldn't do something like that even at a restaurant let alone in a kind of intimate situation as an audition! I didn't feel good after going into that one. My best auditions are always ones where the casting directors sit in. They are real people, they are kind and they want you to do well. That's always very, very refreshing.
Have you found Hollywood to be a racist place as an actress?
As an actress I got very lucky, because I came into the industry right when they started to be a shift in awareness in terms of being racist and being discriminatory towards others. I haven't faced as much as I'm sure people before me have. But I will say racism implies hate, and I've never felt that someone has hated me for just for the way that I look. But I will say more of an issue is just stereotypes in general sometimes.
How does it feel to be the lead in your own Netflix movie?
It's amazing! I do always try to be positive. I think the industry is making huge strides because a rom-com with a lead Asian girl hasn't happened in like 25 years! So I think this is proof in itself that there is starting to become a change but it's so exciting I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be starring in my own movie let alone a rom-com! Yeah, I'm over the moon.
Have you had a lot of fans reach out to you about this role? Are they as excited as you?
Yeah they have! They are all so supportive and excited. Very recently, I did a panel for women in media, and a girl in the audience came up to me afterwards and said how amazing it was to see a face that looks like hers on screen in a role like this.
Seeing as this movie is a rom-com and about love, how is your dating life looking right now?
Oh it's so good. I'm really happy to say it's really good. I've been in a relationship for three years and I still feel like it's our first date, but also like we are old and we've been together forever and ever. Yeah it's been three years and it's been wonderful.
How is he feeling about watching the movie that sees you kissing lots of other boys?
He's actually really supportive and generally really excited for the opportunity that I was given. He's also an actor so he can understand having to have chemistry with you know other actors because he gets that part of the job. He's had a couple different working experiences where he's had to make out with someone, to so something like that and, of course, I'm like I'll kill her! But he's very supportive and I'm just happy that he's working.
His brother he called me the other day, because he saw the trailer and he's like, "Hey your trailer looks amazing, I love it so much, but I also want to throw up because I don't want to see you with someone besides my brother". It was pretty funny!
What would be your dream role to play?
My dream role was to play a lead in a rom-com so I am living it out right now! And then I'm doing a TV show, I'm actually shooting it starting this month that's about to premiere, and I play this assassin which is also a dream of mine, so I feel like I've been able to play these characters that I wanted to forever! But next thing I would love to do maybe a dancing movie since I do have a background in dance. Something like a Step Up or Black Swan situation would be so awesome — but perhaps something a little less intense than Black Swan because I was so scared of that movie!
Do you have an actress that inspires you the most, or a career of another actress you would love to emulate?
I think Emily Blunt's career is unbelievable. She's truly my celebrity crush, she's my everything — she's just so good! I loved the character she played in Devil Wears Prada, but then she's just done A Quiet Place and now she's doing Mary Poppins – she's not in a box and I really love that. I am also obsessed with her relationship with John Krasinski! The way they handle their relationship in the same industry is something that I look at up to. I worship the ground she works on. Someday if I ever get to meet her, I'm just going to lose my shit.
Quick fire COSMO chat with Lana Condor:
What's your favourite Netflix show to binge on?
New Girl, although it's not a Netflix original.
What's the one snack that you can never resist?
What's your favourite fashion brand?
I love Reformation.
What's your favourite beauty brand?
I love tarte the cosmetic line but I love 5YINA. It's a holistic Chinese medicine skincare line and their products are unbelievable – it changed my life, my face and my skin so that's definitely a good one.
What's your favourite beauty hack?
My favourite beauty hack I suppose would be, this is well known thing, but using bronzer as eyeshadow.
Who is your favourite co-star in X-Men?
OMG, Sophie [Turner]. Oh that's a really hard question!
Did you guys hang out all the time on set?
Yeah we actually lived together for a second in Montreal when we were shooting. We all got really close and Sophie is an incredible girl. That's who I spent most of my time with.
Does that mean you're going to the wedding?
I don't know. That's a good question! I haven't heard much about it so I don't know. I know that it seems like that they are trying to have s smaller wedding – so my feelings won't be hurt if I don't get an invited to the wedding but it will be very cool if I do.