Slouched over an office chair in a pair of jeans and a baseball cap, Eddie Shin looked very much in character for the part of Henry Cho, the former love interest of Lane Kim on the WB network's popular TV show "Gilmore Girls."
But Lane wasn't in the scene, Rory was half a country away, and there was no set and no director yelling "cut" every five minutes.
On Wednesday night, Shin spoke to a multiethnic group of 14 students during an Asian-American cinema class. He talked mostly about his experiences as a minority actor in the majority-ruled entertainment industry.
"I never felt the pressure of representing Asian Americans early on in my career because Chicago was such a progressive city," said Shin, an Illinois native. "But now when I'm in L.A., I'm not only an actor trying to get a job, I'm an actor who has 10 million Asians at his back saying, 'Don't suck.'"
Asian-American studies Prof. Ben Kim began his class with two film clips from Fox's "That '80s Show," in which Shin played Roger, a Ronald Reagan-obsessed friend of the show's main family. Kim then turned the class into an hour-and-a-half question-and-answer session with the actor.
Shin acknowledged pride in his heritage, saying that he only distanced himself from it when he felt it was becoming a political agenda.
"I want to be a part of (Asian culture) and represent that, but at the same time people have to understand that I want to be the best actor I can be. Not the best Korean actor I can be," Shin said.
Most students left the class with a positive opinion of Shin.
"It's cool to get different perspectives from high-profile Asian Americans, especially those on TV who reach out to everyone," said Stephanie Choi, a Weinberg senior.
Credit: The Daily Northwestern
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