Duchess Meghan‘s podcast is back following a hiatus during the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II.
In a new episode of Archetypes with comedian Margaret Cho and journalist Lisa Ling, the Duchess of Sussex discusses the cultural diversity she grew up around in Los Angeles, and admits she didn’t see the racism that exists behind certain Asian stereotypes (particularly in Hollywood) until some years ago.
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“Movies like Austin Powers and Kill Bill—they presented these caricatures of women of Asian descent as oversexualized or aggressive,” she says. “This toxic stereotyping of women of Asian descent … it doesn’t just end once the credits roll.”
Cho then addresses the “dragon lady” trope, saying that it stems from the “fantasy of Orientalism.”
“It’s similar to the femme fatale … a woman who is beautiful and deadly. Because we can’t just be beautiful. We have to have, like, it has to come at a cost, and it’s kind of, like, evil queen adjacent. But it’s also so pinned to this idea that Asianness is an inherent threat. That our foreignness is somehow ‘gonna getcha,'” Cho says. “The mystery and the exoticism of it is part of it. And unfortunately, that trope has really stuck to film, but also to Asian American women or Asian women.”
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Cho, who grew up in San Francisco, says she “never saw Asian people” onscreen when she was growing up, and so she “never felt seen anywhere.”
Ling agrees, saying the lack of representation for Asians even on cable TV and news channels drove her to pursue journalism.
“To be honest with you, the reason why I pursued broadcast journalism at all was because growing up, it’s the only path that I thought was available to me. I was someone who grew up in a broken home,” she shares. “My parents were divorced when I was seven, and the television was always on in my home. It was like my favorite babysitter. And I used to have these fantasies of being part of it somehow, because I thought, If I can get on TV, maybe I will have a better life one day. But no one looked remotely like me on TV except for Connie Chung.”
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Meghan’s latest podcast episode is the fourth in her series. In previous episodes, she spoke with guests Serena Williams, Mariah Carey, and Mindy Kaling about racism and debunking gender stereotypes—including the stigma that comes with being an unmarried woman, the pushback that outspoken women often receive from society, and the negative connotation behind the word diva.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.