'13 Reasons Why' Keiko Agena Is Protective Of The Asian Culture In Hollywood
Many fans today might recognize Christine Keiko Agena as Mrs. Bradley of 13 Reasons Why.
But the older generation might remember Agena as Lane Kim in the hit drama Gilmore Girls. Lane was the rock-and-roll best friend to Alexis Bledel’s, Rory Gilmore. She and Emily Kuroda, who played Lane’s mother, Mrs. Kim, were cast as Korean Americans when they were actually Japanese Americans.
Together, they played a significant role for young Asian American women searching to see themselves on screen.
Recently, she revisited her character for a panel discussion called A Conversation of Culture: AAPI. The actress admitted to feeling different now about the character who was, back then, one of the few persisting Asian characters on TV.
However, the actress explains that she and Kuroda were representing an experience that wasn't their own because of their Japanese descent. If the show was being made now, Agena feels the moviemakers would have cast Korean Americans if they wanted the characters to remain Korean Americans.
The actress also talked about how her outlook on the projects and roles has changed because of the responsibility she feels in closing the gap of Asian American representation. She opined that complex and unique characters and a complete family of Asian descent are a must have for audiences in today’s context.
All of that energy is pushing me to feel more and demand more and expect more for myself from what we write, how we support each other, what we demand from the people that we work with, and what we want to see.
Agena’s Career and Life
Agena was born to a Japanese father and an American mother in Honolulu, Hawaii. She had aspirations of becoming an actress from a very early age and made appearances in a few series before breaking out in Gilmore Girls.
In the years following the wildly successful drama, the actress appeared in multiple other roles. She was in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, an episode of Scandal as Britta Kagen, and had a brief stint on Shameless as Brittany Sturgess.
She was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards and won a 2002 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Drama Series as a Supporting Young Actress for her performance in Gilmore Girls. On December 19, 2005, the actress married husband Shin Kawasaki while flying over the city of Las Vegas.
Agena has been in the industry for decades, and according to Celebrity Networth, her net worth currently stands at $300,000.
You can catch Agena on season 2 of Prodigal Son, which premiered in May.