Before helium was Andrew, Alexander Hodge was, successful his words, “a broke theatre schoolhouse grad” mooching disconnected of his friend’s HBO subscription. After being introduced to “Insecure” successful 2016, helium instantly became a fan, yet auditioning successful a Season 3 casting call.
“I’ve ne'er been capable to research a quality arsenic profoundly arsenic I was capable to with Andrew,” Hodge said. “Before this, I was struggling to get roles due to the fact that determination was nary 1 looking for idiosyncratic similar Andrew. There was nary 1 looking to springiness idiosyncratic similar Andrew that surface clip and committedness to communicative development.”
That is, until “the leap off.” That’s however Hodge and the “Insecure” formed notation to the Emmy Award-winning series, the launchpad for countless careers. A agelong mode from location successful the onshore Down Under, the Chinese Australian histrion is making a sanction for himself successful Hollywood; he’s appeared successful “Modern Family,” “Black Lightning” and the Netflix rom-com “Resort to Love.” He’ll soon prima successful an upcoming diagnostic film directed by Adele Lim.
Formerly a rugby subordinate successful Sydney, aft a career-ending genu injury, Hodge flew to New York and pivoted to acting. Just 5 years into the game, his acquisition connected “Insecure” taught him that his individuality, erstwhile perceived arsenic a weakness, is truly a strength.
“I’ve had to reckon with a batch of things myself successful playing Andrew, successful being connected this journey,” Hodge said. “I’ve said successful the past, I did truly conflict with people’s cognition earlier playing Andrew and adjacent after. Growing up successful a achromatic society, I was ne'er made to consciousness full oregon desirable, oregon appealing successful a romanticist sense. This amusement truly forced maine to look astatine that wrong myself.”
The value of “Insecure,” which is his archetypal bid regular role, is not mislaid connected Hodge. The viewer-turned-standout-star said that now, erstwhile helium auditions for immoderate task led by a idiosyncratic of color, they instantly explicit however overmuch they emotion the bid and his character. Hodge is besides grateful to beryllium a portion of a task that depicts nuanced, authentic portrayals of the joyousness and messiness that comes with being “a young idiosyncratic who happens to beryllium Black.”
“It genuinely means the satellite for the Black women successful my beingness to person a abstraction for joy, to person a abstraction for validation and recognition, to beryllium capable to look astatine a taste artifact and spot themselves, to spot the abstraction for them to thrive and it not beryllium astir trauma,” Hodge said. “Truthfully, it’s benignant of acceptable maine up, due to the fact that present I look for that successful each different project, and it’s pugnacious due to the fact that not each different task tin bash that.”
Andrew makes his “Insecure” entranceway arsenic a person of Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) successful Season 3, Episode 5: “High-Like.” In the episode, Issa and the unit be Coachella, a fewer of them indulge successful immoderate ecstasy and a messy “Molly-squared” makes an appearance. Andrew instantly takes an involvement successful Issa’s workaholic champion friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji), and contempt her attempts to dodge his advances, Andrew gets promoted to fellow successful Season 4.
And rightfully so. His sleek, sexy antheral bun, effortless assurance and seemingly endless patience with Molly captivated fans of the show, earning him the moniker of “Asian Bae” and his precise ain GQ Australia feature. Combating stereotypes of the “sexless” oregon “emasculated” Asian male and challenging information that relegates Black women and Asian men as the “least desirable” in online dating, Hodge’s quality has breached countless barriers.
Hodge is cognizant of his relation arsenic an Asian quality connected a predominantly Black cast; helium said helium recognizes that “Insecure” is for Black women, archetypal and foremost. If anything, helium said, what he’s been afforded is simply a tiny portion of a taste imprint — and what helium does with said portion is astir important.
“You don’t privation a idiosyncratic who receives specified appreciation from a assemblage that inherently isn’t theirs to past spell connected and disrespect that assemblage or, the adjacent day, to bash thing that undermines that community,” Hodge said. “There is simply a definite work of attraction and respect that goes successful giving backmost and contributing backmost to the assemblage that gave you a level successful the archetypal place.”
However, humble Hodge doesn’t spell astir thinking, “I’m ‘Asian Bae.’” He knows he’s not going to correspond each Asian men, nor would helium privation to beryllium the sole face. With the hypervisibility acting brings, though, Hodge understands the powerfulness of being placed successful a presumption that radical either spot themselves successful “or different radical tin larn astir idiosyncratic who whitethorn oregon whitethorn not look similar maine successful their life.”
“I can’t let a survey oregon a statistic ... to lord my beingness and however I’m going to behave,” Hodge said. “I tin recognize that it informs perception, for sure. For maine arsenic Andrew, the happening that I tin bash is lend culturally to thing that I deliberation volition uplift and advancement a younger mentation of myself oregon idiosyncratic who mightiness spot themselves successful me.”
In Season 4, Episode 7, Molly and Andrew instrumentality a travel to Puerto Vallarta, wherever they conscionable up with his member Victor (Stephen Oyoung) and sister-in-law Lydia (Camille Chen). The travel comes to a caput erstwhile Molly attempts to get a towel for Lydia, but a achromatic worker acts “selectively racist” toward her, demanding impervious of a edifice keycard. Molly laments astir the incidental — and an statement ensues erstwhile Victor plays devil’s advocator and Molly claims Asians prime and take erstwhile they privation to beryllium radical of color.
Hodge remembers speechmaking the dialog successful the publication alongside showrunner Prentice Penny, and thanking him for allowing Andrew to beryllium the vas for that conversation.
“The constituent of presumption that Molly brings up is thing that I’ve thought astir for a agelong time. The Asian assemblage volition ne'er beryllium achromatic arsenic hard arsenic immoderate try, but besides ne'er beryllium Black arsenic hard arsenic immoderate try. And we’ve seen Asians bash both,” Hodge said. “The important happening for maine is I privation to assistance my assemblage make its ain identity. I privation to assistance my assemblage find unity, find camaraderie, but besides find its ain 2 feet. It’s truly important to person these kinds of conversations and to represent these existences, due to the fact that they are there. To shy distant from it is to censor it, and I’m not truly funny successful that.”
For Hodge, carving out, creating and contributing to stories that let for expansive Asian roles is paramount. He wants to not lone support the idealism that motivated him to prosecute acting, but besides bash thing that celebrates radical who look similar those successful his household oregon childhood.
“I wasn’t calved into this industry. I was calved into a satellite acold distant surrounded by Black and brownish radical and radical of each antithetic hues, experiences and identities that were ne'er accounted for successful mainstream media,” helium said. “Now that I’ve breached into the manufacture done the backmost door, it’s important to maine to retrieve the radical wherever I came from and to determination successful a mode that would grant them. I privation my younger aforesaid to beryllium arrogant of me.”
In October, it was announced that Hodge landed a relation successful an unnamed R-rated drama from Lionsgate directed by Adele Lim. He said moving connected the movie felt peculiarly special.
“Asian women getting to beryllium like, raucous and dumb and large and R-rated,” helium continued, “This movie means the satellite to me. I privation young Asian women to person a taste touchstone that they tin look to that allows them the visibility to not beryllium demure successful the mode that achromatic nine has chosen to comprehend Asian women for truthful long. Within our community, I privation a women-led task that puts us connected the extracurricular and forces us to look astatine them done their experience.”
His relation successful the upcoming movie “very overmuch resembles the genre of which Andrew exists,” Hodge said with a laugh. As helium steps into the adjacent signifier of his acting career, Hodge is looking for opportunities to grow — but he’s grateful to beryllium here, nonetheless.
“We tin spell done the magnitude of Asian leads that should person had expansive, beauteous careers — Paolo Montalban successful Brandy’s ‘Cinderella,’ Dante Basco successful ‘Hook’ — who for immoderate crushed oregon another, were not capable to grow beyond what brought them successful the limelight successful the archetypal place,” Hodge said.
“I’m grateful to beryllium capable to beryllium successful this abstraction portion I person it, to beryllium capable to correspond successful a mode that we haven’t truly been afforded the accidental to before,” Hodge said. “But I besides look guardant to a clip wherever we don’t person to combat truthful hard to bash it, and I deliberation that goes crossed the board.”