Hollywood movie makers will often take minority actresses and purposely place them within the white aesthetic in order to make the actress or movie in which they star in more marketable. Typically the closer the actress is in approaching The White Beauty Standard the more likely she will be deemed acceptable.

Read this on Hollywood’s Golden Age (Links to an external site.), studios not only anglicized the names of actors but also expected them to downplay their ethnic origins. As such, several movie stars who weren’t solely of European heritage worked to adjust their appearances so they passed for white in film, their personal lives, or both. Fast forward to modern days, and many actors today are bi-racial but still pass for white. Actress Troian Bellisario plays the ultra-white, waspySpencer Hastings (Links to an external site.)on Pretty Little Liars. In real life, her mother has an African and Creole family lineage. Her father is Italian and Serbian.

Actress Maya Rudolf is the daughter of soul singer singer Minnie Riperton and songwriter-producer Richard Rudolph. Because her mother was black and her father is Jewish, she has played a range of characters from a white woman in movies likeBridesmaids (Links to an external site.)to spoofing Beyonce (Links to an external site.) while on her stint at Saturday Night Live.

Guardians of the Galaxy actress Zoe Saldana (Links to an external site.) faced heat over playing Nina Simone in the film Nina. Essence magazine comments “It seems to me that the reasonable thought process would be to cast a darker skinned actress to show aspiring dark skin actresses that they too can have a role in Hollywood without packing on tons of unnecessary makeup and compromising their natural features”. (Links to an external site.)Zoe Saldana responds to comments regarding her casting in the Hollywood Reporter magazine “There’s no one way to be black,” Saldana said. “I’m black the way I know how to be.” (Links to an external site.)

Actress Constance Wu joined several other Asian-American stars for a critique of Hollywood’s Whitewashing of Asian and Asian-American performers and characters. (Links to an external site.) A mix of rising and veteran performers like Aziz Ansari (“Master of None, “Parks and Recreation”), Daniel Dae Kim (“Hawaii Five-0,” “Lost”) and B.D. Wong (“Gotham,” “Oz”) also address Hollywood racism and changing dynamics in the piece. Wong said that campaigns against the lack of Asian-American leads and casting of White actors in Asian-American roles fight “an age-old stereotypical notion that Asian-American people don’t speak up,” while Ansari observed that ”it’s almost like the whole system is slowly being shamed into diversity, but it’s moving at a snail’s pace.”

What Do You Think?

Take a look these actresses of color early in their movie careers and now. Has there been any change in the way they have been marketed and can you detect the Asymptote?

Cameron Diaz (Links to an external site.)

Jennifer Lopez (Links to an external site.)

Jessica Alba (Links to an external site.)

Lucy Liu (Links to an external site.)

Halle Berry (Links to an external site.

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