The Hustle: Asian Leads Shining On Screen

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We have a special guest writer this edition, our intern Iayana Elie! Iayana is a creative with an eye for artistic direction, and strategy. She has experience in directing, producing, styling, and branding. She is currently studying at Parsons School of Design for Strategic Design and Management. AND, no surprise but we love her!!! For this edition of the Hustle, Iayana is breaking down the question of “Hey where can I find amazing Asian lead stories on screen"?!”. Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu, or on Facebook watch, she’s got you. Keep up to date with her via  Instagram or Twitter.

- the Light Leaks


Let’s talk Asian Representation! Here’s a list of our favorite Asian lead films. Crazy Rich Asians isn’t a one off success- it’s the marker of a legacy of Asian led content. Here’s some more projects that deserve love!

“Brown Girls” is a webseries that focuses around two twenty-something brown women navigating through the world and how having eachother gets them through. Written by Fatimah Asghar, directed and produced by Sam Bailey, it’s funny, sad, raw, and queer!! Ready to binge? Here’s the first episode.


PEN15 is a Hulu original series that follows two best friends as they navigate middle school in Y2K. Maya Erskine is a Japanese American writer and one half the duo who created PEN15. On top of being a fan favorite this year, PEN15 is now Emmy nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series! You can check this show out on Hulu.


Strangers is a series on facebook watch. It focuses on Isobel (played by Zoe Chao, Chinese American actress) navigating through her queer identity, friendships & career. This heart-filled show focuses on overlapping identities, humanity and the beauty in it all. Watch for free on Facebook Watch.

Dead Pigs was director Cathy Yan’s debut feature film at 2018 Sundance Festival. With its beautiful colors and robust interlocking story, there’s no wonder it was such a success! Cathy Yan is also going to be directing Birds of Prey (a follow up of Harley Quinn’s story.)


This list, is by no means done, there’s SO much out there to discover, binge and love! What are your favorite Asian led projects?

The Hustle is The Light Leaks’s newest resource tailored to YOU! Ask us questions, if we can’t answer from our own experience, we’ll find someone who’s able to. From creative block to actionable career steps, hit us up with your questions at with “the Hustle” as the subject line. We got you.