rallying cry

Vardaan Arora’s calls for more queer Asian representation in Hollywood are finally being heard

Vardaan Arora is an openly gay, India-born, NYC-based singer and actor. His TV credits include the Netflix‘s Gypsy and NBC’s Blindspot. In February of this year, he appeared in his first feature film Wrong Turn, a horror flick about a group of friends who find themselves in dire straits when they get lost along the Appalachian trail.

While promoting the film, Arora called for more queer Asian representation in Hollywood during an exclusive interview with Queerty.

“It’s cool to see how excited the queer horror fans are for Wrong Turn,” he said. “That just goes to show how starved a lot of queer horror fans are for representation because you don’t see it often at all, or not as often as we should.”

The 29-year-old added, “As a person of color especially, I feel like you don’t often get to play characters that in the LGBTQ+ community. The gay characters that are being written in film and television are often white. That was something that definitely drew me to the project. That I got to play a gay character.”

Representation is a topic Arora has spoken about before. In a 2018 interview with Billboard, he called out the Grammys for ignoring Asian and queer Asian artists.

“I didn’t see a single Asian artist nominated or performing that I can remember,” he criticized. “There’s no South Asian representation, and if there is, it’s severely lacking, not to mention queer South Asian representation.”

That same year, he penned an emotional essay for Billboard in which he recalled the homophobic bullying he suffered as a kid and the impact it’s had on him:

Growing up in India, the word “gay” came with a plethora of negative connotations. It insinuated that a person was less than. A “freak,” if you will. Before I even knew what “gay” meant, I was bullied for being effeminate. It didn’t help that I wasn’t interested in sports. I was just 10 years old when the nickname “sissy boy” stuck. The memories don’t leave you.

We’re proud of Arora for the way he uses his platform as both a singer and an actor to be a representative for his community and to speak out on behalf of other queer people of Asian descent.

“I feel very lucky that I have two outlets to be able to express myself with and thrive in,” he told Queerty earlier this year. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have those outlets.”

Scroll down for pics from Arora’s Instagram page…

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