SMASHING STEREOTYPES. Tala Ashe, a cast member in the CW
series "DCís Legends of Tomorrow," poses for a portrait during
the 2017 Television Critics Association summer press tour at the
Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Chris
From The Asian Reporter, V27, #20 (October 16, 2017),
pages 7 & 9.
"Legends" star shatters stereotypes with
By Nicole Evatt
The Associated Press
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. ó Tala Ashe is thrilled to debut her
new character, a Muslim- American superhero, joining season
three of "DCís Legends of Tomorrow." Itís a particularly
poignant moment for the Iran-born, Ohio-reared actress who
described the hardship of portraying stereotypical characters in
"I have been part of projects where it is not dealt with
sensitively or accurately and itís incredibly painful. Itís
incredibly painful," said Ashe in an interview while promoting
The CW series during the Television Critics Association summer
One of Asheís first breaks was on a soap opera. She took the
role to pay the bills, but said she would never agree to the
"Itís still actually painful for me to talk about, because I,
it was such a stereotype," she recalled. "I try not to berate
myself for taking it because I understand the reasons I did. But
I would never, I would never say Ďyesí to something like that
now. ... Going through that experience taught me the power of
saying Ďnoí and saying like, ĎActually Iím not OK with that.í
And if thatís all there is out there for me, then itís OK. Iíll
go work in a law firm pouring coffee. Iíd rather do that than to
be part of promoting that stereotype."
Actress Ashe was thrilled to debut her new character, a
Muslim-American superhero, on "DCís Legends of Tomorrow." The
third season of the series premiered October 10 on The CW.
Her experience playing Zari, a computer-hacking superhero in
"Legends" could not be more different.
"What is great is (her ethnicity) is an aspect of who she is,
as much as sheís an activist and sheís a strong woman and
someone who speaks truth to power," Ashe said. "Itís really
important we have representation in the media and specifically
we have Muslim-American representation that isnít just positive
in a sort of rosy, un-nuanced way, but is a real person. And
thereís so much of the other right now and thereís so much
making Muslims Ďthe otherí that Iím excited to play this
character in what I hope will be a very nuanced and sensitive,
Ashe was particularly impressed when showrunners brought in a
Muslim-American writer to help craft her role and hopes that
kind of inclusivity will spread throughout Hollywood.
"I do think there are more stories being told. I think more
stories can be championed both in theater and in television and
certainly in movies. I think we have a long way to go in terms
of representation in movies. But I think TV is doing kind of the
best job in terms of realizing that we need to reflect our world
and that it matters," she said.
Ashe aims to be a positive role model for young fans and
perhaps break down a few stereotypes along the way.
Sheís hopeful she "can make someone feel a little less alone
or ó hereís the big hope ó if it can change a mind," she said.