BIPOC Actress Sheila Houlahan Speaks Out Against COVID-Fueled Anti-Asian Racism

Indian-American actress and singer Sheila Houlahan recently held a supporting role in the Warner Bros. feature film “The Little Things” opposite Academy Award winners Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. 

In the film, Houlahan plays “Paige Callahan”, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks whose fate is ultimately bound to Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington). Houlahan uses her platform as an actress to address the need for affordable, accessible, quality mental health care for all.

Houlahan, being of Asian-American descent, has most recently been struck by the COVID fueled, anti-Asian racism occuring in America. “Growing up as a mixed race individual, I felt like I identified with both races until my race was called out. Even as a kid, I would feel like I fit in for the most part and then suddenly being the subject of racially derogatory comments,” Houlahan has said. 

“No one’s talking about the murders of Asian American elders right now. A lot of actors have spoken up about what’s happening, but there is a profound amount of silence about it. This is not okay and I am extremely passionate about speaking out against the murders that are happening and shining light on it as much as possible.”

Between March of 2020 and December of 2020, the organization Stop AAPI Hate received over 2800 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states. Houlahan has said, “We’ve got a long way to go until representation is truly equal; having a term like “diversity” implies that there is still an “otherness” in this representation.”

“Although I am a descendant from a different part of Asian than those being targeted by these attacks, this is something near and dear to my heart. I have far too many friends and family members who are scared to go outside right now, so I am deeply passionate about this,” says Houlahan.

In 2019, Houlahan had major roles in two films that screened nationally in theaters: “Beloved Beast”, a Lionsgate film in which she had a leading role, and “Wallflower”, a film hailed by Variety as “one of the most haunting films of 2019”. Houlahan also was recently cast as a series regular role in the Amazon Prime show “The Scottish Play”, an absurdist comedy about a bunch of degenerates attempting to put on a production of Macbeth. 

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