“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

“If you were a character in Gilmore Girls, you’d be Lane.”

It wasn’t until years later when I finally watched the show that I realized who Lane was: the Asian-American best friend, loyal beyond compare, but always the supporting character. In the countless films and shows I voraciously consumed in the years since, my fate was sealed, forever the bookworm, sidelined and unworthy of being the star of my own story.

That changed May of 2016, the first time I saw myself. Watching comedian Ali Wong prance around the stage seven-and-a-half months pregnant in her Netflix special, I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed so hard that I started crying all over again. She was hilarious and bold, and broke every preconceived notion of what it means to be an Asian-American female. I had not even realized what was missing until I saw it—representation not as a stereotype, but rather as a human being.

Now, I’m determined to tell stories that reflect this diverse and beautiful world we live in. I want to uplift the human spirit by celebrating the nuances and complexities of our own unique identities.

One day, my daughter won’t have to settle for imagining herself as the hero of the story—who she sees on the screen will simply be a reflection of herself.

— Marilyn Wang