• Film

“Joy Ride” Actresses Get the Ride of Their Lives at SXSW Premiere


Newly minted Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu of Everything Everywhere All At Once, Emily in Paris star Ashley Park, Good Trouble’s Sherry Cola and Disney+’s Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’s writer-turned-actress Sabrina Wu got the thrill of their lives with the warm reception they received for Joy Ride, their Adele Lim-helmed film which recently premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW).

We are spotlighting the rising Asian American actresses in the raunchy comedy which is already being dubbed The Hangover for Asians. The four women shared their thoughts and experiences in making Lim’s feature directing debut movie in a Q and A at SXSW. Held at the SXSW Studio in Austin, Texas and moderated by Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali, the Q & A that followed the screening of the movie was also attended by producer-writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, producer-writer Teresa Hsiao and director Lim.


Stephanie Hsu


Portraying the dual role of Joy Wang and Jobu Tupaki in the Oscar Best Picture-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO), Hsu was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The 32-year-old Hsu, who is an NYU Tisch School for the Arts alum and is known for her recurring roles in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2019-present) and Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens (2020-2021), answered when asked about what she told her fans who were disappointed she did not win (EEAAO co-star Jamie Lee Curtis won), “I’m good. I’m happy. I feel like I cried all my tears on Sunday (Oscar’s night).”

She continued, “But it’s really moving…This is a Texas thing because here we are in Austin, but Greg Popovich, when he was coaching the San Antonio Spurs, said that it’s not the final hammer to the nail that breaks the stone, but it’s every single hit that happens before it.

“And so, every single movie, every single moment of celebration for us has been leading us to this. I really do feel something has started to crack open. For us to get to do this raunchy, balls-to-the-wall, rated-R, wild, unhinged movie…”

“I feel like we have permission to do this and make a mess and not be precious with our identity in a way. Our movie is not about so much more. It’s just a fun time, and we get to do it because of all the moments that have come before that have paved the way and now made space for us to just get to wild out.”

In Joy Ride, she portrays Kat, Ashley Park’s character Audrey’s college roommate.

Hsu, who was raised by a single Chinese mother in Torrance, California, quipped, “(Producer-writer) Teresa (Hsiao) has a catchphrase for our film, which I feel is so good. We will bring dishonor to you all, to us all.”

Hsu will be reunited with her Everything Everywhere All at Once co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in Disney+’s American Born Chinese.


Ashley Park


Triple threat Ashley Park, who is best known for her portrayal of Mindy Chen on Emily in Paris, is of Korean descent. Born in Glendale, California and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Park is an actress, dancer and singer.

She is noted for originating the role of Gretchen Wieners in the musical Mean Girls where she received Drama Desk Award and Tony Award nods. The 31-year-old explained the raunchiness of the movie in the SXSW panel discussion: “Honestly, it is about just being loud and proud of the skin we’re in. It wasn’t overnight for us to embrace our cultures.

“I think with being American, and we talk about this all the time, we masked our Asian side to fit in this country, just balancing those two worlds as an immigrant as well, always having that foreign feeling, but wanting to belong and not feel like an outsider, etc. I think finally, because of our trailblazers, we’re able to use our voices today and just say, ‘Hey, this is where we are. This is who we are. We deserve to take up space, and we won’t settle for any less.’ I feel like we’ve been forced to have low expectations.”

Asked how liberating it was to portray an Asian character who does not need to be perfect, Park replied, “I think what I loved about this character so much, and we talked about it a lot, is that we see her grow up and she’s come to a point now as an adult where she navigates it very, very well, as a lot of us do.

“That’s probably why we’re all here on this couch. But I think what was cool is not only that we all got to play characters that were fully fledged in dynamics and on a spectrum of ways that we didn’t even expect, but we also got to be messy.

“I think some of the most beautiful scenes in this movie come out of us being messy and figuring out stuff and collaborating all together, and not having to be like, ‘Okay, I know that the camera will be on me for one minute, and I have to be here to support this person and this person. I’m not allowed to take up too much space. I’m not allowed to say exactly. How do I make it so everyone else is happy?’ I’ve never been with a more supportive group of people. I think also we’re all very used to being supporting characters.”

Making the movie, according to Park was an emotional journey. She disclosed, “When I got this script, I could already see these characters were so unique with an arc and that we had the support of these three women at the helm of it, Cherry, Teresa, and Adele.

“And a lot of this stuff too, because we filmed with all these alternative lines and all these different things. It was wild. But to have a constant like yes end from them, I’ve never been on a set where I didn’t feel like I had to navigate, ‘How do I get my point across and not offend somebody?’  “I always felt heard and listened to by my castmates. It really was just that kind of environment.”

On representation, Park shared, “I think that when you’ve been through, especially at a young age, that kind of s**t, like real stuff and you’re able to overcome it. When you’re on the other side of that mountain, anything else that comes your way, you already know there’s another side to that mountain.

“You have this lens and perspective and this resilience that is absolutely incredible. And I think that also for me, if I didn’t enjoy doing this, if in my blood and bones, it didn’t bring me joy, not even just because of the movie…You believe in yourself when you are truly doing what you love to do.

“Sometimes it’s hard, but when you surround yourself with good people, and you just have the best intentions, I’m very moved by that.”

Park is appearing as Naomi in Ali Wong and Steven Yeun’s road rage comedy drama Beef.


Sherry Cola


Born in Shanghai, China and then later moved with her family and was raised in Temple City, California, Sherry Cola attended the California State University, Fullerton. She is known as Alice Kwan in Good Trouble and portrays Lolo, the friend of Ashley Park’s character in Joy Ride.

During the panel discussion, Park said about the movie, “We love the alliteration in this house. Humor, heart, horniness. Historically it’s always been so extreme, whether we are submissive or whether we are only just like, ‘Rawr.’ You know what I mean?

She added, “I’m very horny. I just feel like this film is about reclaiming our sexuality and telling that story through our own lens, through our own mouths, and through our own bodies. I think that the number one goal here is to kind of redefine the box we’ve been put in and break out of that box. Every single one of our characters could not be more different. It also shows that we are not a monolith.”

Cola will be seen next in the comedy romance with Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron, A Family Affair.


Sabrina Wu


Sabrina Wu, who is of Chinese descent, portrays Sherry Cola’s character Lolo’s cousin Deadeye in the movie. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Harvard University-educated Wu graduated with a degree in psychology.

The writer, however, loved performing stand-up comedy even while in college and continued being a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show in 2020. Wu said of their Joy Ride castmates: “These people are so ‘annoying,’ but I love them to death. They are family. I do have a really crazy role because when I look at TV, I see thousands of non-binary characters all the time, but no one is quite as hot or interesting as me.

“It was really special. Honestly, the gender stuff like me identifying as gender nonconforming, non-binary, is all really new to me. It was a huge honor to have that recognized in me. After I got cast, as we were figuring out the costuming, thinking about the character, the relationship to their family…I remember I got on set the first day and the costume designer was like, ‘Do you want to wear these heels?’ and I was like, ‘No.’

“It was very clear to us that Deadeye is starting to seem more non-binary in our head. It was cool as they knew me and as I was embodying the role to just give me that space to lean into that, make it a part of the writing in a way that feels natural and normal, the way life happens.

“For me, it was dramatic to identify as non-binary, but not for everybody. Sometimes your friends just get you right away. They switch to them, and it can just be that. It doesn’t have to be a huge coming-out story, and I love that. I love that I just get to wear androgynous clothes in this movie.”