She was advised to spend at least 20 years in the Asian film market before heading to the West, some asked her to go for something else and some made remarks about her looks. But that didn't deter actress Claudia Kim from making her Hollywood dream come true.
After being part of big films like "Avengers: Age of Ultron", "The Dark Tower" and "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald", the actress hopes she is representing Asians in the West well, and calls it a "huge responsibility".
"Everyone gets their own story. Before Hollywood happened to me, I just took a break to think about whether I belong in the industry or whether I should be listening to whatever people were telling me," Kim told IANS in an exclusive interview here.
"And I was dreaming that maybe there aren't any boundaries. And also with my identity -- being Korean, not American -- I had to take time to think about things and take the fact that those things, which might be considered insecurities, could work better and come as a blessing," she added.
What were people telling her when she was introspecting about her career?
"That I need to spend at least 20-30 years in the Asian market. Or that I couldn't do both. (About) Looks and anything. Some people suggested that I should try something else. It was a lot of things but nothing really stood out for me. Nothing felt right and this job as an actor happened by coincidence... but maybe it was not a coincidence. I like to think that it was fate and there was a reason that they found me first."
With conversation around diversity gaining steam in Hollywood, Kim hopes she is representing Asians well.
"That is definitely a huge responsibility that I will be carrying throughout my career."
She continued: "We are just starting that movement. Diversity has definitely been increasing but still we have the issue of inclusion and that is why I am so grateful about playing the role of Nagini in the 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise. It is great to have other platforms being developed and to see a lot of Asians being included in a project... To come into a huge franchise where most of the actors and crew are not Asians is important. That is something we all have to work on. I hope for it to flourish."
Talking about getting the role of Nagini, she said: "It was all very inviting. Everyone was so supportive. I watched the trailer with some influencers in New York. I was so nervous to walk into that room because I didn't expect to have to reveal my character before the film premieres. I didn't know what to expect and all I heard was cheering, clapping and screaming. And all the people back home are supporting me. It is an honour to play such an iconic and loved character."
Her character is introduced in "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald", which explores the fight between good and evil, right and wrong -- with a focus on belief, tolerance and acceptance.
"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" is set in 1927, 70 years before the "Harry Potter" franchise. It is the second in the planned five-movie spin-off franchise from the "Harry Potter" films. The Warner Bros Pictures project opened in India on November 16.
"There are some discussions going on. I am also looking to do Asian projects. I always wanted to do both."
(Sugandha Rawal was in Los Angeles at the invitation of Warner Bros. Pictures. She can be contacted at email@example.com)