Arden Cho’s latest role is of significant significance to the actress – both professionally as well as personally. In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE The ex- Teen Wolf actress, 37 is candid about her role on Partner Track, a Netflix show Partner Track, why she first became interested in the character, how the show intends to tackle discrimination in the workplace, and how it’s impacted her life in a personal way.
“It was pleasant,” says Cho, who is Ingrid Yun, a first-generation Asian American fighting to make an appearance as a partner in a prestigious legal firm located situated in New York City. “It was not about as an Asian American. It wasn’t about being a minority, she was saying “I’m trying to find a partnership.'”
“As she tries to break through this glass ceiling and prevail, she’s trying to deal with the many things that life brings,” Cho adds of the series of 10 episodes that were based on Helen Wan’s book of the same name, and created with the help of Georgia Lee.
“There’s love, friendship, and family, drama with a hint of humor. In a way that is light and fun and sexually sexy,” she says. “There’s truly something for anyone.”
For Cho’s role, being able to confront discrimination at work and raise awareness about the issue was just one more reason to be a member of this Netflix series.
“It’s extremely relevant,” she says. “The microaggressions happen to all people, not just those within law offices, have experienced, however, you could encounter anywhere — in your classroom or at work, at the supermarket, or at the postal office. In reality, wherever you are in life, it can happen.”
“And I like that the show demonstrates it in a way where often the offender may not even realize they’re inflicting harm. It could not be the intention,” she says. “I am fortunate that I’m surrounded by people who are extremely well-informed and knowledgeable and are often asking, ‘Is it racist to speak this way, or is this something that is racist? I am a huge fan of having this discussion.”
“We will have some large episodes in which we go into and then take a look,” she adds. “Even everything that comes from HR meetings, and those awkward moments. From my personal experience, I had many times that I thought, ‘Ugh This is just so disgusting and hurtful, yet so real.
It’s something I’ve felt many times more than could remember. It’s truly unique that we’re telling this story, telling what it’s like. It’s the hardest part. It’s not easy to define the feeling of being at the receiving end.”
After having to endure her own traumatic racist assault at the end of 2020 Cho thinks she is more aware of how she can handle the microaggressions or racist comments that are made against her.
“So I spent a lot of my time was a time when I had to deal with the aforementioned microaggressions or racism and microaggressions, I would turn around and run away, or hide or even think I was at fault for it in some bizarre manner,” the actress explains. “I think it was due to the fact that my culture taught me to be quiet and not create a disturbance. If you speak back to someone, it can escalate.”
As Cho grows older, she claims that she is learning to accept that power and ability to speak out.
“I’ve realized how important it is not to be afraid and respectfully take part in situations where you’re saying, “Hey it’s not acceptable,’ and ‘That’s just not acceptable, or perhaps”We don’t do this”” she says. “I find myself still in the process of growing, and so does my persona Ingrid. It’s very synchronized.”
Through her process of learning over the last 10 years, Cho has proudly come to the conclusion that she “deserves an opportunity to sit in the dining room” and will not ever settle for less.
“I’m focused on not being self-conscious because it’s something women do, which is something that people of color are more likely to engage in,” the actress says. “I’m trying to concentrate on being more assertive and stand to defend myself in a similar way to what Ingrid does, too.”