The Top 10 Asian American Actors of Today

By Marylaine Louise Viernes

We shine the “Spotlight” on our list of the Asian American actors making it to our Top 10 list which we came up with based on their accomplishments, credentials, awards, net worth, staying power and how well they use their influence. Here’s what we came up with.

10

Lana Condor
Estimated Net Worth 
$2M

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

American Citizen but born in Can Tho, Vietnam, where she was adopted from at 5 months old. She was found in an orphanage by her parents. She grew up in a household of excellence especially with her father being a Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist.

Claim to Fame

Lana Therese Condor made her acting debut starring as Jubilee in the superhero film X-Men Apocalypse. But she gained international recognition for portraying Lara Jean Covey in the Netflix film series To All the Boys I've Loved Before adapted from a bestselling series. She also runs her own Youtube channel.

9

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Steven is an American Citizen born in Seoul, South Korea.

Claim to Fame

Steven Yeun is a South Korean American actor. He is best known for his roles as Glenn Rhee in the television series “The Walking Dead,” and Ben in the film, “Burning.” The latter earned him critical acclaim and several accolades, including the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Steven Yeun
Estimated Net Worth 
$4M

8

Awkwafina
(Nora Lum)
Estimated Net Worth 
$4M

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Awkwafina, likewise is American born, specifically in born in Stony Brook, New York.

Claim to Fame

Nora Lum, known professionally as Awkwafina, is one of the hottest Asian-American actress today; she is a well-known comedian, internet personality, rapper, author and television host. She rose to prominence in 2012 when her rap song "My Vag" became popular on YouTube. She then released her debut album, Yellow Ranger. She also appeared in Girl Code, an MTV comedy series. We put Awkwafina on the 8th spot even if she is about 2 million dollars shy of Constance Wu’s net worth because with the rate she’s going and her versatility, her star will surely continue rising. Before you ask us to also throw in Henry Golding, the love interest of the character portrayed by Constance Wu in the hit movie, Crazy Rich Asians into the mix, we can’t as he may be one of the hottest Asian actors today (Malaysian descent) but he is not American; he with currently holds only British Citizenship.

7

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Born in Clarkston, Georgia to South Korean immigrant parents before moving to Gainesville, Georgia. He is full-blooded Korean and only holds American citizenship. He was raised by his Korean mother and African American stepfather.

Claim to Fame

Sung Kang is best known as Han Lue, who became the love interest of Gisele Yashar (played by Gal Gadot) in the Fast & Furious franchise (he appeared in 5 of these films). He is not just an actor, but also a producer.

Sung Kang
Estimated Net Worth 
$8M

6

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Born in San Francisco, California to an American father and Filipino mother.

Claim to Fame

Darren Everett Criss is an American actor, singer, and songwriter. He rose to fame starring on the television series Glee and received Emmy and Golden Globe acting awards for his leading role as spree killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. We put him on a spot higher than Sung Kang who is said to be worth double his net worth because of his visibility and star’s staying power and because his portrayal of a gay man is just too convincing.

Darren Criss
Estimated Net Worth 
$4M

5

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Ken Jeong is also of pure Korean descent but born in the USA, specifically in Detroit, Michigan.

Claim to Fame

Kendrick Kang-Joh Jeong is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, writer, television personality and licensed physician. He has appeared in films Knocked Up, Role Models, The Hangover film series, Furry Vengeance, Ride Along 2, and Crazy Rich Asians. We couldn’t pick who between these two accomplished Korean American comedians is better… so we just let them share the 5th spot.

Ken Jeong
Estimated Net Worth 
$14M

4

Daniel Wu

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Berkley, California born Daniel Wu Neh-Tsu is a Chinese American actor, director and producer based in Hong Kong.

Claim to Fame

He is known as a "flexible and distinctive" leading actor in the Chinese language film industry. Since his film debut in 1998, he has been featured in over 60 films the most recent being Tomb Raider released in 2018 with Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft. Kudos to Daniel too for being married to beautiful Monaco-born, Hong Kong based celebrity, Lisa S. for more than a decade now.

Daniel Wu
Estimated Net Worth 
$30M

3

DEVON AOKI .jpeg
Devon Aoki
Estimated Net Worth 
$30M

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Both an American and German National, Devon was born in New York, New York. She is one of the most notable Asian American beauties, thanks to 50% Japanese blood from her father and the other half, a mix of English and German blood from her mother.

Claim to Fame

Devon Edwenna Aoki is an American actress and fashion model standing out with delicate features. Her film credits include 2 Fast 2 Furious and Sin City. She also had lead roles in the movies DOA: Dead or Alive and Mutant Chronicles. She is also a popular face in the New York fashion scene, widely revered as an icon. She was born into wealth, the youngest child of Rocky Aoki of the Benihana group. She is sister to famous DJ Steve Aoki whose net worth is at a whopping 100 million dollars!

2

Lucy Liu
Estimated Net Worth 
$16M

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Pure-blooded Chinese, born and raised in New York. She studied in New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School. She enrolled at New York University, but transferred after one year to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she studied Asian languages and culture and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1990. Wow!

Claim to Fame

Lucy Liu is a gorgeous television and movie actress, who had has received two Screen Actors Guild Awards and has also won a Critic's Choice Award. She was also the recipient of a Seoul International Drama Award. Some of her starring roles are in my favorite blockbuster films such as Kill Bill, Charlie’s Angels and Kung Fu Panda where she voiced the dainty Master Viper. She was also part of the multi-Oscar awardwinning hit film, Chicago, with Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones Her fame, net worth and her extraordinary be-freckled beauty makes her worthy of being in the Top 3! A true Asian-American gem!

1

Sandra Oh
Estimated Net Worth 
$25M

Ethnicity / Birthplace / Nationality

Sandra Miju Oh is a Canadian American actress, born in Ontario, Canada and only becoming a naturalized American citizen in 2018. This pure-blooded Korean star is best known for her starring roles as Cristina Yang on the ABC medical drama series Grey's Anatomy and Eve Polastri in the spy thriller series, Killing Eve. She started her career at the very young age of 10, auditioning for The Canada Goose. She graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal and became a bona fide professional actor at the young age of 15.

Claim to Fame

Oh my, Sandra got the Top spot! But it’s not only thanks to her net worth but also because of the undisputed success and longevity of the projects she has been involved in. We also laud her for supporting Nature Conservancy and Human Rights Watch. She makes such a huge impact on and off screen, that even Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) wondered if there can still be a Grey’s Anatomy when Oh departed the series back in 2013 after co-starring for 8 years! One can easily fault her for being born with a Silver Spoon, but hey, she has made so much more for herself, breaking through for the Asian-American, attaining solid representation for all Asians in Hollywood.

We’d like to extend honorable mention to Vanness Wu of F4 fame, a Taiwanese heartthrob born in Santa Monica, California. Another star born in the same city is Aubrey Anderson Emmons, Korean American beauty who played Lily Tucker-Pritchett on ABC’s Modern Family. There’s also Reggie Telmo Valdez, known professionally as Reggie Lee, is a Philippine-American film and television actor who has appeared in shows like Grimm and Prison Break. Lastly, a posthumous recognition to Lee JunFan, known to the world as Bruce Lee. He remains legendary to this day!

 

Lastly, we’d also like to acknowledge these other celebrities who likewise gave representation to Asians on the big and small screens and are thought to be Americans but aren’t really or aren’t anymore. First would be these two gorgeous Asian-Canadians, Kristin Kreuk of Smallville fame and also Shay Mitchell of Pretty Little Liars and You who is half-Filipino. Asian stars who made it big in Hollywood also include bemedaled Filipina Broadway star, Lea Salonga, Malaysian actress, Michelle Yeoh, Chinese bombshell, Zhang Ziyi and Chinese-Singaporean Gong Li. There’s also Jason Tobin who is a Hong Kong and British National.

 

The Top 2 names comparable to Bruce Lee would be Jackie Chan who only holds Hong Kong citizenship and Jet Li, who used to hold China, Hong Kong and American passports, until he renounced his citizenship to become a Singaporean National, stating that he had to do so for his children’s education.

 

There you have it; love it or not, here’s our list of the Top Asian American stars of today! We’ve love to hear from you; just drop us a line on our Facebook Page, Spotlight Media Entertainment or on Instagram, follow @spotlightmedia.entertainment today.