Addiction affects everyone. Any gender, ethnicity, and age can fall prey to overconsumption, or a temptation. Addiction even happens to those on the big silver screen. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, or even appearance are frequent issues to the stars in Hollywood. But usually, only a particular ethnicity stays in the spotlight. We frequently see Charlie Sheen and Jamie Lee Curtis, who get the front-page article about overcoming their addiction, however, there are many actors and actresses of different ethnicities who deal with similar struggles.
One of the main overlooked ethnicities is Asian Pacific Islanders and Asian celebrities who deal with different types of addiction daily. The NIAAA advised that at least 29% of the current US Asian men population who drink are heavy drinkers. It is not something that should be overlooked. Certain ethnicity groups have proven to be more at risk than others. The American Psychological Association discovered that Asian ethnicities are less likely to seek help compared to white ethnicities.
With this in mind, who can Asian and Asian pacific people look up to as role models? There need to be people who can help demonstrate to each ethnicity that anyone can seek help for whatever reason. Here are a few people who help represent the Asian community with stories of recovery.
From Maori descent, Temuera Morrison can be found in a variety of films such as Once Were Warriors, Aquaman, and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. His more famous role in Star Wars as Jengo Fett pushed his career to reach a new level. With that increase in popularity and stress, anyone would start to relieve their stress with an outlet. This actor was known for being the life of the party and was never short on alcohol, but everyone hits a breaking point. For Temuera, that was when he realized that there were less fortunate people than him. He participated in Dry July to help stop his drinking and help raise funds for cancer patients across his home country of New Zealand.
Temuera advises that he is no stranger to binge drinking, and while he does it in small steps, he is slowly parting ways from his relationship to alcohol. Temuera noted that as he grows older and wiser, there is less need for the toxic drink. Slowly he is transforming his life to not rotate around alcohol.
Nicole is the lead singer to the Pussycat Dolls. A popular band from the early 2000s and have recently reunited. At first glance, Nichole doesn’t seem to have any issues on the surface. However, like most addictions, they do not always show physically. Nicole is Hawaiin, Russian, and Filipino, and she struggled with an eating disorder that almost ruined her singing career.
This big-time singer battled bulimia for many years during the initial start of the Pussycat Dolls. Nicole advised that her manager would find her on the floor passed out, and she would black out constantly. Eating orders can cause immense stress on your body. Nicole started seeking treatment once the disorder hit her vocal cords. It seemed hard to be the lead singer of a band when one could not sing. Eventually, Nicole recovered and is now a major advocate for people battling bulimia and other eating disorders. She knows first hand how it can affect someone and ruin their lives, and in her case, her career.
Keisha, born in New Zealand and of Maori descent, visits TV sets regularly. Her latest role as an actress was as Obara Sand on Game of Thrones. We won’t spoil anything about the series here, but just as Obara is an excellent warrior, so is Keisha as she battled with alcoholism, drugs and an eating disorder. This all happened while she was 14.
Keisha became the primary provider for her family from her childhood acting career. Thee pressure it put on her was immense. She also became pregnant at 16 and was a teenage mom with a troubled past in the midst of her acting career.
Before she went on Game of Thrones in 2010, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly interviewed her and asked if she was still dealing with her addictions. The short answer was yes. Keisha had just started going to rehab, and she admitted this as a photo of her was taken and circled to various media outlets. Keisha advised that a weight was lifted off her once she was able to say she was in rehab. With the amount of pressure from her family, child, and career, it seemed that the road to recovery would be stressful. She was still able to battle her addictions and come out on top.
Where do we go from here?
The celebrities that we celebrate are also human beings with human problems. They go through their ups and their downs and are allowed to make mistakes. Anyone can make a mistake no matter who they are. Struggles do not pick convenient times to happen at like Keisha and her teenage pregnancy and drinking problem. However, it is up to the person to deal with them as Temuera and Nicole did with their battles.
If you or someone you know is going through a stressful event or falling into addiction, the best thing to do is to get them help. Allow them to realize that they have a problem. They need to have perhaps a moment like Temuera Morrison with self-reflecting, or maybe they need it to be confronted directly like Keisha Castle-Hughes. There is no time limit on when someone can seek help.
If you are not sure where to start, reach out to a recovery center in your area like Pinelands Recovery Center in New Jersey. They specialize in alcohol and drug addiction and have a specialist that can help you or someone you know overcome addiction. It’s never too late to reach out and get help. Looking towards your role models and seeing them deal with similar issues can help boost your confidence, but you have to make the change.