‘Good Trouble’s Sherry Cola Discusses The Importance of Alice
Sherry Cola is a standout, shining as Alice in the current season of Freeform’s Good Trouble. I caught up with the actress as season two draws to an end to talk about the importance of her role. Cola talks about representation, fan base and what it means not just to be an Asian-American on TV, but an LGBTQ Asian-American. Cola talks about how this show can and has inspired teens, but also their parents. And why representation is not going to go away any time soon.
What can you tell us about this season?
The show is so exciting. I’m so grateful to be a part of a show that I’m proud of. We deal with a lot of social issues. We have heart, at the same time; we have these very young adult relatable stories. I’m really excited for people to see more of Alice’s growth and evolution. We dive deeper into each character.
In season one, you see her bottling her emotions with jokes, and people keep saying, “You should do standup.” She’s going to explore that world this season. She meets new people, and she’s freshly out of the closet, but there will be other obstacles if you will.
What is it like to be on a show that is Asian, LGBTQ and representation? You also had Jon M. Chu direct an episode.
It means the world to me to be able to portray a first-generation Asian-American Lesbian who in the first season was not out to her parents, and that’s something I never saw on the screen when I was growing up. Now there are Asian girls in the community in my DMs talking about how they feel seen, and how they’ve never been represented. That is so touching. This is just the beginning. I feel Alice is a real person in the world. For a long time, we were invisible, and we weren’t seen as worthy of telling the story. Our perspective wasn’t valuable, this matters. This truly belongs on screen.
The Asian girls in the middle of America in some city can see this and relate to it. They can see light at the end of the tunnel. It is really important. There is a stigma around Asian parents not being accepting of the LGBTQ community or their child coming out. It’s so scary, but because of the lack of representation, it wasn’t shown. If we keep showing stories and characters like Alice, the more we can expose this type of lifestyle and open up minds.
It really perpetuated fear and ignorance because they didn’t see it. Now, that an Asian mom can see this on TV, she’ll be like, Oh. Alice, when she came out, her parents already knew and they were accepting of it, but that’s not everyone’s story.
Sometimes, it’s very frightening and it can end in pain and your family not accepting at all. Alice’s story shows light at the end of the tunnel. The more we show the accepting, the more it will open up minds. A little goes a long way and we can make a difference.
It was very exciting for me because when Jon directed the pilot. When they announced that, I was on cloud nine. I thought, who has been reading my diary. It was a few months before Crazy Rich Asians. That was so dope. The fact he knows my name.
What was it like talking Mandarin?
We had that scene with my parents. That was the writers and the EP. It meant so much to me. The fact there were four Asians on the screen was a huge deal. It meant a lot that they wanted that genuine Asian family dynamic. That was so cool. I love that we stepped into the standup and the writers are really open to my two-cents. We got really lucky with them. I’m truly grateful.
Growing up, we didn’t have you on TV as you say. What does it mean when you get those DMs you talked about? The show has such a great interactive following on social.
It blows my mind how long it’s been missing. There’s no way in hell we will ever be underrepresented again. We are so hungry at this point, and the world is realizing Asian-Americans can do anything, so I’m really excited to be a part of this movement and witness the change. We’re here to stay.
We were lucky to have The Fosters fanbase, and they really care about these characters. Stepping into Good Trouble, it was stepping ton open arms. We’re also friends in real life. We have a group chat. To be a part of Freeform, it’s extremely inclusive. They value the importance of being yourself. The fans and everything, it’s an amazing experience.