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Lana Condor Talks To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Lana plays lead character Lara Jean in the new Netflix movie.

Aug 15, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

Pretty Asian-American actress Lana Condor played Jubilee (Jubilation Lee) in X-Men: Apocalypse and can be seen soon as Koyomi in the new Alita: Battle Angel movie based on the Japanese Manga series. She was adopted from Vietnam along with her brother by American parents and has generously established a fund to send underprivileged young girls from her home country to school.

Lana Condor InterviewLana Condor

Lana went to the famous Notre Dame Academy girls’ school in the L.A. area and, like Dakota Fanning and others before her, appeared in theater productions like “Hairspray” before graduating in 2015. Ballet was a big part of Lana’s early life as she trained with several famous companies and attended the Professional Performing Arts School in NYC her freshman year.

Lana as Jubilee in X-Men: ApocalypseLana as Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse

On August 17th you can catch Lana on Netflix in her portrayal of shy high schooler Lara Jean Covey in the movie adaptation of popular novel “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”. Lara is a teen who wrote fantasy love letters to various boys throughout her life but never mailed them. When the letters end up in the lands of the targeted boys, poor Lara will have some serious explaining to do. To convince especially one favorite boy that, of course this wasn’t serious, she and another boy pretend to be a couple to make their crushes jealous. Does this ever really work?

To All the Boys I've Loved Before Novel CoverTo All the Boys I've Loved Before Novel

Calling Kidzworld from New York, Lana told us about her own embarrassing moments, fun on and off set, what she expects when dating and more!

Kidzworld: Had you read the novel before you got the part, did you read it after or just stick to the script?

  • Lana: Actually I read the book before the first audition and continued to read it on set throughout the whole audition and filming process so I know everything about “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (she laughs).

Kidzworld: Did you shoot in Vancouver?

  • Lana: Yeah and it’s so lovely. I’m doing another show there pretty soon (“Deadly Class” for Syfy Channel?) so I think I’m going to spend a lot of time in Canada.

Lara with sisters Margot and KittyLara with sisters Margot and KittyCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: Did you and the other cast members get to meet and bond there a bit before shooting?

  • Lana: I had a chemistry read with Noah (Centineo who plays Peter) before going to Vancouver so I got to bond with Noah and I also chemistry read with Janel (Parrish who plays older sis Margot) then we got to Vancouver and we had a couple of days before shooting where we all got to bond and go out and know each other really well. When we started working, we basically spent 24/7 together so we became like a family.

Lara and Peter seal the deal on their fake romanceLara and Peter seal the deal on their fake romanceCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: Lara Jean in the movie has secret love letters she wrote but never mailed getting passed out to the boys she “loved”. Have you ever been embarrassed by a text, a message or written note that someone went public with? Or did anyone snoop into your diary or journal?

  • Lana: No but when I was younger, the only way I was allowed to have a cell phone was if mom and dad had my passcode and I left my phone out on the table and went to bed so that was an exciting experience, “Oh god, they’re reading my messages”, so I deleted a lot of stuff I think when I was texting crushes and stuff. I’m pretty dang positive they read it though.

Lara thinks about her secret lettersLara thinks about her secret lettersCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: Yikes, embarrassing! How do you most relate to your character Lara and how are you very different from her?

  • Lana: I think one of the main differences is that I’m a little bit more outgoing but that hasn’t always been the case. I think I’ve become more extroverted since I’ve been in the entertainment industry but when I was in high school (Notre Dame Academy, a famous girls’ school in the L.A. area), I was definitely more of an introvert and more like Lara. I think we both kind of lived in our own fantasy worlds which I can truly relate to. I think she has a subtle, awesome sense of humor which I really appreciate. I hope I’m funny so there’s that as well. I do actually write letters to my family and loved ones so in that sense we’re very similar as well.

Peter and Lara take a selfiePeter and Lara take a selfieCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: Have you ever liked two guys at once and had to choose?

  • Lana: I don’t really think so.

Kidzworld:  Then have you ever put a guy in the friend zone but then the relationship got closer?

  • Lana: Yeah, that’s happened.

Lara Jean writes a contract for the fake relationship with PeterLara Jean writes a contract for the fake relationship with PeterCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: What must a guy never do on a date if he wants to see you again?

  • Lana: Well, I know what they should do. They should be funny. They should champion you and compliment you and make you feel like a princess. Guys I’ve dated could be on the phone a little bit more in terms of texting me. I want them to be excited to hang out instead of making it seem like they are gracing you with their presence.

Peter drives girlfriend Lara and her sis Kitty to schoolPeter drives girlfriend Lara and her sis Kitty to schoolCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: For sure. I love that you created a fund to help put Vietnamese girls through school. Why were you inspired to do that?

  • Lana: Well, I was adopted from Vietnam and I often think about how quickly and easily my life could have been so different if I hadn’t been adopted. Education is the most powerful tool for everything but certainly to create opportunities for yourself and I know that not everyone has the privilege of an education like here in America. I really wanted girls who didn’t have the opportunity to have an education because of multiple reasons to get one.

Lara and Peter aren't even friendly at firstLara and Peter aren't even friendly at firstCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: Great! What is your fave date movie?  Mine is still the classic Pretty in Pink. It’s timeless.

Kidzworld: Great choice! You’ve been in some serious ballet companies. Ever tempted to keep up that career and drop acting?

  • Lana: Oh no. I’d use it for my acting. My background is in dance but as soon as I found acting and realized that I could entertain people not just with my body but with what comes out of my mouth, I was into that. Dancing is so brutally taxing on your body. I think I was kind of over it. But, I’m thrilled that my background was in dance because I think it’s helped me in terms of knowing how to present myself, especially in action projects. I think it’s just body awareness. I don’t regret all the time I spent training in dance.

Margot and Kitty hope Lara gets a boyfriendMargot and Kitty hope Lara gets a boyfriendCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: Speaking of action, who do you play in the Alita: Battle Angel movie?

  • Lana: I play Koyomi (A freelance teen photographer in the Japanese Manga series. Still not pinned down for the movie). I haven’t been prepped to really talk about that yet.

This romance is so not fake anymoreThis romance is so not fake anymoreCourtesy of Netlix

Kidzworld: We’ll catch you later on that. Why will teens and tweens really enjoy seeing “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”?

  • Lana: My hope is that they can relate to Lara Jean even if it’s just to a piece of her. The things that she goes through are universal to the teen and tween experience. Everyone in high school or middle school has had that experience where they felt like they didn’t fit in or were afraid to show who they really are to the world for fear of rejection so hopefully teens and tweens can relate to that and realize they are not alone.

See “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on Netflix starting Friday, August 17th

Have Your Say

Have you felt like you didn’t fit in at school? Did anything you did in the past ever come back to embarrass or haunt you? Get personal with a comment below!