Actress Awkwafina said she was “saved” by her talents as a performer.
The Golden Globe-winning star of The Farewell was born in New York to Asian American parents and said she spent years “feeling different”.
Awkwafina, who has received the gamechanging creator award from Glamour, told the magazine: “Creating has 100% saved me. It’s given me hope, it’s instilled a sense of self that I was lacking as a kid.”
She added: “Feeling different was always a really constant emotion of mine and talking to a lot of kids often they feel that way, too.
“The main message that I want to give to those kids, because they might not see it now, is that those differences are going to set you apart. That’s a big message I wish I could have taught myself earlier.”
Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, has lent her voice to Disney’s animated fantasy film Raya And The Last Dragon.
The 32-year-old described the role as a dream come true.
“Special would even be an understatement,” she said. “When I was young my Disney VHS tapes were so used that you couldn’t resell them to anyone – you wouldn’t even know what they were!
“Disney was such an iconic part of my childhood. Those characters and movies and the things you learn from them, shape who you become. If I was a kid and I had seen a movie like this it would have changed how I looked at myself in the world.
“We want movies that ultimately reflect our real world and to combine that with something that’s also like a treasure from my childhood – it’s very powerful.”
Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2021: The Gamechangers will be available to view via Glamour’s website on March 11 at 7pm.