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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Five Filipino American entertainers to appreciate for Filipino American History Month

You probably know them, but do you know they’re Filipino American?
Madison Duong
These five individuals you may recognize in entertainment are proudly Filipino American. They value the importance of representing their heritage in the media and on the big screen. (Images courtesy of Billboard, Yahoo, IMDb, Variety and United Talent Agency. Graphic created in Canva by Madison Duong.)

October is Filipino American History Month, a month to celebrate and appreciate the Filipino experience throughout American History.

Here’s a list featuring five Filipino American entertainers who have broken barriers and made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry.

Jo Koy is currently on a comedy show tour throughout the states. His fans can expect two new specials to stream on Netflix next year. (Photo courtesy of Variety. Graphic made in Canva by Madison Duong.) (Madison Duong)

Joseph Glenn Herbert Sr. known professionally as Jo Koy, is a Filipino American stand-up comedian and actor.

Koy grew up with a white American father and a Filipina mother. He started his comedy career in 1994 and was later discovered by a talent coordinator who helped him land his first television appearance on BET’s ComicView. Koy has since starred in various television stand-up specials.

He has sold many of his comedy specials to Netflix and has extended his relationship with Netflix by providing two more comedy specials projected to air next year.

One of the main topics he shares in his comedy shows is the Asian American experience and his own personal stories of growing up Filipino.

He said in one of his comedy specials that Filipino representation is important to him because growing up, he didn’t see many Filipino comedians.

Koy said he takes pride in representing his Filipino background because he wants other Filipino kids to be inspired by the idea that if he can do what he loves, they can do it too.

He shared that his stage name, Jo Koy came to be in 1989 when his aunt called him to dinner by shouting “my Jo, eat!” in Tagalog which is “Jo Ko, eat!” He thought she said “Koy” and thought it was a good name and has since gone by Jo Koy.

Many of Koy’s comedic works are on Comedy Central and Netflix. He is currently on a comedy show tour that ends April 14, 2024.

Olivia Rodrigo singing at the Glastonbury Festival in 2022. Rodrigo will perform in multiple cities next year for her newly announced “GUTS” tour. (Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly. Graphic made in Canva by Madison Duong.) (Madison Duong)

Olivia Rodrigo is a singer-songwriter and actress. She is Filipino American from her paternal side.

Rodrigo started her career in acting at the age of 15 in an Old Navy commercial and went on to land bigger roles such as Nini in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and Paige Olvera in “Bizaardvark” on Disney Channel.

Although Rodrigo had already dipped her feet into the entertainment industry at a young age, she became an overnight sensation in 2021 when she released her debut single “drivers license” which became one of the most popular songs of the year.

In the same year, Rodrigo released two more singles “deja vu” and “Good 4 U” followed by her first album “Sour” released in June 2021.

With just her album “Sour” and three singles out, Rodrigo had already made history by breaking records and winning awards. In 2022, she won three Grammy awards for Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance.

Rodrigo wasn’t just a one-hit wonder either, she recently released her album “GUTS” last month and is still trending on various music streaming platforms. Her music career is just getting started.

RELATED: REVIEW: Olivia Rodrigo spills her ‘GUTS’ on second album

Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds in Marvel Studios “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Batalon will appear in “Lift” a comedy thriller film set to release in January 2024.(Photo courtesy of Marvel Cinematic Universe. Graphic made in Canva by Madison Duong) (Madison Duong)

Jacob Batalon is a Filipino American actor born in Hawaii to Filipino parents. Batalon attended a two-year program to study acting at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

His most notable role where he gained recognition worldwide was his role as Ned Leeds, Peter Parker’s best friend in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Batalon was a supporting actor in all three of the Spider-Man MCU films and made cameos in the two latest Avengers’ films.

He is also well-known for his portrayal as the lead character, Reginald Andres in Syfy’s vampire comedy series “Reginald the Vampire.” He is also a co-executive producer for the series.

Bretman Rock posing for Teen Vogue. Rock has a huge influence in the fashion industry and has shared that his father was a big fashion inspiration for him. (Photo courtesy of Teen Vogue. Graphic made in Canva by Madison Duong.) (Madison Duong)

Bretman Rock Sacayanan Laforga, better known as Bretman Rock, is a Filipino American digital entertainer living in Hawaii.

Rock rose to fame on YouTube and Vine by being undeniably himself in his videos where he shares his life through makeup, fashion, food, family and more.

He made history in 2021 by being the first openly gay man to be on the cover of Playboy. In addition, he starred in his reality TV show called, “MTV’s Following: Bretman Rock” which follows all the aspects of his life as a content creator in Hawaii.

In 2022, Rock released his first book which is a collection of essays of how he has shaped himself through his experiences of growing up in the Philippines, being a first-generation immigrant, finding self-love, navigating life as a social media sensation and more.

Nico Santos in his role as Mateo Linawag from Superstore. The show ended in 2021 but the series can still be watched on NBC, Hulu and Peacock. (Photo courtesy of Passport Magazine. Graphic made in Canva by Madison Duong.) (Madison Duong)

Nico Santos is a Filipino American actor, whose most notable role is Mateo Liwanag in the NBC sitcom, “Superstore.”

Santos shared in an interview with Mashable that he enjoys playing Mateo because it allowed him to represent his Filipino, immigrant and queer experience.

He is also well-known for his role as Oliver T’sien in “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first movie with an all-Asian cast and Asian lead since “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993.

Santos also said that “Crazy Rich Asians” was a particularly special project to him and everyone involved because during filming it was welcoming to be surrounded by people of color who looked like each other.

Like Batalon, Santos has also played a supporting role in the MCU where he portrays Theel in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

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About the Contributor
Madison Duong, DEI Staffer
(she/her) Madison Duong is a senior journalism major. This is her first semester on the State Hornet where she works with the DEI team. She loves all things storytelling and strives to share her creativity through various media mediums.
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