The Rise of Sexy South Asians on Screen

Brown actors like Simone Ashley in "Sex Education," Raymond Ablack in "Maid," and Punam Patel in "Special" are finally getting the sexy storylines they deserve.

Ishani Nath

November 2, 2021

The Rise of Sexy South Asians on Screen
Simone Ashley (Olivia, middle) and Chaneil Kular (Anwar, right) in "Sex Education" (Netflix)

Around 2017, comedian and actor Hasan Minhaj, with his unblinking doe eyes, fitted shirts, and massive hand movements, was gaining popularity — and a new, extremely thirsty fanbase. “Hasan Minhaj is so hot there’s only one gag I want from him,” Minhaj read out during his 2019 Buzzfeed Thirst Tweet video, blushing. But when my friends drooled over Minhaj, I didn’t immediately join in. I hesitated not because Minhaj isn’t attractive (he’s beautiful), but because I wasn’t used to collective desire directed at Brown actors. But that is finally changing.

South Asian representation is only getting sexier, and frankly, it’s about damn time. We’re talking Maid’s Raymond Ablack as the shirtless cowboy we deserve, Never Have I Ever introducing Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as wanting to have sex with swim team hottie Paxton Hall-Yoshida, and Richa Moorjani being so attractive that it causes bicycle accidents. It’s a Sin’s angelic Nathaniel Curtis will make you melt, and certified thirst trap Rahul Kohli brought a whole lot of heat to horror in The Haunting of Bly Manor. Then there’s Sex Education stunner Simone Ashley, the co-lead in the highly-anticipated and sure-to-be steamy second season of Bridgerton. And forever icon Sarita Choudhury — whose bedroom scenes in Mississippi Masala made us swoon — will next star in Sex and the City revival And Just Like That

And while we’ve seen sexy standouts before (hat tip to Choudhury in Mississippi Masala and True Blood’s Janina Gavankar), the number of South Asians of different backgrounds, genders, sexualities, and ages in storylines that celebrate their sexiness and sexuality is finally shifting the conversation when it comes to who gets to be sexy.