First Asian American on US currency to be Anna May Wong

The first Asian American to appear on US currency will be groundbreaking performer Anna May Wong. A century after landing her first main part, the performer who originally rose to fame in silent films will be depicted on US money.

New quarters will have a picture of Anna May Wong on the reverse, complete with her recognizable harsh bangs and pencil-thin eyebrows. The design is modeled in the American Women Quarters Program, which seeks to recognize trailblazing women in many fields.

According to Alison Doone, acting director of the US Mint, “These inspiring coin designs recount the story of five outstanding women whose accomplishments are permanently engraved in American society.”
Anna May Wong, who is regarded as the first Chinese American performer in Hollywood, had a career spanning four decades and performed in more than 60 films.

Anna May Wong, a Los Angeles native, started acting at the age of 14, and in 1922 she landed the lead role in “The Toll of the Sea.” While attempting to depart from traditional roles, she encountered bigotry in Hollywood. Anna May Wong fought for more Asian American performers in Hollywood throughout her life and was honored with a plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

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