**I re-uploaded this post (after deleting the old one by mistake) with a couple of additions**
Tura Satana (born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi, 1938-2011) in one of her best noted roles as Varla in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer, 1965, USA).
tw: rape and sexual harassment
I love this woman for so many reasons. Growing up in America during a period when there was a strong wave of anti-Japanese sentiment, she faced constant harassment as a result of her Asian identity and was a rape survivor (she would later track down her assailants and exact an unspecified revenge).
In her professional acting career (Satana also worked as a burlesque dancer and would later study nursing and work briefly as a dispatcher for the LAPD), she helped to offer representations of Asian women outside the pervasive stereotypes of weakness and docility.
Parallels have even been drawn between Satana and Lucy Liu’s character O-Ren Ishii and the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in Kill Bill—there is definitely a rejection of passive, fetishised femininity on both parts.
In Faster, Satana’s character is a fast-talking, karate chopping, neck-breaking force to be reckoned with (with perfect hair, make-up and a killer figure to boot) and anything but sweet or a broken blossom in need of rescuing.