Olivia Rodrigo Embraces Her Asian Ethnicity and Filipino Roots

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Proud of her Asian ethnicity and Filipino heritage, Olivia Rodrigo is currently one of music’s most promising young stars.

Following Billie Eilish, she’s the second-youngest to win several major Grammy Awards. She won Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Pop Solo Artist at the 64th Grammy Awards in April 2022.

Most people know her song, “drivers license” (stylized in all lower case), as one of the viral sounds on TikTok, but not many know much about who the multiethnic actress is and the story she has to tell.

Embracing Her Ethnicity

The American-born singer, who celebrated her 19th birthday on February 20, 2022, has been very open about her ethnicity and the efforts that she and her family make in order to preserve her heritage’s traditions and culture despite growing up in Temecula, California.

Her Filipino heritage hails from her father’s side of the family, while her mother is of German and Irish descent.

She stays true to her Filipino heritage through cooking and food, and even states her favorite Filipino dish is Lumpia!

13-year-old actress-singer Olivia Rodrigo attends the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards13-year-old actress-singer Olivia Rodrigo attends the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on April 30, 2016, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: Brian To / WENN)

Though her ethnicity does not define her as an artist, Rodrigo has emphasized how important and meaningful her family’s heritage is to her.

The nineteen-year-old is one of the few Filipino stars who have broken into American TV as a household name. Other celebrities of Filipino descent who have accomplished this are sisters Stella and Vanessa Hudgens, Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls, Shay Mitchel from Pretty Little Liars, entertainment news correspondent Sibley Scoles, Manny Jacinto from The Good Place, and Nico Santos from Superstore.

“My heritage is a part of who I am,” she said about her ethnicity in a video for Disney Channel’s YouTube account in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2017.

“My Filipino heritage comes from my great-grandfather. He came on a boat from the Philippines when he was just a teenager. Can you imagine moving to a whole new country all by yourself?”

Olivia Isabel Rodrigo's father is of Filipino descent and her mother is of German-Irish descentPictured at the premiere of “Adventures In Babysitting” on June 23, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, Olivia Isabel Rodrigo’s father is of Filipino descent and her mother is of German-Irish descent (Nicky Nelson / WENN)

“Some traditions that have carried over into my generation are we actually make Filipino food,” the singer added about her family’s culinary traditions. “My great-grandpa had a garden and he was also a really good cook.”

“I’m Olivia Rodrigo. I’m a Filipina. I’m a lumpia fan. I’m a daughter and a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter. I’m American. I’m an Asian-Pacific islander.”

How Her Filipino Roots Inspire Her Fans

She is frequently contacted by Asian American fans who are happy to see a half-Filipina becoming a superstar.

“I think we share a lot in that sort of space, and that’s incredible to think about. I sometimes get DMs from little girls being like, ‘I’ve never seen someone who looked like me in your position.’ And I’m literally going to cry. Like just thinking about it. I feel like I grew up never seeing that. Also it was always like, ‘Pop star,’ that’s a white girl,” she told V magazine.

“I think that Filipino people are some of the most wonderful, loving people on the planet, and they’ve been so welcoming and kind to me,” she added about her Filipino roots.

A Disney Channel and Disney+ Star On the Rise

The young star began taking acting and singing lessons at the age of six and participated in school theater throughout elementary and middle school. Her first big break into acting was starring in the leading role as Grace Thomas in the family drama film An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success in 2015.

In 2016, Rodrigo was cast on the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark, which kick-started her career as a Disney star on the rise.

Throughout the run of Bizaardvark from 2016-2019, Olivia Rodrigo became a household name to children, young teens, and other Disney Channel fans as Paige Olvera.

Olivia Rodrigo attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Everything, Everything"Olivia Rodrigo attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Everything, Everything” at TCL Chinese Theatre on May 6, 2017, in Hollywood, California (Credit: Nicky Nelson / WENN)

After the end of Bizaardvark, Rodrigo was cast on the Disney+ show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, in one of the lead roles as Nini Salazar-Roberts, a musical theater enthusiast who is cast as Gabriella Montez.

Olivia Rodrigo wrote and recorded multiple songs for the show, including the hit song “All I Want” and her duet “Just For a Moment” with fellow High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Joshua Bassett.

Though Rodrigo was already a star on the rise from her Disney Channel and Disney+ fame, her popularity skyrocketed in 2021 after the release of her debut single “drivers license” which was released on January 7, 2021.

Rodrigo is now considered one of the top rising stars of her time, being compared to the debut and reception of fellow stars Billie Eilish, Lorde, and Taylor Swift during their respective eras.

She has so far achieved:

  • Two Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles
  • One Billboard 200 number-one album
  • Five multi-Platinum certifications by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
  • An American Music Award
  • Seven Billboard Music Awards
  • Three Grammys
  • Four MTV Video Music Awards
  • Four iHeartRadio Music Awards
  • Two People’s Choice Awards
  • A Brit Award and,
  • A Juno Award

Rodrigo was named the 2021 Entertainer of the Year by Time and Billboard named her Woman of the Year in 2022.

Look out for Olivia Rodgrio, a #1 debuting young singer on the rise and ready to take the music and entertainment industry by storm!