Keiko Agena Has Conflicting Feelings About Memorable “Gilmore Girl”s Role as Lane Kim: 'Have to Let Go of the Pressure'

The actress spoke about her time on the show during the June 19 episode of the podcast ‘Dear Felicity’

<p>Rodin Eckenroth/Getty;  The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Keiko Agena in 2024 and as Lane Kim on

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty; The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

Keiko Agena in 2024 and as Lane Kim on 'Gilmore Girls' in 2006

Keiko Agena is opening up about her experience playing the beloved character Lane Kim on the hit early-2000s show Gilmore Girls.

Speaking with journalist Juliet Litman on the rewatch podcast Dear Felicity, which focuses on the WB series Felicity, the actress, 50, reflected on her time as the music-loving best friend of protagonist Rory Gilmore throughout all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls — and the complex feelings it brought.

Litman asked Agena what it was like to play a Korean American character on the show, when Agena is Japanese American.

“The best thing is to have a Korean American writer [and a] Korean American actor,” Agena said. “I don't think that that role, cast that way, would happen today. But at that time, in 2000, it was such a different time that I definitely know I wouldn't have said no or pulled myself out of that situation at that time.”

<p>Saeed Adyan / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection</p> Keiko Agena and Todd Lowe in the 2016 reboot 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'

Saeed Adyan / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Keiko Agena and Todd Lowe in the 2016 reboot 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'

On what it is like to still be known for playing such an iconic character, Agena explained that she has a different view of Lane than fans might.

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“For me, it's this separate thing a little bit because I think what [the role] was for people was different than what it was for me,” she said. “And so, in a weird way, I feel like I want to honor the experience that people had from the show, and what it meant to them, especially young Asian people, because I get that comment a lot, about what it was like for them to see someone like that on screen.”

Related: 'Gilmore Girls' ' Keiko Agena Wishes She Had 'More of a Friendship' with Alexis Bledel While Filming

“And, for myself, it was such a survival mode situation,” Agena continued. “I didn't think of it that way at the time. And so now it's just a mix of just having gratitude for having gone through that experience and having that experience.”

The actress also said that she is at a new stage in her life where she is stepping away from the pressure of expectation.

“I think I'm at a transition point in my life where I have to let go of the pressure that I put on myself to be the best version of who it is that I think that you love,” Agena said of Lane's character. “Because I love her too. I can tell, when I meet someone who knows Gilmore Girls or who loves Lane, it's like, I recognize that love. I see that you love that person.”

<p>Touchstone Television/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Keiko Agena (left), Chris Martin and Keri Russell (center) in 'Felicity'

Touchstone Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

Keiko Agena (left), Chris Martin and Keri Russell (center) in 'Felicity'

Agena, who has also held roles on shows like Shameless, 13 Reasons Why and Better Call Saul, appeared on three episodes of Felicity as Leila Foster, a student who motivated Felicity (Keri Russell) to lead a campus protest.

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“I always think it's funny that my last name [on the show] is Foster, and then in one of the episodes, Felicity asks my parents to stand up, and they're both Asian, which makes sense,” Agena said. “But then we don't know how I got that last name.”

“I did like that I auditioned for both, where it wasn't strictly only written for Asian people specifically,” Agena said of her roles. “I liked that I had the opportunity to audition for both kinds of roles.”

Related: Gilmore Girls' Adam Brody and Keiko Agena Reunite to Encourage Voting in the Election

As for Gilmore Girls, Agena said that she still regularly keeps in touch with two cast members: John Cabrera, who played Lane’s bandmate Brian, and Sean Gunn, who played Kirk.

“There is this kind of lovely nostalgia for that time, and yet also we have years since then,” Agena said. “I [have] gone to both of their weddings. Our friendship is part Gilmore Girls and appreciation for that crazy time, and then part just like a million other things that are just like friends.”

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