'One of my favorite things about myself is being half-Filipino': Darren Criss and his roots

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2018 08:49 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2018 10:02 PM

Darren Criss for 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' wins the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited series or Movie. Mario Anzuoni, Reuters

The Filipino runs in his blood. 

Born to a mother from Cebu who loves music and performing, Darren Criss has lived a life dedicated to the spotlight, swaying to the rhythms that would eventually earn him an Emmy -- the first Filipino-American to do so. 

His "drive" to become a star, he attributed to his mom who, along with his "sneak attack musician" (a person who has musical talent but refuses to play instruments, he explained) dad, made sure that he grew up surrounded by singing and dancing. 

This upbringing meant that pursuing a career in Hollywood was inevitable; in fact, he is still best known for his role in the award-winning musical series "Glee." 

Now, Criss holds the distinction of becoming the first actor with Pinoy roots to win an Emmy -- perhaps the highest honor in TV. 

Darren Criss poses backstage with his Outstanding Limited Series award for 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.' Mike Blake, Reuters

He won for his role in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace" as Andrew Cunanan, the half-Filipino serial killer notorious for murdering five men, including famous fashion designer Gianni Versace, in 1997. 

In an interview back when was promoting the drama, he revealed that he celebrated getting the part with a trip to his favorite Filipino restaurant in Los Angeles -- an example of just how proud Criss is of his connection to the Philippines. 

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However, this association faced scrutiny last March, when he was perceived to have renounced his Pinoy roots. 

Speaking with Vulture, he said that it would "be unfair" to have identify himself as Asian-American, likening it to "reaching for the minority card on a college application." 

He did clarify this by writing on Twitter: "One of my favorite things about myself is that I'm half Filipino. PERIOD."

"I happen to not look like it, but that face is not what I like. I like the fact that most people don't know it's an ace up my sleeve, an ace I'm very proud of, regardless of what I look like." 

That love for his Pinoy side shone through when he helped raise funds for survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. 

Recently, he also took the time out to send his love for those affected by typhoon Ompong. 

"Stay safe. My thoughts are with you. There’s only so much we could do for this side except send love and as many good vibes I can. Look out for each other out there," he said.