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Lizzie McGuire’s Lalaine Vergara-Paras Was Once ‘Forced to Look as White as Possible’

Lalaine arrives at Warner Music Group's 2007 Grammy Party held at The Cathedral on February 11, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Warner Music Group

A powerful message. Lizzie McGuire alum Lalaine Vergara-Paras reflected on growing up as a person of color in an industry that she claims “forced” her to appear more “white.”

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Vergara-Paras, 31, posted a picture of herself dressed in a flapper-inspired outfit via Instagram on Wednesday, April 11, and wrote, “Most of my life growing up I was forced to look as ‘white’ as possible. These days I struggle to find photos where I look as ethnic as possible.”

The Off the Clock alum then specifically addressed her appearance in the snapshot. “Like in this photo, the most East Asian I’ve ever looked,” she continued. “In order to see, for most people, you have to zoom in on ma [sic] face. And in case you still don’t understand, I love my face in this photo.”

Lalaine and Hilary Duff of Disney’s “Lizzie McGuire” volunteer to refurbish the grounds at the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank April 27, 2002 in Burbank, CA. Robert Mora/Getty Images

Clayton Snyder, the actor who played heartthrob Ethan Craft on the Disney Channel series, shared a thought-provoking anecdote about his former costar in the pic’s comments section. “You were the first person to open my eyes to the role of race in casting,” he wrote. “When I asked why you didn’t use your last name. Said it was too Hispanic. Made me sad.”

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The “If You Wanna Rock” singer, who was born to parents who immigrated to the United States from the Philippines, uses just her first name for her career in the entertainment industry. She wrote back to Snyder, 31: “I’m being genuine when I say.. You get it white boy.”

Vergara-Paras starred as Lizzie McGuire’s best friend, Miranda Sanchez, on the small-screen sitcom, which ran from 2001 to 2004. The California native lost touch with Hilary Duff, who played the titular character, after the show ended, but the duo reconnected in 2015.

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“Sometimes you lose touch,” Vergara-Paras told The Huffington Post at the time. “I felt good when I saw [Hilary]. Hopefully we’ll keep in touch now. She and I exchanged numbers. She texted me a couple times, and it’s such a trip to randomly see her name pop up on my phone now. … Yeah, we may not have spoken for 14 years, but somehow it’s one of those things where it’s probably gonna just pick up where it left off. Or the way it’s supposed to — slowly but surely.”

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