'Joy Ride' Actress Sherry Cola Talks Her Raucous Summer Comedy And She's No Longer Just The Quirky BFF

‘Joy Ride’ Actress Sherry Cola Talks Her Raucous Summer Comedy And She’s No Longer Just The Quirky BFF

After a long day of filming his next feature film Ride of joy, Sherry Cola had a realization as she walked back to her Vancouver hotel with co-star Ashley Park. “I said, ‘Ashley, all the scenes we’ve shot so far are important,’” recalls Cola.

That’s because in the Adele Lim-directed R-rated comedy, she and Park, who play childhood friends searching for the latter character’s birth mother in China, top the call sheet. Cola explains: “We are used to supporting. We’ve been bras for years and now we’re boobs!

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As is all too common for LGBTQ+ talented and black women of color, Cola has, since appearing on screen half a decade ago, played her share of supporting roles, occupying the comic relief, quirky best friend, and claustrophobic space in half. But, over the course of a month this summer, she will have not one but two movies in theaters: Ride of joy and then a graphic novel adaptation, Defects.

Not always explicitly interested in performance but predisposed to entertainment, Cola spent her high school years in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley hosting school talent shows and making comedy videos with her film club, Dragon Flicks. She says, “Believe it or not, he wasn’t related to Asia. It was more Underground (& Dragons) related.” It was during a seven-year stint at Cal State Fullerton earning a nebulous communications degree that he took a job at the campus radio station and began to seriously pursue a career in entertainment. so many interests. I chose radio as a place to broadcast my personality and also talk about music and make fun of pop culture,” he says. “(I thought), ‘That’s going to be my outlet.’ (In an amusing twist, the manager of the radio station, Colin Stark, who also counts LaKeith Stanfield as a client, would become his talent manager.)

In 2014, Cola took a job at Los Angeles station 97.1 FM, at first handing out promotional stickers on the street and eventually working his way up to on-air segments with then-morning show host Carson Daly, who bugged Cola after he was went viral with his videos on TikTok ancestor Vine. When she landed her Sunday night show, she was cast in her first big project, Joey Soloway’s Amazon series. I love Dick, with Kathryn Hahn and Kevin Bacon. This was followed by her turn in the long-running drama Freeform Big trouble and stand-up work which included opening for Ronny Chieng, with both Lim and Defects director Randall Park in attendance.

Defects AND Ride of joy each bowed at festivals — Sundance and SXSW, respectively — but the former in theaters is Ride of joy (out July 7), which offered Cola an opportunity to bring more of herself to the screen.

A nightclub sequence in the film sees the four stars — comedian Sabrina Wu and Academy Award nominee Stephanie Hsu join Cola and Park — downing shots garnished with preserved egg (think pickle but with more protein). “I grew up unashamed to eat millennial eggs,” says Cola, who was born in Shanghai before her family moved to California.

From left: Sabrina Wu, Ashley Park, Sherry Cola and Stephanie Hsu in a scene from Lionsgate's summer film Joy Ride.

From left: Sabrina Wu, Ashley Park, Sherry Cola and Stephanie Hsu in a scene from the Lionsgate summer film Ride of joy.

Ed Araquel/Lionsgate

And while Lolo’s sexuality isn’t explicitly stated on screen, Cola, who is bisexual, won’t be surprised if audiences see the character as gay. “It oozes through my pores. Everything I touch gets weird,” Cola says with a laugh. While it’s not explicit to the story, Ride of joy it’s full of queer talent like Cola and Wu, who identifies as non-binary. He explains Cola: “The nice thing about this movie when it comes to weirdness, we don’t have to make a big deal out of it.”

Cola is aware of the unique position he is in this summer. “I feel lucky to be a part of these two incredible films that show the people of AAPI in a different way,” she says. “Moving forward, how can I do something that isn’t as intentional?” The actor takes a moment to think about what he just said: “It’s too deep. It’s like an Elton John lyric.

YES, Ride of joy, a raunchy studio stage comedy led by female, non-binary Asian stars, is, by its very existence, historic. But that’s not the whole story. It’s also an R-comedy that gives its cast the grace to just enjoy its crazy scenes, like having a suitcase full of illegal narcotics stuffed into various cavities or Cola going “tongue-to-tongue” with the two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis. “This film has scope,” he says. “She’s got humor, she’s got heart, she’s got excitement – ​​she’s the cinema trifecta.”

This story first appeared in the June 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to register now.