What is Olivia Rodrigo’s ethnicity? What we know about her parents

Olivia Rodrigo is perhaps the breakout pop star of 2021. Her debut single Drivers License was an instant hit, racking up 100 million streams on Spotify 10 days after its release, and at the time of writing, the music video has 179 million views on YouTube. Some commentators have already given Drivers License the title of song of the year despite having a significant way to go before 2021 ends.

Rodrigo shot to fame playing Paige Olvera in Disney’s Bizaardvark. In 2019, Olivia gained further recognition for starring as Nini Salazar-Roberts in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

This piece will look at Olivia’s ethnicity and parents. Olivia is German and Irish from her mother’s side and Filipino from her father’s side.

Olivia Rodrigo’s great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from the Philippines when he was a teenager

Olivia Rodrigo was born on 20th February 2003 in Temecula, California, to a Filipino dad and a German-Irish mom.

In a May 2017 video for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Olivia opened up about the Filipino side of her family. She said: “I’m part Filipina on my dad’s side of the family. 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?”

Rodrigo explained that the family stays in touch with their Filipino roots through cooking. She stated that the family particularly enjoys lumpia – described by Rodrigo as ‘kind of like Filipino egg rolls.’ In a subsequent interview with CAAM, Olivia stated that she plans to connect with her extended family in the Philippines. She said:

“We still have extended family there, but I’ve never met them. That’s on my bucket list, definitely. When we were doing the Asian and Pacific Islander video, my whole family chipped in. They send me pictures for the video. I learned so much about it through my family. That video totally taught me a lot. It’s so important to know your culture.”

Olivia learned her skateboarding skills from her father who was an avid skater in his youth

With the support of her parents, Olivia started taking acting and singing classes at age six. She participated in several theatre productions and appeared in commercials before making her acting debut in An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success.

Olivia’s parents had played their part in supporting their daughter’s career, but Olivia needed them again when she landed a role in the skateboarding film Paved New World. Rodrigo had to improve her skateboarding skills, and she turned to her dad for help. Thankfully, Olivia’s father was a skilled skateboarder in his youth. She explained:

“My dad is a big skateboarder and grew up in the 70s and 80s and he skateboarded every day. So he’s really, really excited to teach me how to skateboard. I’ve tried it before I’m really bad.”

Unfortunately, Paved New World didn’t make it past pre-production.  

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