Perfect Addiction: Breaking Romance Stereotypes

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The film industry, specifically the YA Romance genre, has been producing movie-book adaptations that either capture the book’s soul or turn it into something else entirely, whether it comes down to the characters, their descriptions, the plot, love interests, and so on. Book adaptations are known for failing to follow the book when it comes time for the movie. Still, in the case of “Perfect Addiction” by author/musician Claudia Tan and her team, I would argue was right not to follow the book. 


In translating characters’ looks from words on a page verbatim to the big screen, which was not done here, instead took the chance to further representation. Representation of BIPOC actors and actresses as main/leading characters to show children who look like them they are seen as well. Not just facing the hardships of race, financial struggle, or all the other factors that are deemed to be connected to race, but everyday struggles of discovering who you are and what’s best for you, falling in love with all the wrong people rather than finding the right person, etc. 


Perfect Addiction (2023) accomplished just that with ease. It is a romantic action film that follows MMA trainer Sienna Lane played by Kiana Madeira, who discovers her MMA fighter boyfriend sleeping with her younger sister in their apartment. 


“Seeing a book, I grew up reading become real was surreal for me as a fan. I was surprised to see how well the movie was made, especially after seeing many book adaptations movies. The writers did not disappoint in this production and made many fans of books quite happy to see the final result, “ Victoria C., 20, (she/hers) exclaimed when talking about her initial reactions to watching the film for the first time. 


From then, her world was turned upside down, and she had no place to go until she made a deal with one, Kayden Williams, played by Ross Butler. Kayden was an underground fighter for whom Sienna saw real potential, and she needed a place to stay and he needed to beat her ex and his rival, Jax Deneris, played by Model Matthen Noska. Her goal was to break Jax just like how he hurt her, but she discovered she didn’t need anyone. She didn’t need to bury her power for another man to shine and stop this cycle of ‘perfect addiction’ to loving someone else and their dreams, not her own. Despite knowing what she felt for Kayden was real, it was time to think about her and her future. Her future as a female MMA boxer and nothing would get in the way, not even men. Taking her newly founded trust for herself, owning her power, and choosing to forgive those who hurt her, not for them but for her. 


“ ‘Perfect Addiction’ ” captivates the badass of a woman and how strong women are. Kiana Madeira portrays Sienna Lane perfectly in the film, and I couldn’t think of anyone to play her than Kiana. Ross Butler as Kayden Williams and Matthew Noszka as Jax Deneris bring our favorite male characters to life and meet my expectations of how I wanted the characters to be portrayed. I hope we get a sequel to the film so I can enjoy it all over again.” 

Claudia Tan and the film’s director Castille Landon made it a point to show diversity in movies like this one where the ‘blue-eyed pretty privileged white- male’ is the frontrunner of the film, but the ‘tall, dark, and handsome Asian-American’ is the leading man instead, “With the change of the times, we see more BIPOC in movies and playing characters that are considered “white.” This is important because diversity should be a main priority when it comes to creating any show or film because we are all different when it comes to color, ethnicity, race, and more, “ said Victoria. 


Fans like Victoria are noticing how much in the Hollywood industry the importance of portraying BIPOC actors in a space where it allows the audience to see themselves as the main character or main love interest but represented nonetheless in a standard capacity. Not pushed to the side where you see one type of individual that makes BIPOC communities question their worth because they are not being represented in romantic relationships. “I believe more romance films will follow with the representations because the times have changed, and so have people’s wants. As a POC, seeing people who look like me on the big screen is important. Not only am I able to connect to them, but able to draw inspiration from them.”


The unique experience of seeing yourself and others who look like you in film/television outside the ‘normal’ scope of parts BIPOC actors are known for not known to be cast in allows young people to be more accepting of themselves and who they are—impacting them at such a young age to love themselves because society still tells them not to. “There was not as much representation in the past because people were used to the normality of people being a certain look in movies. This affects how people view themselves, and others see them. They never considered others and cast people they believed the audience would like when half of the world’s population is covered with POC. There was always a stereotype regarding BIPOC succeeding in their careers,” stated Victoria. 


More films need to follow the steps of Perfect Addiction, and hopefully, more will pave the way for more BIPOC representation in the romance genre. 


“This film will hold an impact because of this representation. This film will inspire others, especially young and new writers in the industry and audiences. Perfect Addiction paves the way for more representation in films in the future,” exclaimed Victoria.