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Mixed Ancestry is Attractive

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"I used to think you were smokin' but a lot of that had to do with the fact that I thought you were mixed race and that never fails to get me goin'."
Lauren (to Puck), Glee, "Silly Love Songs"

When being mixed-race — and more importantly, looking mixed-race — is seen as more attractive, interesting, and exotic In-Universe.

This can manifest in several ways. A racially homogenous community might react with interest to a mixed-race character's features, similar to Attraction to Outliers, especially if there is a uniqueness value. A character might react positively to the children or potential children of an interracial couple, or more insidiously, aim for bearing or siring mixed-race children themselves (this is a horrendously offensive assumption about interracial couples in real life). A monoracial character might affect physical traits that make them more ethnically ambiguous, such as darkening their skin to look less pale.

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In animated works, mixed ancestry is often used to justify unusual phenotypes, regardless of how unlikely these might be in real life; these rarer skin, hair, and eye colors might contribute to the character's perceived attractiveness. For example, it is common in Japanese media for a mixed white/Japanese (haafu, a loanword meaning "half") beauty to have light hair and eyes, traits that stick out in a predominantly dark-haired and dark-eyed society.

In many real-world societies reflected in fiction, the most common phenotypes that receive this are those that mix visibly Caucasian/Eurocentric features with traits that indicate another race, eg. darker skin or monolids. Eurocentric features are familiar to and already considered attractive by the majority of the population, but the character has just enough "ethnic features" to make them stand out. This can be considered a "half-measure" approach to diversity, in which characters of color are upheld as attractive but with features associated with white people, and other prejudices like colorism may still come into play. See But Not Too Black. In cultures that are not predominantly white, it can be the other way around: white heritage results in features that distinguish them from everyone else, but not too much that they look totally unfamiliar.

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This trope is Truth in Television: fetishization and exoticization for their looks is a documented experience by many mixed-race people, which they can experience from both white communities and communities of color. In addition, foreign (often Eurocentric) features figure into the beauty standards of many countries even if the vast majority of the population does not have them, resulting in mixed people who do have these features being upheld. However, while this trope usually focuses on the multiracial character's appearance, characters who don't look like a mix of their ancestries (like many real-life mixed people) can qualify as well, especially if one of their heritages is specifically stereotyped as sexy/attractive and adds a specific allure to them — see Everyone Looks Sexier if French or Inhumanly Beautiful Race.

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Compare and contrast Half-Breed Discrimination, a more overt form of prejudice against biracial individuals, although they can go hand-in-hand (since fetishization is often rooted in prejudice; for example, a Bigot with a Crush might be unable to reconcile their racism with their crush's "different" beauty), and But Not Too Foreign (when a character is part-foreign to make them "exotic", but also part-whatever the target audience's demographic is as not to make them too alien). See also the various types of Race Fetish and Foreign Fanservice. Note also Hybrid Power, which is when mixed ancestry gives the character some form of advantage.

To avoid gushing over real-life mixed-race people, this trope is In-Universe Examples Only.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, Asian people are believed by the characters to have been wiped out, and Mikasa (half-Japanese and half-Germanic white) is thought to be the last person of Asian descent alive. This gives her a unique phenotype, with straight dark hair and almond-shaped eyes. She is considered beautiful, with Jean in particular falling in Love at First Sight and extolling her features.
  • Azumi
    • Azumi has brown-tinted hair and blue eyes, with characters speculating one of her parents must have been a foreigner, and is frequently extolled as being beautiful in a But Not Too Foreign way.
    • Konishi Shizune has blond hair and is dazzlingly handsome, as does his identical twin brother Tadane. This exoticism facilitates his claim that he is the reincarnation of Jesus... and lets them manipulate everyone into starting a civil war.
  • Food Wars!: The Aldini brothers are half-Japanese and half-Italian and are both Chick Magnets, with the elder brother Takumi having a dedicated fan club at Totsuki despite being a first year and making even older female students gush about him. While he doesn't have his own fan club, some members of Takumi's also comment on how cute they find Isami. Why the differential treatment? Takumi has blonde hair, blue eyes, and is slim whereas Isami has brown hair and is chubby (his eye color is also blue but you rarely see them).
  • The Haiba siblings of Haikyuu!! are half-Japanese and half-Russian. Lev's tall height (an advantage in volleyball) is favorably attributed to his Russian heritage, while his teammates have crushes on his beautiful sister Alisa. Both of them became models during the time skip.
  • Usui of Maid-Sama!. His superhuman attractiveness and unusual coloring (blonde hair and green eyes) are attributed to being one-quarter British (his mother was British-Japanese).
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • This is part of Tamaki's brand appeal in the host club as his half-Japanese, half-French heritage has given him the blonde hair and blue eyes that is seen by others as being princely and charming.
    • Similarly, due to his Russian heritage, Nekozawa has natural blonde hair and blue eyes, which is considered in-universe to make him look princely and attractive. However, due to his photophobia, he masks those features with a black wig and brown contacts; that in conjunction with his penchant towards the occult makes him come off as creepy and off-putting most of the time.
  • School Rumble: Eri Sawachika is half-Japanese, half-English, with blonde hair and light brown eyes. She is one of the school's two Dude Magnets, along with the more classically beautiful Yakumo, and frequently has to turn guys down. Eri's mixed heritage makes her attractive to her Japanese peers and an object of derision to Europeans, which gives her a complex about her looks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jungle Fever: Played With. Drew is half-black and half-white. She gets concerned that her black husband's initial attraction to her was because she is lighter-skinned because he cheats on her with a white coworker.
  • Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing goes out of its way to state that Han Suyin is an exotic Eurasian beauty.

    Literature 
  • Mixed with Everyone Looks Sexier if French in And the Mountains Echoed. Nila Wahdati is a half-French, half-Afghan woman who is consistently described as strikingly beautiful. Her glamorous appearance, sexual poetry, and love for high society and the finer things in life all fit her French ancestry. The mixed part is important too, as her Parisian audience finds her Afghani background interesting, while her obliviously adopted daughter Pari (a full-blooded Afghan) unfavorably compares her "common" looks with Nila's regal ones.
  • Brokenclaw: The eponymous villain is half Chinese and half Native American, which gives him what are described as striking and charismatic features.
  • Eleanor & Park: Park and Josh are half-white and half-Korean. Josh is white passing, but Eleanor reacts with interest to Park's more "Asian" features, such as his darker skin and almond-shaped eyes. His eyes are also green, despite this being unlikely.
  • In the first book of Modern Faerie Tales, Tithe, the main character's mixed heritage is fetishized by several characters who comment on how lucky she is for having Japanese features and blonde hair. This is made a little ironic because she's not any human ethnicity, she's actually a fairy glamoured to look like a human. Presumably the changeling human girl she was glamoured to look like will grow up to have the same blonde hair and facial features.
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: Little Dog's mother Rose had features that were considered striking because she's the daughter of a Vietnamese woman and a white American soldier.
  • Kita Charles of Parrotfish is half-black and half-Japanese, and the narrator considers her the perfect example of an ethnically ambiguous, mixed-race beauty.
    Grady: In Kita the combination of racial backgrounds had produced a stunner: Her skin like polished oak, and she wore her black hair in long dreads. [...] You couldn't take her apart and say, Ah yes, that part is Japanese; that part is African. She was a perfectly mixed combination — her own unique person.
  • In Remnants, Yago is the son of the first African-American female president and her white husband. His skin tone is noted to be a perfect bronze color; since he's known to have had a lot of plastic surgery, Violet wonders at one point if it's natural.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: Down the ages of Middle-Earth, repeated mixed marriages first between the angelic Maiar and the elves, and then between elves and Humans, have produced people of unearthly beauty.
    • The Silmarillion: Dior, (the son of Luthien, herself the World's Most Beautiful Woman, and half-elf and half-Maiar) is called "Dior the beautiful" and "Dior the fair", and the narration emphasizes that his "threefold race" heritage contributed to his beauty.
      Then Dior arose, and about his neck he clasped the Nauglamir; and now he appeared as the fairest of all the children of the world, of threefold race: of the Edain, and of the Eldar, and of the Maiar of the Blessed Realm.
    • The Lord of the Rings: This effect recurs down the generations as late as both Arwen and Aragorn, who are children on the genetic lines of mixed-race marriage. Their own children eventually bring together the stuff of all three races going right back to the Dawn Age of The Silmarillion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • America's Next Top Model:
    • The show sometimes emphasizes the backgrounds of its mixed-race aspiring-model contestants, ostensibly to help give them an edge in the beauty/modeling industry or to make their photoshoots unique.
      • The Asian heritage of Cycle 2's April Wilkner (white/Japanese) was played up by the stylists, with one shoot even adorning her with "Asian" symbols like dragons.
      • Invoked by Cycle 6's Jade Cole (black/white), who branded herself a "biracial butterfly" throughout the show.
      • Cycle 11's Sheena Sakai (Japanese-Korean) was frequently compared to Kimora Lee Simmons (black/Japanese-Korean) for her mixed-Asian look.
    • Invoked in Cycle 13 with a shoot glamorizing the concept of hapa (a Hawaiian term for being of mixed ancestry; fittingly, the shoot was in Hawaii). The girls were asked to pose as "biracial" models and dressed and accessorized to fit both heritages (for example, one contestant was Tibetan/Egyptian, another Mexican/Greek) during the photoshoot. This necessitated putting some of the girls in brownface, blackface, and yellowface.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: While staking out a hospital room, Amy (Cuban) and Jake (white Jewish) reveal to an older woman that they are thinking about having kids. She remarks that mixed babies are the cutest, to Jake and Amy's slight discomfort.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: In the first season, when Rebecca (a white Jewish woman) is infatuated with Josh (a Filipino man), she makes multiple comments about googling cute mixed-race babies. In "I'm Back at Camp With Josh!" she says they're much cuter than the "plain" ones, and in "Josh and I Work on a Case!" Rebecca and Paula look up mixed-race babies and fawn over them.
    Paula: Oh, I just love mixed-race babies...I don't know. I still think Jewish and Filipino is the best mix.
    Rebecca: All right, Paula, come on, we got to get back to work...I mean, Nigerian and Greek is a close second.
    Paula: Oh, God, that's a beautiful baby.
  • In Glee, Lauren is initially attracted to Puck because she thinks he's an ethnically ambiguous mixed-race man and is disappointed to learn he's a white Jew.
  • In the pilot episode of How I Met Your Mother Lovable Sex Maniac Barney's Establishing Character Moment is reminding Straight Man Ted that Barney had a thing for half-Asian women, though he's moved onto Lebanese women.
  • New Girl: In addition to his consistent comments fetishizing Cece's Indian background, Schmidt has also made several comments about how attractive their babies would be.
    Schmidt: An Indian-Jewish baby, who wouldn't want that? Think about the bone structure.
  • Played for laughs in Parks and Recreation. Ann's ethnic ambiguity note  is frequently praised by Leslie ("Nobody can match your ethnic hybrid energy."), who also suggests this will reflect positively on any children she has.
    Leslie: But you are so brilliant and kind and stupid hot, you're definitely going to find a wonderful guy who loves you and respects you and fills your home with multiethnic genius babies.
  • Comes up several times in different seasons of Terrace House due to the show featuring many half-Japanese people. Notably:
    • Boys & Girls in the City: Half-Italian Hikaru Ota was highly sought after by Misaki and both the girls in the house and the commentators noted that his mixed background gave him his handsome appearance.
    • Opening New Doors: Both Shion (half white American) and Noah (half-Austrian) were considered "high spec" prospects by house members and the commentators in part because of what they considered to be exceedingly good looks due to their mixed ancestry. Both would be the focal point of love triangles during their stay in the house.
  • In Toddlers & Tiaras, one of the families is mixed-race and the white mother says how her mixed-race children are cuter than her white daughter.
  • Will & Grace: When Will learns Grace is about to dump a black boyfriend, he wonders why since not too long before, Grace was pouring milk in her cappuccino to show him what pretty colors their kids would be.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Persona 5: Ann Takamaki is 3/4 Japanese and a 1/4 white American and is considered in-universe to be very beautiful, even modeling part-time. However, this also leads to Half-Breed Discrimination since because she is attractive with features (light hair and eyes) associated with Gyaru Girls, her classmates assume she is promiscuous and sleeping around, and shun her for it. Her looks also attract the attention of skeevy and abusive PE teacher Kamoshida.
  • Shining Song Starnova: Julie Watanabe is half-Japanese and half-American, and is an attractive young woman with blonde hair and a flirty bad-girl attitude. It's later revealed she's trying to exploit both this and the Gorgeous Gaijin tropes by dying her hair blonde and exploiting Japanese stereotypes of foreigners as promiscuous in order to get by... and hide that she is having trouble navigating the cultural differences between Japan and America.

    Web Comics 
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: Goria White-Eye (an orc) was sold to a brothel where she eventually gave birth to a half-human half-orc daughter. The brothel's owner thought the girl would be an excellent investment in several years as an "exotic". Goria fled, but later had the same offer made by a different pimp.

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