For a long time, I’ve struggled with “Does my voice even matter?”
In college, an Intro to Asian American Studies class changed my life.
I was living a self-destructive lifestyle. One day, I had a wake up call and knew if I didn’t make a drastic change, I might fall deeper into a hole that I wouldn’t be able to get out of. I asked myself, “What is the most positive thing in my life right now?”
At the time, the answer to that question was a passion I had discovered from my Asian American Studies class and attending Asian American student conferences. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do career-wise, but I knew I wanted to make a difference for Asian Americans in media.
When Better Luck Tomorrow was about to be released into theaters, I was the girl running around campus posting flyers and blogging about it daily on Xanga.com. At the time, it didn’t seem like a lot of people cared. My family definitely didn’t understand what I was doing and even a lot of my Asian American friends shrugged their shoulders at me.
A huge reason I moved to LA was because I found like-minded people who were on the same mission to change how the mainstream viewed Asian Americans. Being able to be part of that community and see how things have been changing for us has been incredible, especially with everything that’s been going on with Crazy Rich Asians, Searching, #AsianAugust, etc. TBH, I’ve been feeling a little bit of FOMO.
Those who really know me know that I’ve been on a constant journey of seeking my place in all of this as I’ve played mostly supporting roles wearing different hats over the last 15 years (it’s why my IMDb page is all over the place).
About 10 years ago, a childhood dream of being an actress was re-sparked. I was working a cushy full-time job at an ad agency where I felt like I was selling my soul. When I decided to take that leap of faith to leave the 9-to-5, I didn’t know what I was doing at first, but I found myself in supportive relationships and communities. I eventually got into classes with some great teachers and began “rebranding” myself as an actor. In 2013, I met director Tanuj Chopra who really believed in me. And then last year, he gave Anthony Ma and I an opportunity of a lifetime to create with him where my voice REALLY mattered.
Staycation is very much my coming out party. You will 100% see sides of me you’re not familiar with. And because of that, I am both excited and terrified. Watching it at the LA Film Festival will be my first time seeing it! And even though I lived in the story for 12+ hour days for three weeks straight with only two days off, it actually feels more like a dream than a memory… Like, did we really make a movie?! WHAT?! WAIT… WE DID!!! It was truly a surreal experience, so much so it inspired the new Instagram name (and this URL ;P).
This project was seriously so special. I poured so much of myself into it. I had incredible breakthroughs and reached such an artistic high that once we wrapped, going back to reality was tough. I got really depressed because the world I had known before this film had suddenly become vanilla. Those who know me personally know that I went MIA on social media and in real life- I even left LA for the summer. I basically wanted more. To expand my horizons, get outside of my comfort zone, and to really start going after what I want.
So while I do have a bit of FOMO not being in LA with all the buzz around our community, coming to NY has very much been a time for me to learn how to take a leading role in my own life and to own MY voice. Now with my first leading role in a film premiering back in LA the same month 10 years ago that I decided to pursue acting… it’s pretty sweet.
For those who have already shown so much support, thank you so much. I JUST booked my flight back, so I’ll definitely be there and I’m sure we’ll have an after party, etc. 😛 Which btw, if anyone wants to help us with that- HOLLER! We had ZERO budget making this film (#crazybrokeasians yo). Everything was completely out of our own pockets… so seriously, if anyone wants to help us in any way with next steps, please get in touch! 🙂