Hey you! Thanks for visiting this blog.
Let's see, I started this blog in 2012 when I was in the cusp of starting the craziest journey in my life: and that is to pursue acting and writing for a living. It actually took me a while to come to this decision, so how can we start?
Let's go back to the time when I was still in college. I went to Smith College, an all-womxn's college in western Massachusetts. Coming from NYC, it was a huge culture shock. I grew up with People of Color all my life, and being thrown in an almost all-white campus, I felt extremely out of place. I felt different. I had a hard time adjusting and almost transferred. The only saving grace was an Intro to Asian American Literature class, where the professor has the same last name as my mom. I stayed and had the pleasure to read some of the best Asian American authors. In that process, I also became a very angry student--because I realized most of what I've been feeling: isolation, fear, and acceptance has been written in narratives. This class propelled me to become heavily involved in the Asian American community in the 5 College area, which consists of UMass Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, Amherst College, and Smith. I spent my college years organizing events and relearning Asian Pacific American history: something I never learned (I only briefly read about the Chinese Exclusion Act in middle/high school). I found my calling: and it is to become a community organizer. I got into the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at UC Berkeley as a law fellow during my junior year summer, and I thought I was set. I will become a public service lawyer and foster change by working within the community. I was dead-set on applying to law school and had no plans lined up after graduation. Low and behold, I didn't get in any law schools and was left stranded for the summer.
That summer after graduation, I scrambled for my old internship contacts: the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF), desperately trying to do something that summer because time is a terrible thing to waste. AAIFF got back to me, and offered me to do Box Office. I said, why not, and did that while taking acting classes on the side at the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre (acting was something I always wanted to do). After the festival was over, I was left dwindling my thumbs again. I interviewed with another nonprofit, and didn't see a match, so I let it go. What should I do now?
Winter passed. It was February 2012, and something magical happened—called LINSANITY! It was Jeremy Lin, an Asian American NBA Knicks player killing it on the courts! I couldn't believe my eyes. I found out about his story: perseverance, following your heart, and working hard to achieve your dreams. I was inspired to keep on searching for a job within the community, even though nothing seems to be coming up. Around that time, the nonprofit company, whom I didn't match with, asked if I wanted to work for a Congresswoman. I was like heck yeah! I interviewed and almost immediately got the job as the Congressional Caseworker. It was with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, where she oversaw Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Red Hook, Sunset Park, and Williamsburg. I had the honor of working at the LES office and also going out to LES/Chinatown community events to represent her when she isn't in NYC. Being able to do that was a dream come true. But something didn't feel right. I felt trapped. I was told by someone to stay there for at least two years. Alas, I wasn't sure if this was my calling. After a short six months, I left the office.
During that time, I also auditioned for a 1.5 year acting program at the Barrow Group Theatre Company and was accepted. I didn't know what to expect. I was such a newbie, I couldn't even memorize scripts. I had a hard time, a really hard time. I had many points in class where I look at my classmates and think: they can be on television shows or movies. For myself, I wasn't so sure. I spent the rest of my time during that program worrying and doubting my worth. Then the program ended. But I told myself I was here for a reason: I am here because this is what brings me to life. And so, I kept on taking scene study classes. Every time I fuck up, I tell myself I will do better next time. I didn't give up and kept going.
It was during this same time in January 2014 where I saw a solo show class being offered. It's a class where you have to write and perform your own materials. I was so down. I signed up for the class. I was hooked—in the writing process, workshopping it to see what works/what didn't work. I had mini chunks written and had a huge writer's block and took a break.
Then I worked on a short film project with a friend that didn't take off. I learned so much about the writing, acting, and producing process (for a film) during this time. I know the story we had will come into fruition someday—sometimes it just takes time to figure it all out.
I still had that desire to keep writing. I hopped back onto the solo show writing and submitted to the NY International Fringe Festival. I got back a notice in April that I didn't get in. I felt so defeated and didn't look at the script for weeks. I applied again the next year, and got rejected… again!
After the summer was over, I knew only I can stop me from working on this solo show. I took the 11 pages I had and kept on writing, taking things out, and adding more. I ended up with 19 pages. I wrote some more and took out some more, and as of January 2016, I have 22 pages aka a solid script. As of late January 2016, I'm proud to announce that MC Jin will be the director for the solo show!
Update: 03.2019 - I did the first solo show a bajillion times in NYC, spent every penny in my bank account to do it in LA, and then did it a few more times in NYC. I wrote another solo show called 28: Still Fucked Up about being an artist and being a fuck up, which debut in NYC to a sold out crowd. I’m taking this show on the road to LA in May 2019.
It's been a long journey thus far. But with faith, perseverance, and a lot of hard work, I know I'll work through it all. Keep going!!!!!!!!!