A new chapter has begun…

And so the old must go in order to make room for what’s to come.

A moment of truth.

So I participated in my first staged reading yesterday… and what an experience it was! From working with a fabulous cast and a fantastic director to having so much faith and support from the producer, I seriously learned so much from everyone and am feeling super blessed to have been part of something pretty fucking special. That’s right. All Asian American. Female. Reservoir Dogs.

I had the honor of playing Freddy Newandkye aka Mr. Orange. When DC Wolfe told me that he wanted me in that role, I was like “Omg, wow. Are you sure?!” But I guess it was actually kind of perfect, cuz’ everyone else on the cast had a theater background while I didn’t, so I really felt like I needed to step up my game in order to fit in 😛

This was definitely a moment of truth for me:

After our last rehearsal the day before the reading, our director, West Liang, stayed with me to work on this monologue. It was actually his suggestion that I get off book for the last portion. “You don’t have to do this, but it would be really sexy if you just dropped your script and delivered this last part to the audience.” I looked over it real quick and then said, “Yes, I’ll do it!” Oh man. On the way to this monologue, I flubbed a couple of words here and there. I even thought I would seriously piss my pants, but when it came down to it, I was Freddy and ready ;]


Special thanks to my agent, Kylie MacKenzie, for taking these photos!

It was also so much fun to play with Tamlyn Tomita. When I first learned that I would be working mostly with her, I kind of freaked out. We’d actually worked together before on a TV pilot called My Life Disoriented, but that was over 10 years ago and I was working as an assistant camera on that show. A decade later and where I’m at in my acting journey, to be able to share the stage with Tamlyn has definitely been an honor and a huge milestone for me.

I am so thankful to DC for believing in me, to West for really working with me, to all the ladies (Tamlyn, Jolene, Rosie, Sharon, Jully, and Elaine) for being so giving, to Aaron for being awesome and on top of those cues, to Kane for coming in super last minute to tape the reading, and to everyone who came out on a Sunday afternoon to watch and support! Thank you <3

8 Moments Your BFF Was A Lifesaver

Had so much fun playing BFFs with Robin Johnson. Thanks for having me, BuzzFeed and Kevin J. Nguyen!

Reservoir Dogs

With a twist. I’ll be participating in a staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s original screenplay of Reservoir Dogs with an all Asian American female cast. 2pm at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum Theater in Little Tokyo. You are all invited!

How I Became a Dog Lady

Last year in April, I downloaded an app called AllPaws. It’s like Tinder, but for finding adoptable dogs near you. I guess you could say I was bored with actual Tinder and decided to look for a different kind of mate 😛

So while I was swiping through profiles, a little lady named Matilda caught my eye. Without thinking too much, I filled out an adoption application for her. Soon after, Adopt Me Rescue contacted me to set up a time to meet.

When we first met, it took Matilda two hours (in which she had to be forcefully encouraged) to come near me. She was extremely skittish and clearly had deep trust issues. I learned that when she was rescued, she’d been living in a car for four years with a homeless couple and had signs of physical abuse. For her to not attack me was actually huge progress as she’d been in foster care for awhile.

Having had some time to think about it and also not really connecting with Matilda right away, I realized I wasn’t exactly in the best place to commit to a dog mate. However, it just so happened that Matilda needed a new foster home. I’d already been dog sitting for several of my friends and was used to having dogs in and out of my place, so why not foster her?

The first night that Matilda arrived, she wouldn’t come out of her crate and I didn’t want to force her. Eventually, I carried her crate to my room and while I was getting ready for bed, she decided to come out! She was the cutest little thing and seemed to be curious about me. She had this side tilt to her head (possibly from the abuse), so she kind of walked a little lopsided towards me and then got on her hind legs to paw at me. “Well, hello there, Matilda!”

From that point on, Matilda was sweet to me. She would curl up in a ball and sleep next to my head, greet me at the door, and follow me around like a little shadow peering at me with those curious eyes of hers. While she was mostly an angel at home, there were certain things that would trigger the wild animal in her, like crossing paths with other small dogs on walks. She also really did not like men. One time, David Choi came over to hang out and she pounced on him and seriously attacked him. Oi vey. I definitely acquired some battle scars having to hold her back a couple of times. Cuz’ when this girl got the wild eyes, she would be out for blood! I guess you could say the streets had made her tough and what she really needed was just a lot of TLC.

Anyway, long story short, I felt like I got to see the beginnings of a transformed dog. She learned to chill out a bit when it came to other dogs and meeting new people. And after three weeks with me, she was adopted by a lovely woman and given a new name: Tilly. Yesterday, I received this photo of Tilly and it was just such a blessing to hear how well she’s doing a year later:

Doesn’t she look so happy and healthy? 🙂

#ThrowbackThursday

LAAPFF 2016

The 32nd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival came and went by so quickly! Here are my highlights!

JodiLong
Getting inspired by Jodi Long’s Opening Night speech.

The Tiger Hunter
Laughing, crying, and smiling throughout The Tiger Hunter.

Tanuj
Stalking Tanuj Chopra.


Hating on Big Phony a few times throughout the festival.


Escorting Karin Anna Cheung to the unexpectedly funny The Unbidden.


Watching friends in films.


Catching up with some of my fave film festival peeps.

ABDC
Forming a new dance crew with Jenny Yang and Anthony Ma.

AWC
Mistaking the dude in front of me for Patrick Epino (three dudes to my left).


And hosting fellow actress and Asian CineVision’s Festival Director, Judy Lei, who gets special thanks for hooking it up with Opening and Closing Nights. Good times, good times. Until next year, let’s create our own opportunities as Jodi Long would say! And maybe I’LL have a film in the fest next year! ;D

P.S. – A Sung Kang sighting is always a highlight.

Party Bro Real Estate

Had the opportunity to play with comedians Frankie Quinones and Terrence Newman in this Funny Drop video for Mas Mejor. Check it out!

#ThrowbackThursday

Tag, You’re It! – Bobby Choy

Whoa, it’s been over a year since I wrote a “Tag, You’re It!” blog. Well, today’s a good day to write one! Featuring this guy who I really hate. J/k. Singer/songwriter Bobby Choy aka Big Phony is actually hands down one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world. Seriously. In the almost 10 years that I’ve known him, he’s just always been so awesome.

I can’t exactly remember how Bobby and I first met. But I believe a mutual friend introduced us via email or Myspace or something before Bobby moved to LA from NY. I do remember that after a bunch of my guy friends met him, they all thought that he was the nicest guy EVER. And of course, he turned out to be a jerk. J/k. I’m just playing into his whole “I hate Big Phony” thing that’s part of his self-deprecating humor. Anyway, wow, time flies. Didn’t feel like too long ago when we were kicking it in the same circles, but in reality, Bobby’s been in Korea for the last several years doing some big things. And now, he’s about to embark on his 6th full length album which you can help make happen ->

As long as I’ve known Bobby, he’s always been so willing to help others. He’s definitely been there for me many times! So I’m definitely backing this 6th album and hope that many others will support Bobby not only cuz’ he’s one of the best people ever, but because he’s also an extremely talented musician with depth and stories to express through his songs. So please, check out his Kickstarter!


When I visited Korea in 2013 and Bobby spent the day being my tour guide!

P.S. – Bobby and I used to talk about playing brother and sister on screen one day and I’m actually really hoping that it’ll happen. So dear writer friends, will someone please write these roles for us? Pretty please? 😛

Official Bio [edited]:
Bobby Choy (Big Phony) is a singer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. At the age of 14, Bobby’s family relocated to Los Angeles, leaving him in New York City so he could attend the legendary School of Performing Arts and Music and Art. Living alone at such an early age, Big Phony devoted his time to writing in his New York City apartment.

After college, he moved to Los Angeles to be closer with his family. It was in Los Angeles where Big Phony began his pursuit to be a singer/songwriter. He quickly built a devout fan base with his songs and performances. In early 2006, he returned to New York to build that same kind of following and began to split his time between both cities crashing on couches and aerobeds.

In 2011, Big Phony made the decision to relocate to the country his parents originally hailed from – South Korea. He currently resides in Seoul, where he continues his journey and commitment to be an artist.

Hate him at: bigphonymusic.com

Ride or Die

The last time I wrote a reflection blog was exactly three years ago: 2012. Hindsight is always 20/20. That blog was inspired by the previous year’s reflection. So why didn’t I write on December 31st, 2013 or 2014?

If you look at #12 of what I wrote on the last reflection blog, I was in a place of healing. Long story short, 2013 and 2014 were both a part of that process and I was definitely in a completely different mindset. In 2013, not only was I healing emotionally and spiritually, I was also healing from a severe case of shingles that broke out on the right side of my face. It was a pretty dark time for me which involved a lot of isolation and depression. After getting out of my hermit shell, I went into 2014 with a bit of an “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude. I got into a relationship that wasn’t right for me, started drinking heavily, and kind of lost myself.

On July 9th, 2014, a pastor I knew from Taiwan passed away suddenly. I attended his “Celebration of Life” service and this deep stirring started happening in me. I was being reminded of who God had called me to be. At the same time, I was still with this person that wasn’t right for me and I started to have this heaviness on my heart that needed to be released. Just a few weeks after that, the relationship ended and God was there for me through it all. Even when I wasn’t exactly there for Him. That’s actually how I got saved in the first place, ten years ago on September 11th, 2005, but that’s another story. Anyway, mid-2014 was a very transitional time for me. It involved a lot of purging and refocusing. As a matter of fact, I disconnected from all of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) for the last four months of the year in order to reconnect with people who mattered. It was a time that I truly discovered who my real friends were and had my family (both biological and spiritual) to lean on.

2015 was truly a new year for me. I shed a lot of old skin. And quite literally, too, with the scarring from the shingles. In the tradition of the former reflection posts, I shall list 15 highlights of this year:

1. I started dreaming vividly again.
2. I got back into a Bible study with an amazing group of women.
3. I hosted “FOBluck Tuesdays” for season 1 of Fresh Off the Boat (potluck + FOTB… get it?).
4. I started studying with Joe Anthony after having taken a hiatus from acting classes for over a year. His class started challenging me in new ways and has definitely been stretching me. There’s still a lot of work to be done here.
5. In March, I started collaborating with a very unique group of individuals on a pretty awesome creative project that could only be put together by God.
6. During pilot season, I went out for a lot of amazing opportunities. I may not have booked anything, but I definitely had a lot of fun auditioning.
7. Several divine encounters happened with people that were all so intertwined that I’m just in awe of how God can connect the dots.
8. In April, I started speaking with a therapist on almost a weekly basis. She has helped me immensely in seeing the real me more clearly.
9. Also, in April, I started fostering rescue dogs on top of the dog sitting I had already been doing. My place actually became quite the revolving door for different dogs for awhile.
10. In September, I met MY dog, Moki. They say that the dog chooses you… and in short, that’s what happened. She was rescued from an illegal backyard breeder. Within a week of fostering her, I knew she was my dogmate. Three weeks later, when I took her to the clinic to get spayed, I found out she was pregnant with at least three puppies.
11. On October 19th, Moki had FIVE puppies. Five is the number for grace and I kid you not, the fifth born, little MoMo, has a CROSS on his chest.
12. Out of yet another divine encounter, I was led to a new Bible study where once again, dots continue to be connected.
13. In October, I booked a major commercial, joined SAG-AFTRA, and booked my first Co-Star on a major TV show.
14. On December 1st, my niece, Audrey, was born.
15. A few days later, I was arrested for a DUI.

In summary, this was an extremely fruitful year in terms of meaningful relationships and new experiences that I’m incredibly thankful for. Some of you may be wondering how #15 is a highlight. Well, as weird as this might sound, I thought that being arrested and spending the night in jail was actually a really good experience. Aside from that, I completely saw God’s hand in the whole thing as soon as I sobered up. I won’t get into the details now and it’s obviously something that’s still in progress. But I will share with you a big revelation I had from this experience: If driving is a privilege in our society, driving in the Kingdom of God is a major privilege and the keys can be taken away at any time. Whether you believe in God or not, you can’t deny I’ve been pretty blessed or fortunate this year. And going back to who God has called me to be… well, drinking like a fool definitely ain’t part of the picture. #15 may have very well saved my own life and the lives of others.

There’s much more that I could go on and on about, but I actually need to wrap this up as I’m already running late to a NYE gathering. So guys and gals who have actually read all of this… wow, thanks for “listening.” I just felt like I NEEDED to write this blog. It’s probably the most free-flowing blog I’ve ever written where I’m not actually going back to edit and censor the hell out of myself as I’ve done many times in the past.

Anyway, on December 31st, 2015, I’m definitely taking a real hard look at myself with all my blessings and all my flaws. For 2016, I think God just wants me to sit in the passenger seat and be his ride or die. It’s not a bad place to be.

So *cheers* with my imaginary glass of champagne. I pray that you all have an amazing 2016 full of blessings and truth.

What was it like washing Gaga’s feet?

Cat’s out of the bag. I was on American Horror Story: Hotel recently!

Yes. I got to wash Lady Gaga’s feet. But that’s not at all what I thought I’d be doing before we filmed. I actually thought I’d be filing or painting her nails. So one of the ADs who had previous experience as a nail technician taught me how to properly file and I even got to practice on one of the prop department guys.

Before we filmed, we had a quick rehearsal. Gaga had just come out of filming a sex scene and production was a little behind schedule, so things moved pretty fast. I was already grabbing Gaga’s feet and fake filing her nails before we even got to speak to each other. When we finished rehearsing, we looked at each other and said, “Hi!” She then introduced herself as “Gaga or Stefani” and said I could call her either because she loved both. I asked her if she wanted me to really file her nails and she said, “Absolutely! Do whatever you need to do!”

When the crew was setting up the shot, director Michael Uppendahl decided he wanted me to be in the earlier process of the pedicure. It was actually Gaga who told the props guys that there should be a water basin for her feet to soak in. She also had someone grab her personal essential oils so that she could add it to the water to make the experience as real for herself. She then said, “I might as well enjoy this!” and dabbed some lavender oil onto my palms, too.

I told her I didn’t have much personal experience with mani pedis, so she gave me a lot of pointers on what to do. She even showed me how I should grab her foot firmly and with full on eye contact that could either intimidate or empower, she said, “Don’t be afraid to touch me.” In between takes, she was nothing but encouraging. There was one take where I accidentally knocked over some of my mani pedi tools and when we reset for the next take, she said, “You’re doing great.”

For my first Co-Star experience, this was a dream. While my one line of dialogue was cut from the end product, I am still so thankful to have had this opportunity. It was definitely an honor working with someone as talented and empowering as Lady Gaga. It was also pretty awesome watching how she collaborated with the director and the crew. Whenever she spoke, she would command the room. And even with her megastar presence, she still had a grounded and real vibe about her. At one point, she laughed and said to our director, “You know, Michael, I have no problem exposing any other part of my body, but when it comes to my feet… this is terrifying.” Lol. Awesome, awesome memories.

Thank you, Gaga and AHS, for such a positive experience. <3