Sally Imbriano is a performer, composer, and coach based in Washington, DC. After a theatre camp that provided her a single line in the summer musical, she decided to pursue the Arts as a career. With an education from the University of New South Wales, Australia and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (and experience working as a dodgeball and zorb football referee, wedding dress model, and cake decorator!), Imbriano went on to perform as Amy in Company, Annabel Glick in Lucky Stiff,Patsyin Always…Patsy Cline. Now, she’s working on both sides of the table as the composer forMy Imaginary Friendat Willow’s Bend and an actor in Seussical the Musical – and will be attending the Helen Hayes Awards rocking a hand-knitted dress of her own creation! Offstage, Imbriano is collaborating with Michelle Lynch to create a new musical as “an ode to [their] younger selves… and how [they] can grow by loving every chapter of [their] journey.” Her advice to young artists? “Just take one step at a time; your career will flourish with little, yet significant steps.” Read on to learn more about Sally Imbriano and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Paula Yoo is a writer and musician based in LA. She got her start through journalism, where she learned the fundamentals of reporting, research, and efficiency. These skills transferred to her eventual career as a fiction and nonfiction author and TV producer/writer, and eventual degrees from Yale, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and Warren Wilson College! Her work includes From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement, an “award-winning YA nonfiction book” about a “famous AAPI civil rights case” in addition to selling 3 TV drama pilots to well-known streaming platforms. Her latest book, Rising From the Ashes, a “narrative nonfiction YA book about the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising and the solidarity formed between the Korean American and Black communities” is set for publication in 2024! When she’s not writing, Yoo is an advocate for national and local issues dear to her, and supports the LA Food Bank, Orlando Youth Alliance, Stop AAPI Hate, and We Need Diverse Books. Her advice to young artists? “Embrace your individuality by finding your voice and working hard at your craft to let that voice blossom and grow.” Read on to learn more about Paula Yoo and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Donna Weng Friedman is a multidisciplinary artist based in NYC. Taking her mother’s advice to find a “stable job,” Weng graduated from Princeton and became an assistant agent for ICM before recognizing music as her true passion and pursuing a Masters in Music from Julliard. After a traumatic encounter with racism in March of 2020, she decided to create change herself, and founded Heritage and Harmony to connect the community around her through music and stories Through this organization, Weng established “an educational role model program to help school-age girls of color find their artistic voice” and combined the voices of BIPOC artists to produce an EP (Heritage and Harmony: Silver Linings) during the pandemic to raise funds for an anti-racism foundation. Weng is currently collaborating with Chun Wai Chan on a short film, Never Fade Away, which narrates her immigrant father’s life through dance (starring fellow Amazing Asian in the Arts,Xiaoxiao Cao!). Her advice to young artists? “... Be strong and resilient… Listen to people who you trust, but most of all, listen to your heart.” Read on to learn more about Donna Weng Friedman and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Sophie Lin is a multidisciplinary technician and artist based in New York City, with skills ranging from fabric painting to jewelry design and wig maintenance. She was called to art at the age of 9 after a spilled ice cream cone led to a sketching session that changed her perspective on life. When she saw her first theatrical production in 2016 at Taipei National University of Arts, she knew where her talents needed to be put to use and ended up studying at Purchase College for Costume Design/Technology. Post-graduation, she’s worked alongside Hochi Asiatico on Sweeney Todd and Hadestown for the distressing, and on Santa Fe Opera’s 2022 season (including Carmen, The Barber of Seville, Falstaff, Tristan und Isolde, and M. Butterfly) for an apprenticeship, and many more operative productions in between. Now, she’s touring with Into The Woods as the associate Wig Supervisor! Her advice to young artists? “ You need to be confident, stay calm, and bring joyful energy to the room! And never stop learning!” Read on to learn more about Sophie Lin and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jasmine Forsberg is a performer and singer/songwriter based in NYC. By the time she was six, Forsberg was involved in dance, piano, and voice lessons – all preparing her for her first production (101 Dalmatians) at a local community theater, and eventually to attend Penn State University for her BFA in Musical Theatre. After booking her first off-Broadway credit with Broadway Bounty Hunter, she went on to open the world premier of Love in Hate Nation at Two River Theater. Now, she’s reigning cross-country with the First National Tour of Six as Jane Seymour! Offstage, Forsberg is “the biggest supporter of therapy for all,” crediting it as an integral part to telling meaningful stories onstage and maintaining long-term actor wellbeing. Her advice to young artists? “... Show up as your authentic self, not who you think someone wants you to be… you owe it to yourself to be free of that burden.” Read on to learn more about Jasmine Forsberg and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Austin Sora is a dancer based in NYC. After a small stint in amateur paleontology, snowboarding, swimming, and running (with plenty of exposure to live theatre growing up), she settled on dance and took up training professionally at Canada’s National Ballet School. Now with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arts Administration from Marymount Manhattan College, her work includes touring the States with The Phantom of the Opera, performing with Bruce Wood Dance at Jacob's Pillow, and now rehearsing with Woman In Motion. Offstage, Sora serves as the Program Manager for Broadway Green Alliance, an organization that “[advocates] for sustainability in the theatre industry.” Her advice to young artists? “Work hard and be a nice person!” Read on to learn more about Austin Sora and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Manna Nichols-Wong is an actress based in NYC. She fell into the industry thanks to (positive) peer pressure from friends to overcome her shyness. After shifting from biology/premed major to music education, she’s gone on to perform in the Lincoln Center’s First National Tour ofThe King & I(Tuptim), Arena Stage’sMy Fair Lady(Eliza Doolittle), as a vocalist for Disney’s live actionBeauty & the Beast, and is currently working in City Center Encores’Dear World(Ens. and Nina u/s)! As a multiracial artist, Nichols-Wong continues to challenge the way the industry perceives performers like her and contributes to change with her onstage presence. Her advice to young artists? “Get as much experience as you can, anywhere that you can… do whatever makes you happy – even if it doesn’t seem popular.” Read on to learn more about Manna Nichols-Wong and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Heather Makalani is an actress (and avid fisherwoman) based in NYC. Taking a Hula class at three years old led to a lifelong love for performance and storytelling (fueled also by watching Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana!), which brought her to study at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. One Bachelors of Arts in Musical Theatre and 21 countries later, she’s workshopped Betty Boop with Jerry Mitchell, performed in Rent, Emojiland (Kissy Face), and is currently working for the Mouse as Princess Jasmine in Broadway’s Aladdin! Offstage, she’s a huge advocate for Guam Animals in Need (GAIN), the shelter back home that gave her pup Lupa a forever home with her! Her advice to young artists? Keep other interests alive outside performance that ground you. “There will be a lot of highs and lows, so don’t let the anticipation of the lows steal the joy of the highs. Have other passions/hobbies that make you happy.”Read on to learn more aboutHeather Makalaniand what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Christy-Anne Lopez is a multidisciplinary artist based in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. After getting a taste of emceeing in middle school, she fell in love with entertaining and pursued it (between odd jobs as a zumba instructor, cheerleading, and go-go dancer!). She’s since worked on the Food Network docuseries Chef Dynasty: House Of Fang on Food Network and Fox's America's Most Wanted. Offstage, Lopez reigns in the pageant realm as CEO and Director of Regency International West Coast Pageant and owner of Studio Sash Pageant Consulting, a pageant coaching business for International, National, State, and Local pageant winners. She also serves as a content creator and advocate for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to bring endangered kids to safety. Her advice for young people in the arts? “Be brave and never give up.” Read on to learn more about Christy-Anne Lopez and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Joanne Chew is an actress based in LA. Acting began as something to get her a few extra credits to graduate high school with, and became a full-time passion at 17. After several masterclasses and auditions (and between stints as a waitress, admin assistant, and chicken mascot), she’s gone on to workStreet Kings(with Keanu Reeves!), Showtime'sShameless,The Hangry Dead, and most recently, the crime thriller,Dead Wrong. Chew finds inspiration from the human spirit, naming it a contributing factor for her involvement in the industry, valuing the vulnerability performance allows her to encompass. Offscreen, Chew is a huge supporter of her friends behind advocacy groups, such as Black Women Lead, Hire Survivors Hollywood, and Artists for Trauma.Her advice to young artists? “Trust that wherever you are, there is unlimited potential to improve. Don't be afraid. Just start.” Read on to learn more about Joanne Chew and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Alex Lin is a playwright, journalist, and ex-STEM kid based in Saddle River, New Jersey. Initially starting out as an actor, she attended NYU Tisch and began working at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. After receiving direction from Pirronne Yousefzadeh and Marc Bovino, she decided to pursue writing full-time. Currently on a Sloan commission with Manhattan Theatre Club, her work includes Bad Chinese Daughter, LASTHUNTER, Chinese Republicans, 39 Revolutions, a song cycle in the works, and more. In addition to this, she also serves as “head writer for A24 Film/GrandArmy’s frontline space media agency, Supercluster,” where she’s worked hand-in-hand with SpaceX, NASA, Netflix, AppleTV, and SpaceX and “provided coverage for missions… Perseverance, ISS 20, Crew-1, and Inspiration4.” Lin’s advice to young artists? “Always keep applying. Every no is one step closer to yes.” Read on to learn more about Alex Lin and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Pia Manalo Hamilton is an actress and dancer (that hasn’t eaten chocolate since 8th grade) based in New York City. Inspired at 3 years old, she pursued performance and began dancing professionally at just 6, and acting at 8. Since then, she’s gone on to book Lion King on Broadway (including performing in the 20th anniversary with Elton John!) and the role of Min in Barney and Friends. Offstage, she founded her own nonprofit (Intrigue Performance Dance Company), which “raises over $10,000 each year for dancers with financial need,” has a red belt in Kung Fu, and earned her B.S. in Sports Medicine from Pepperdine University. Her advice to young actors? "Dream big, then dream specific.” Read on to learn more about Pia Hamilton and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Kendyl Sayuri Yokoyama is a Rubik’s cube master, ramen enthusiast, and actress currently all over America withHamilton’s First National Tour! She got her start at the prompting of her vocal coach and tap teacher, she auditioned forAladdin Jr.and booked the role of Jasmine! Since her time in Agrabah, she’s gone on to join the Angelica Tour as the standby for all 3 Schuyler sisters, the cast ofAllegiance, and to sing in the 90th Oscars performance forThe Greatest Showman! Offstage, she’s a huge supporter of Go For Broke, “a nonprofit organization that supports and educates people about the Japanese American incarceration and the Nisei veterans who served in the 442nd regiment during World War II” that “remind [her] of how proud [she] is to be Japanese American. Her advice to young artists? “There is no one else like you. You are interesting and deserve to take up space. You are what people are missing.” Read on to learn more about Kendyl Sayuri Yokoyama and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Yuko Torihara is an actress based in NYC, but she’s tried just about everything in-between offstage – from wardrobe styling, photography, producing,, set design, and more across the UK, US, and Japan! Over the pandemic, she directed a short film (Chinatown Beat) in collaboration with prominent Asian artists (such as Henry Chang and Corky Lee), was recently seen in the new Starbucks Reserve campaign, and currently stars as Miko Kaplan in the hit Netflix show,The Watcher. Her advice to young artists? “Work on cultivating a solid and deep self love, a healthy relationship with yourself… Keep on saying yes to change and transformation, as you don’t know where you will end up.” Read on to learn more about Yuko Torihara and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Rachell Ellen Wong is a violinist, pickleball fanatic, and bunny mom based in New York City. She began her musical journey at six on the violin thanks to her father’s influence, and went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School to further her education. Now, Wong has performed with “the Academy of Ancient Music, American Bach Soloists, Jupiter Ensemble, Bach Collegium Japan, Les Arts Florissants,” and more – and is the co-founder of her own ensemble, Twelfth Night! Her advice to young artists? “Make sure you really love your art and that you always have a goal in what you want to do with it.” Read on to learn more about Rachell Ellen Wong and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!