Amazing Asians in the Arts

Amazing Asians in the Arts: Sheng-Ching Hsu

May 14, 2022

Sheng-Ching Hsu is a violinist based in L.A. Finding a love for music from her parents, she was encouraged to follow the Arts and took up piano and violin lessons. Now, she is bringing her music all over the world! Hsu’s path didn’t come without obstacles. After 4 of her fingertips experienced nerve damage, she was forced to re-learn her craft – and with the shutdowns caused by the pandemic, lost her ability to express herself. She rediscovered her passion through a series of live shows called S-C Sidewalk Performances, and got back on track to giving back through art!  Hsu advises young artists to “stay positive and grateful, don’t forget to treat yourself with a piece of chocolate or any kind of comfort food once in a while!”  Read on to learn more about Sheng-Ching Hsu and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Shannon Tyo

May 07, 2022

Shannon Tyo is a performer based in New York City. Initially on-track to become a professional soccer player, a series of sports injuries became the deciding factor to pursue theatre at Syracuse University instead. Now, Tyo is a Lucille Lortel nominee in the category of “Outstanding Lead Performer in a Play” in the revival of The Chinese Lady at the Public Theatre! In her career, she’s found that collaboration and behind-the-table involvement have benefitted her most – collaboration allowing for expression of ideas in a room full of creatives, and acting as a reader opposite others in audition settings to help better her own audition technique. Offstage, Tyo serves as a member of Also-Known-As, an organization for adult international adoptees. As an adult transracial/transnational adoptee herself, the connections provided through them have both given her strength and put her in a position to build community with others. Her advice for young artists? “Other people’s successes are not your failures. You can root for other people while also rooting for yourself. Community makes this career path warmer. Read on to learn more about Shanon Tyo and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Amanda Andrei

April 30, 2022

Amanda L. Andrei is a playwright based in Los Angeles. She got her start in the Arts in many ways – through playing the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet in high school, producing her first play at the DC Capital Fringe Festival, graduating through the pandemic from her MFA program, to name a few! Her work includes Black SkyHECUBA and Helicopter Typhoon Carabo! To Survive and Apocalypse Now, and she’s currently adapting a Spanish Golden Age play for UCLA and Playwrights Arena! Andrei loves creating opportunities for actors that don’t often see their cultural or ethnic background in her industry, and enjoys researching and observing in preparation to write. Aside from the arts, she’s involved with the Liyang Network, an organization that centers around “human and environmental rights, placing a special focus on the Luman people,” as it enables her to give back to her community as a Filpina diasporan. Her advice to young artists? “Have multiple streams of income that don’t necessarily overlap with [their] artistic practice” – and of course, to trust their process. Read on to learn more about Amanda and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Veronica Dang

April 23, 2022

Veronica Dang is a performer and comedian based in New York City! After getting laid off from a job in research science, she took up background work to support herself, and was reminded of her performing dreams – which prompted her to pursue acting and comedy professionally. Since then, she’s appeared in Law & Order: SVU, A Midsummer Night's Dream as Helena in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s gardens, Harper's Ferry 2019, performed as a stunt double, and created both Subway: The Series and Model Majority, an all AAPI sketch comedy team. Currently, she’s working on performing at Harper's Ferry 2019 at The Know Theatre of Cincinnati March 4-20, Toronto Sketchfest March 24, World Comedy Expo March 25 and the Model Majority Annual AAPI Heritage Month Show. Dang advises young artists to “[not] let people make [them] give up [their] dreams” and to “have fun whenever possible.” Read on to learn more about Veronica Dang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Madeline Kendall

April 16, 2022

Madeline Kendall is a performer based in New Jersey - though she calls the road home as she travels with the national tour of Broadway’s Anastasia! As someone that grew up in a musical household, she was inspired to begin dancing and competitive gymnastics before the age of 6. However, it wasn’t until 7th grade during an audition for Pippin that Kendall decided to drop her initial career path as an orthodontist and pursue performance professionally! After graduating from Wagner College during the pandemic, she tours the nation as both the Anya understudy and ensemble of Anastasia, and has performed in shows such as Miss SaigonOur Town, and Somebody in Everybody! Her advice to young artists? “Stay true to who you are! Don’t compare yourself to other people. You have something to offer, not something to prove!” Read on to learn more about Madeline Kendall and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Grace Yoo

April 09, 2022

Grace Yoo is an actress (and Aries!) based in New York City. She went from putting on productions in her living room as a child to gracing the stages of the Hollywood Bowl (Into the Woods) and Broadway’s Walter Kerr theatre (Hadestown)! Her favorite credits also include A Christmas Carol at the Ahmanson (which unfortunately didn’t reach Christmastime due to Covid), Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia at East West Players, and Kei Kimura in Allegiance at SpeakEasy Stage. Offstage, she’s a certified barista and has completed a Master Chef course. She advises young artists to do their research on the business aspect of performing, and to get a head start on creating their Roth IRAs! After all, “starting up any business will always cost a lot of money, and a career in the arts is certainly not exempt from that!” Read on to learn more about Grace Yoo and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Yuka Tadano

April 02, 2022

Yuka Tadano is a jazz artist based in NYC! Growing up in a musical family, she picked up the violin at the age of 6 and played duets with her twin sister. After rediscovering her love for music through the electric bass in high school, she went on to pursue music professionally and studied at the University of North Texas. Now, her resume boasts credits such as Smokey Joe's Cafe Revival at Stage 42, The Lightning Thief on Broadway, and Tony and The Kiki, and has played Shanghai Concert Hall with her band (YT little d). She’s now involved with Suffs, a new show to be produced at The Public theatre! Her biggest takeaway as an artist? Knowing one’s limits to avoid burnout, and to “work hard, [and] treat yourself lovely.” Tadano advises young artists to research and network with the people they admire by “[seeing] their shows… [introducing] themselves… [asking] them to meet for coffee… [and asking] specific questions.” Read on to learn more about what makes Yuka Tadano an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Rikki Lee

March 26, 2022

Rikki Lee is a rock guitarist based in London! With an “unfair advantage” of being born into a musical family, she picked up music at a young age. After graduating from the University of Westminster, she went on to perform on iTV’s Game of TalentsLater with Jools Holland with Priya Ragu, and Hillsong Carols at the Wembley Arena! Now, Lee is currently a permanent touring band member for Priya Ragu and Martin Smith, and a musical content creator on both YouTube and Instagram. Her biggest piece of advice to young artists? “Get used to showing your work to others on social media.” Read on to learn more about Rikki Lee and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Momoko Sugai

March 19, 2022

Momoko Sugai is a performer (and Pisces!) based in Pasadena. At the age of 5, she developed her lifelong love of dance through tap classes in Japan, and her commitment to theatre through a production of Annie at 11 years old! She went on to graduate from Fullerton College and acquire impressive credits such as Allegiance on Broadway and Mamma Mia! at the La Mirada Theater! Her favorite part of the industry? Traveling and meeting new people – be it through living in a cast house with seasoned industry professionals or performing on a cruise ship and waking up in incredible new locales each day! She advises young artists to keep in mind that everyone’s needs are different, which makes their needs as creatives different, to trust themselves and their process, and above all, to “keep doing what [they] love!” Read on to learn more about Momoko Sugai and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: DeAnna Choi

March 12, 2022

DeAnna is an actress based in New York City. Her artistic career began at the age of 7 covering songs from The Little Mermaid in her laundry room, and led her to take on principal roles in high school. After studying at the Berklee College of Music, she went on to join the national tour of The King and I as Lady Thiang and become a featured Soprano Soloist in the Carnegie Hall premiere of Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns. Currently, Choi is working on The Emperor’s Nightingale off-Broadway, and is working on a Christmas EP for 2022 with two concerts in London and in Madagascar lined up! She also makes time giving back to her community with the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre (a non-profit with a mission to provide performing opportunities to diverse actors. Her advice to young artists? “Seek out opportunities to perform live, as this will be your best training ground to put your tools to the test.” Read on to learn more about DeAnna Choi and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Ashley Chiu

March 05, 2022

Ashley Chiu is an actress based in New York. Her artistic journey began at the age of 7 while watching a production of The Sound of Music in her community. She took up dance classes, which lead to formal theatre training at  NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she received a BFA in Drama. After performing in Jimmy Kimmel’s 2019 live show, she’s about to make her Broadway debut in Once Upon a One More Time, a new musical featuring the songs of Britney Spears set to premiere this November! Her goals for future projects? To make representation in mainstream media the norm. Chiu advises young artists to “[be the] bravest, boldest, and best way to make a path for [themselves] as an artist is to be nothing but yourself.” Read on to learn more about Ashley Chiu and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Jay Adana

February 26, 2022

Jay Adana is a songwriter based in fabulous Las Vegas. Though a middle school play piqued her interest in the Arts, it wasn’t until Adana saw Bernadette Peters’ performance in Into The Woods that she decided to pursue a career in entertainment. After receiving her BFA at SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory and attending several other schools for music writing and production, she’s gone on to win the Richard Rodgers Award for The Loophole, the Vivace Award for Vera and the Battle of New Seoul, and The Jonathan Larson Grant, and has had her work produced on the prominent stages of La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, New World Stages, and more. Her advice for young artists? “Take business classes and listen to your gut always.” An advocate for creating a broad foundation, Adana recommends budding performers and creators get as much experience in as many disciplines as possible – and to get comfortable asking for help. Read on to learn more about Jay and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Keiko Elizabeth

February 19, 2022

Keiko is an educator turned actress based in Los Angeles. Originally at Stanford University for pre-med biology, she discovered a passion for teaching that led to co-writing and producing a student’s play. Keiko felt moved by the production’s power, and went on to apply and become accepted into Cal State Fullerton’s MFA program. Now, Keiko stars on popular streaming services such as Showtime’s “City on a Hill,” and has produced a documentary (“Herselves”) for The New Yorker! In addition to her impressive resume, Keiko serves on Carry the Future’s advisory board to provide aid to refugee families. She advises young artists to “focus on developing [their] own authenticity”  and to ask questions that allow for self-expression and foster imagination. Read on to learn more about Keiko Elizabeth and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Mapuana Makia

February 12, 2022

Mapuana Makia is an actress primarily based in L.A., Vancouver, and Hawaii! She discovered her love for the Arts in kindergarten after seeing a production and wanting to join the actors onstage. She went on to graduate from the Hawaii Pacific University with a degree in Theatre, and booked her first film, Aloha (where she got to meet Emma Stone!). Now, she stars in Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. as Noelani Nakayama, and has also appeared in Two Sentence Horror Stories and FOX’s Fantasy Island. She values the connections and collaborations she’s made along the way, finding those elements the most comforting in such a tumultuous career path. Makia’s advice to young artists? To “look into the business side as aggressively as craft… [and] find what you can do to make a comfortable living while pursuing the work,” as well as seeking out background and student film work to gain experience and find outlets and friends to support your mental health. Read on to learn more about Mapuana Makia and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Minami Yusui

February 05, 2022

Minami Yusui is an actress and creative based in New York. She pursued formal theatre training in NYC, where she gained her first musical experience as a Performance Intern with Maine State Music Theatre, which provided her with a foundation of the Arts across all departments (and provided her with a lifelong love for the industry). After 88 auditions (yes, she counted!), Yusui finally booked her very first professional show! Since then, she’s served as the Assistant Director and translator for the Japanese premiere production of Spring Awakening, and Love Life at New York City Center’s Encores, and has produced a Broadway Jazz album (Playful) with her husband, Dan. Now, Yusui is the Dance Captain for the National Tour of My Fair Lady! She advises young artists to “Always remember the moment that inspired [them]. It’ll help [them] stay grounded and also lift [them] through difficult times.” Read on to learn more about Minami Yusui and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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