Photo credit: Lauren Winn
Alex Chester is an actor, model, writer, and producer based in New York City!! She has appeared in major magazines as a model, and went on to become the face that introduced the first Chevy Geo commercial! She has also been in various TV shows such as The Closer, The Good Wife, and New Amsterdam. She has also had a successful career in theater, landing roles in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Chorus Line, and was also the first Asian American to play Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in Fire Island Pines Arts Project’s production of The 25th Annual County Spelling Bee! With all of these credits in the business, Alex’s prize project is Hapa Mag, a magazine for mixed race Asians that she is the creator and Editor-In Chief. Keep reading to find out more about what makes Alex an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Alex Chester
Heritage: ½ Japanese American/French Russian Jew
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Current City: NYC
Current Project: Hapa Mag, Model Majority, We’re Not All Ninjas the podcast and completing my BFA through St Mary’s LEAP Program. I’m a senior and should be graduating in Spring of 2021, then starting culinary school this summer at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)!
Photo credit: Lauren Winn
What are some of your favorite credits/projects?
Favorite acting credits:
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenaire in the 25th Annual County Spelling Bee at Fire Island (I believe I am the first Asian American to play this role!)
Little Red in Into the Woods with Prospect Theater Co/National Asian Artist Project
Minnie Fay in Hello Dolly directed by Lee Roy Reams with NAAP
GymSlip Who in Broadway’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Favorite TV Credits:
New Amsterdam, The Closer, ER
Hapa Mag – An online publication written by Mixed Asians for everyone
We’re Not All Ninjas the Podcase
First Asian American Sketch Comedy Troupe: Model Majority
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you’d like to share?
Getting the opportunity to play Logainne Schwartzandgrubennare in Spelling Bee was a dream come true. Usually, because I am part Asian, I am never considered for a role in this show that isn’t Marcy Park. It was such a pleasure to play a role that I truly felt connected with personality-wise and not just because I happen to be part Asian.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Oh gosh . . . make sure you are in therapy . . . you’re going to need it. Also, don’t’ be afraid to speak up. Your voice matters, and you count. The only way we will see positive change in the entertainment industry is by making the changes we want to see.
Do you have any organizations or nonprofits you work with you’d like to highlight?
NAAP and CAATA. They both do wonderful things for the Asian American community.
How did you get your start?
I started working professionally when I was 5 years old. I used to model and worked in my first equity show at 5 playing Molly in Annie.
Who do you admire?
I would have to say I admire Baayork Lee. She is a strong woman who continues to inspire me. She is one incredibly hard working person and has paved the way for so many of us of Asian American heritage.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I have been in the arts since I was 5. The only other path that has interested me is the culinary arts. I hope to go to culinary school once I graduate college.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
I’ve known since I was a child that I wanted to be in the arts
Do you have any other “special skills?”
My friends and co-workers have told me I am a community builder. I never really though of myself like that, but I think I have a knack for bringing people together, which I have done with my magazine Hapa Mag.
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
Hapa Mag. This is my baby. We are 3 years going strong and were mentioned as one of three online magazines in the Nielsen Consumer Report of 2020 for Asian Americans. We are now an LLC too.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Being mixed race.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Improv. This has helped me keep on my toes because you never know what will be thrown at you. Also, not being afraid to speak up in uncomfortable situations.
Where did you study at?
I have studied independently with various voice, acting, and dance teachers from LA to NYC.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
I think my greatest accomplishment is Hapa Mag. My fantastic team and I have created a community for Mixed Asians where there wasn’t one before.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
A Hapa Mag empire. We are in the works to create a Film Festival . . . stay tuned!
What do you love most about what you do?
I love making connections with different people, on stage, or through Hapa Mag. Community is one of my favorite parts of what I do.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
I think the biggest mistake of my career was trying to be something I am not. I’ve gone down this road multiple times, and while yes, I would still work, I don’t think I ever felt like I was being myself. I would dye my hair a darker brown to appear more Asian, or I’ve gone blonde to look more white. While I’ve always loved dying my hair, I’ve never felt more like myself than with my purple locks. Yeah, this might not make me as “marketable,” but I still work, and I feel happy on the inside and honestly, that’s what a wig is for.
What made you take the leap from acting to writing or directing, and how did it change your way of thinking?
I got sick and tired of not seeing Hapas represented in the media so I thought, why not create my own online publication to highlight and elevate the mixed Asian voice.
What inspires you?
My mom and grandmama, my Hapa Mag team, and my friends!
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
Hahaha, I feel like everyone is going to say this year 2020. Not only has Covid affected EVERYONE, but this year has been challenging personally. My father died in March; I couldn’t be with him because of Covid. I wasn’t close to him, but he was really my only connection to my Japanese American side, and now that he is gone, I am wondering how to stay connected to it. Also, when Hapa Mag was mentioned in the Nielsen Consumer Report this year, it felt like Hapa Mag was finally getting the recognition we all have been striving for these past 3 years. Now we are suddenly on fire, and we have so much fantastic stuff happening for us! Oh, and finding my therapist. Seriously this has changed my life.
To find out more about Alex, please visit her at:
Instagram/Twitter: @AlexFChester and @TheHapaMag
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