Amazing Asians in the Arts: Jasmine Rafael
Name: Jasmine Rafael
Hometown: Riverside, CA
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Current Project: Netflix's "The Prom," choreographing of Crazy Talented Asians, cast of Mamma Mia at upcoming production at 5-Star Theatrical
What are some of your favorite credits/projects: Ariana Grande's VMA Performance "God is a Woman," Netflix's "The Prom," choreographing Stephen Sondheim's musical "Assassins" at East West Players - the longest running theater of people of color in the nation.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I started reeeally training in dance quite late, 16. I'd just love to share that so people know it's never too late!
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Don't fight for your limitations. If anything, use them as a stepping stone to a unique perspective that you can use for your art. ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING is possible for you if you believe it.
Do you have any organizations or non profits you work with you'd like to highlight?
I work closely with East West Players, the longest running theater in the nation of people of color! Check them out to see how you can support this extraordinary organization that has done so much for us! www.EastWestPlayers.org
Do you have any favorite moments in your career you'd like to share?
I loved every job I got to do, but when I created my first LGBTQ+ project on my own, my short dance film "Cliff's Edge," this was a turning point for me in my career because I felt truly like more of myself, and the floodgates swung open to all kinds of inspiration that I received from the queer dance community. Ever since then, I've felt a confidence and unspeakable passion to tell my story authentically. Many incredible young people came out to me in confidence after these projects started happening, and this feeling can't be topped by any stage, truly.
Who do you admire?
I admire those artists that have become at peace with their vulnerability and truth and speak about that specific part of their journey unapologetically. I also love artists who just bring honesty in everything they touch; Alicia Keys, Natalie Portman, Keone and Mari Madrid come to mind.
Did you have any mentors?
I consider my peers as mentors when I feel resonance with them. The people I am fortunate to work with on any given project, everything they add with their care and love. I love learning from them.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Tenacity, drive, but more importantly than those, caring about how I felt and what resonated with me. Following my bliss, joy, and interests every time.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I always wanted to be in the arts, however, I did think of being a nurse when I first started college. That changed pretty quickly , but I commend and thank every Filipino kid that DID become a nurse, especially in these times.
When did you know you wanted to have a career as a performer?
I've been singing for my family since I could even hold a note. A little 3 year old singing "Again" by Janet Jackson at the Christmas party. . . I've always loved expressing myself through music, and dance became just another way of doing that. I love telling stories. When I was 19 and in college, I knew I had to just do it, that I would regret it forever, so I moved to LA and the rest is history.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
It's a challenge, but can just as equally be so exciting if you let it be; distinguishing your own path, apart from what you think it should be. No matter what! Every single step of the way. What brings YOU joy? You are you for a reason, nobody else can fulfill your unique purpose, not matter how alike you seem, no matter how close you and your friends are. Make those decisions that lead you closer to who you truly are. It may seem challenging, even lonely sometimes, but there is always a pay off. It's always fulfilling in the end.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Honestly, my greatest accomplishment, more than any accolade, is actually enjoying this journey even more every single day, the older I get. Finding MORE passion and excitement, paying attention to the nuances and achieving positive emotion within it all. That is priceless to me.
What do you love the most about what you do?
The sweet moment when you are completely present and at one with what you are doing, and you know that it is no longer just you dancing, singing, acting, or creating - you are at one with the Creator, the Universe . . . you are a vessel, and in that moment, you are certain there's nowhere else you'd rather be. I love that moment within this art. I wouldn't trade it for the world!
To find out more about Jasmine, please visit her at: