Amazing Asians in the Arts: Jennie Kwan
Jennie Kwan is an actor, singer, and vocal coach based in Los Angeles!! She has been on stage with shows like Miss Saigon and Avenue Q, and also in the TV/Film industry in California Dreams and Avatar: The Last Airbender! Keep reading to find out more about what makes Jennie an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Jennie Kwan
Heritage: Filipino, Spanish, German, Chinese
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Current Project: Scissor Seven, various anonymous video games and animated
What are some of your favorite credits/projects?
Miss Saigon, California Dreams, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avenue Q, Bare, the Musical
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you’d like to share?
One of my favorite moments in my career is when I played the lead in a show called “Land of Smiles” written and created by my amazing friend Erin Kamler. The musical deals with the challenging subject matter of sex trafficking in Asia, more specifically, Myanmar. Erin is an activist and wrote the show to educate through theater arts. The characters were based on years of her research. I had the honor to travel to Thailand to perform the show for many of the people who the show was about affected. It was a life changing experience.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
The advice I have for anyone getting into the arts is, first and foremost, share your art form because you love it. I see so many young people get into the arts because they want fame and fortune overnight. It doesn’t happen overnight for the majority of people. Be prepared and professional. That means take the time to learn and hone your craft. You can be talented but when you enter a professional situation people want to work with artists who are on top of their game and pleasant to work with.
Do you have any organizations or nonprofits you work with you’d like to highlight?
The nonprofit I would like to highlight is Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles. HHCLA provides services that help rehabilitate Los Angeles’ homeless population back into society.
How did you get your start?
I started acting and singing when I was 11 years old. I was in a performing troupe in Los Angeles called “Kids of the Century.” We traveled all over Southern California and one time to New York for the commemoration of the Statue of Liberty! On the flight home to Los Angeles from New York, I was discovered by an agent. True story!
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
Most of my family members are in the medical field. The majority of them are successful doctors and nurses. When I was really young I thought I would either be a pediatrician or a veterinarian, but as I grew older I learned I couldn’t stand the sight of blood or the thought of losing anyone or any animal.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between shows to pay the bills?
I’ve had a couple of “odd jobs” that people would be surprised I did. I even surprised myself. I’ll just leave it there. LOL!!
Do you have any other “special skills?”
There is one “special skill” that not many people know I can do. I am an excellent hula hooper. I thought it was a fluke but after not picking up the hula hoop for many years I proved myself wrong. Last year I was waiting for a flight to meet my friends for a vacation. I was flying solo. The airline decided to host games for its passengers prior to boarding. Usually I am pretty shy but when the flight attendant announced the hula hooping contest I couldn’t resist. I beat everyone out! I was so excited, when I was announced the winner I celebrated with the people in the terminal. It was so exciting! LOL
What is your greatest accomplishment?
One of my greatest accomplishments as far as my career goes is sticking to it all these years through all the changes and ups and downs and also, overcoming my stage fright. It was so severe at ties throughout my career I almost stopped a couple of times. It has really lightened up in the past few years. It’s not that I don’t get nervous, but I have such a better handle on it now.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
Some of the goals I hope to achieve are more behind the scenes. I have been more in the forefront most of my career and now I am delving into more producing. I have many ideas I would like to bring to life. I am in the process of making that happen one by one. If it happens that I can create a show that I create and can act in, that would be a dream come true!
What do you love most about what you do?
What I love most about being an artist is connecting with people, having an effect on them. My acting coach shared a quote with me once that still resonates with me today: “Artists reveal what other people conceal.” If I can help someone feel something, whatever that emotion may be, from my acting, singing, voice over work, then I have done my job. It has always been and will continue to be my hope to make a change in someone’s life.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
I have had to rebound from a few things that I considered a mistake or failure. What has helped me the most is to feel that disappointment of what happened, practice not taking the situation too personally, get clear on what I want, then getting up and getting back to the task at hand.
What inspires you?
What inspires me is hearing peoples’ stories of how they turned their trials and tribulations into success. When people share their vulnerability of what they went through to get where they wanted to be, it motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing.
To find out more about Jennie, please visit her at:
Facebook: Jennie Kwan