Rebecca Kwan is an actor from Toronto currently on the move from city to city! She got her start writing and performing her own skits at home, but didn’t initially pursue entertainment in school. After her third year studying fashion design at the Toronto Metropolitan University, Kwan took a trip home and realized her true career was in performance. Now in shows like SkyMed, she’s also begun development for a new film under her own production company, SeeYun Entertainment! Kwan’s advice to young artists? “...Follow the fun. Follow the joy and the process of understanding how much the love for the craft, and what you do needs to be there because of how tough all of this is sometimes.” Read on to learn more about Rebecca Kwan and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Rebecca Kwan
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Current City: Currently in between places!
Current project: SkyMed
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
My advice for young people getting into the arts would be to follow the fun. Follow the joy and the process of understanding how much the love for the craft and what you do needs to be there because of how tough all of this is sometimes. Not even just with acting! Just with being an artist. It's all SO subjective, and the North Star that will lead you to happiness and freedom within your passion is always remembering to have the most fun always.
How did you get your start?
Truthfully, it all started at home. I started acting not even realizing it was acting or a profession. When I was little, I’d dress up and create a different character and get my dad to film skits on his camcorder (I’m aging myself here!). TILL THIS DAY, he still has all of my skits on tape! I realized I just loved performing and entertaining when I was little and when I found out that the actors and performers that I love and watch so much do this for A LIVING?! I just knew this is all my heart wanted to do.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
Some of my favorite moments from my career ironically are from off of set. Of course I absolutely love work and being on set, but there’s something about the in between that propels me more. For example, during SkyMed, some of my favorite memories were on our off time. We all lived in the same condo building and the night before our first day on set, we all got together to bond and it was the people and the dynamic we all had together as a group that really made the whole experience of SkyMed so memorable, fun, and meaningful to me. It was always the best time hanging out with everybody, catching up after our days on set, and just enjoying the entire experience.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
“Hurry up & wait.” It's one of the most commonly used expressions in the industry and logically, I know how much it rings true! It’s challenging waiting at times. It’s the underlying strange feeling of uncertainty and pause that I’ve had a bit of a challenge with. I love work, if I could, I’d be in the “hurry up” portion of that expression for most of the time, but I’ve really learned over the course of my career how beautiful and exciting the wait part can also be because that's where a lot of growth sits.
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
I’ve just begun development on a new film under my production company SeeYun Entertainment. It's always been a dream of mine to write and help produce unique IPS that highlight and focus on marginalized communities. SeeYun is actually my Chinese name –
It's a name with a two part meaning to it, the first part “See” is my Mom, Cissy’s, Chinese name and the other half being from my cousin’s, Corrina Leung’s, Chinese name. These women in my life have impacted who I am and why I do what I do because of their incredible minds, strength, and how they operate in this world. My cousin Corrina and I shared huge dreams about breaking into the industry and changing it for the better. We’d stay up all night, talking and maybe even manifesting our plans on how we could actually do this and how we were going to revolutionize the industry together. We dreamt about changing how the world sees Asian women ever since we were little (this was way back when we had little to no representation in the media). We always talked about how we would shape and revolutionize asian ethnicity in film and TV. When Corrina passed when she was 18 it ultimately and completely devastated me. She was more of my sister than a cousin. But I’ve never forgotten about our plans and our dreams. I’ve always known in my heart that I would carry on our legacy and the plans we spent hours and hours talking about and upholding the values we’d always discussed of changing and help support the industry and how they tell our stories.
So while I’m not working on set, I’m working on the legacy that we’ve dreamt for.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Resilience and endurance has been the most helpful! With work and with just life in general. You just have to keep bouncing back no matter what this life and career throws at you! Not only does it make you stronger, but it's the moments when you look back and you think “my god. That was so difficult but hell, I made it through! And now I’m here!” That full-circle moment, just makes you realize why you went through what you did.
Where did you study at?
I studied at Ryerson (or now the Toronto Metropolitan University) for fashion design actually! Haha! I dropped out right before starting my 3rd year upon realizing I wasn’t listening to what my heart really wanted. I always knew I wanted to be an actor, and for a long time I ignored the impulse to just fully go for it because I saw how the industry treated people of a certain ethnicity or gender. I’d always been semi-committed because I was so unsure and afraid of the rejection or how I’d be treated. It wasn’t until it hit me on a trip to my parents home town in HK that I just really sat down and was like, “life is way too short to be settling for something I don't even want for myself,” and I wanted to be someone who broke through even when the odds were against them. It no longer mattered to me how many no’s I’d get. I’d just promised myself I’d keep going regardless because at least then I'd be true to what I want. I’d kind of rejected myself before the industry could! It was unfair to not even fully try before I gave myself a chance… There was something about being in the hometown where my roots lay that I really connected back to myself and who I truly am that I found the courage to leave school and actually fully dive into what I knew I wanted to do.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the connection. I love the moments of absolute flow when you’re just so consumed and in a scene, that nothing else around you exists. It feels like you’re daydreaming while you’re awake sometimes when you’re in this trance state of absolute commitment to the scene. Its honestly one of the most beautiful experiences. It's a bit of an escape from reality for a brief moment in time where you kind of realize you were just in a completely different reality or universe.
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