Stephanie Jae Park is an actress and songwriter based in New York City. Born into a musical family in Guam, she started her performance journey at the age of 4 after watching her sisters take fine arts classes. Now, she’s the principal standby for Hamilton on Broadway and a songwriter for her band, Saffron Lips! Park advocates for learning as much as possible about the industry and each role to help with an artist’s creative process, and is a believer in “very radical self love,” insisting that self care and mental health should always take precedence to keep one’s headspace clear. Her advice to young artists? “Stay in your lane and don't look right and left!” Read on to learn more about Stephanie Jae Park and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Stephanie Jae Park
Hometown: Chalan Pago, Guam
Current City: NYC
Current project: Hamilton on Broadway (Principal Standby)
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
Eliza in Hamilton on Tour, "Fire to my Air" original debut album with Saffron Lips.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Stay in your lane and don't look right and left! It's easy to compare careers with your peers or coworkers, but everyone is on their own unique and highly personalized journey. There's no race!
How did you get your start?
I had two older sisters in a very musical family on Guam. I would beg my mom for voice, piano, and dance lessons/classes because my sisters were taking them. So my mom obliged and I was off around age 4!
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
Hmm… I think when I finally gathered the courage to say no to certain jobs, auditions, and more, I was suddenly offered jobs that were more fitting to the career that I wanted. I felt very empowered.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Perfectionism! It's my biggest weakness and my biggest barrier to success. Nowadays I challenge myself to fail more often so I can learn and grow.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I was born and raised on Guam for the first 11 years of my life, and haven't been back :/ I miss it!
Who do you admire?
SO many artists, but off the top of my head I LOVE Alicia Keys. She is a true artist – vulnerable, bold, authentic, and just so open.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
Singing was always something I was just kind of good at...music in general, but singing was my thing. It's funny to say but there wasn't a singular moment that made me decide this. Even after I had done 2 original Broadway shows, I re-questioned my whole career, and only then did I realize that I am happiest and most alive when expressing myself through music.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
Very typical, but I was a singing server for a while! If I did a bad job as a server, I'd make up for it by sight reading /singing whatever anyone requested!
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
My partner and I went into songwriting over the pandemic, and wrote and produced an entire album! We are called Saffron Lips and the album is named "Fire to my Air," on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon music, etc.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Trust in the journey! Enjoy the journey! And do not compare yourself to anyone else. The most "marketable" thing you can do is learn who you are authentically, and let that shine through your art.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Acting is huge. I trained in NYC after graduating from college for musical theatre but I felt like a complete beginner. I worked with Laura Henry in NYC and she changed my life. Not only my career but my whole personality changed haha.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I'd really like to dabble in a lot of different areas of art – voiceover work, music direction, TV/Film acting, concerts/cabarets, etc.
What do you love most about what you do?
Inspiring future artists that look like me.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
Very radical self love. I prioritized my self-awareness and mental health. I deleted most people on social media and only followed people who made me feel good about myself. Did the same thing in real life haha.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane?
What was your self care routine before the pandemic and how has that (as well as your views of self care) changed throughout the pandemic? In my darkest days I would journal like crazy. (I recommendThe Artist's Way! It's a great course for artists who are feeling stuck). I filled up 10 journals in 2 years because I had so much to figure out! Nowadays my self care is mostly in fitness, meditation, and my relationships. Also, therapy haha.
How do you think your creative process has changed over time?
So silly, but I used to kind of just wing it? And now I work my ass off. I take a lot of voice lessons, acting coachings, and I do a lot of homework on every role, updating it whenever it doesn't feel right anymore.
Since so many of us spent a lot of time isolated during the pandemic, how has that experience specifically changed your creative or preparation process or your outlook on life?
It turned me into a songwriter! I've always wanted to write music and sing my own style of music. I was able to experiment with my partner and we are so proud of our album because of it.
To find out more about Stephanie Jae Park , please visit her at:
Social Media: @stephanieslaypark and @saffronlips
Comments will be approved before showing up.