Naomi Takata Shepherd, an artist and creator based in San Jose, CA, is the founder of 6 Degrees of Hapa, an inclusive online and in-person platform that celebrates mixed cultures through art, apparel, storytelling and community building. Her goal in creating the brand was to celebrate hapas as individuals, along with the family, friends and communities that hold them up and make them who they are. Through pop-up activations at festivals, #ShareYourHapaStory blog posts that feature amazing hapas, stories about their experiences and identity; food and cultural events and more, Shepherd has continued to champion the culture through thought, word and action. On the 6 Degrees of Hapa Threadless Artist Shop, a limited edition “Mixed Communities for Black Lives” t-shirt is available with 100% of proceeds being donated to Black Lives Matter. Along with her successful business, Shepherd is passionate about writing, designing and creating art and films with a focus on intersectional and inclusive narratives. Read on to learn more about Naomi and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
I’ve heard a lot of different definitions of “self-care” so I decided to look it up. The definition I found is: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness during periods of stress. I’m going to go ahead and expand that too, REGULARLY.
Alex Lin is an award-nominated playwright, screenwriter and journalist, based in Saddle River, New Jersey. Her work is powered by a drive to bridge the gap between science and entertainment industries. As a space journalist and executive producer with Supercluster, Lin has worked with former astronauts, NASA executives, Hollywood celebrities and others to bring powerful stories to life. On Real Astronaut/Play Astronaut, a Supercluster content series that brings real life and silver screen astronauts together in conversation, a recent episode Lin produced highlights actor David Oyelowo and former astronaut Alvin Drew discussing the 2020 American sci-fi film, The Midnight Sky. Along with exclusive coverage of the Netflix movie, the episode raised awareness for Drew’s initiative, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship – a scholarship empowering Black Excellence in the aerospace industry. As a playwright, Lin’s scripts have been workshopped and produced with Women’s Theatre Festival, Miami University, University of Idaho, Actors Theatre of Louisville (PTC) and more. She is a 2020 Pass the Pen nominee at Ashland New Plays Festival, a 2020 ScreenCraft Stay Play Quarterfinalist and a member of the 2020/21 Asian American Arts Alliance Virtual Residency. Read on to learn more about Alex and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
I think I can get caught up a lot in all the harmful things I do/think about myself. The past year instead of trying to cease bad habits and thought patterns, I've tried to practice adding one good thing. I'm a firm believer in not being able to replace something with nothing. For example, I struggle a lot with body image, and most days I look in the mirror and feel very down on myself. Instead of telling myself "stop that!" I try to say one good thing. So yes, maybe today I hate my acne scars, but I can also say "wow, my body is really incredible in the way it tells me what it needs. These scars are proof of how it tries to communicate with me.
Carol Nguyen is a talented 22-year-old filmmaker, based in Toronto and Montreal, who explores the subjects of family, memory and cultural identity within her work. The 2019 documentary, “No Crying at the Dinner Table,” premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) before going on to receive the Jury Prize for Short Documentary at SXSW. Carol’s incredible talent and passion has awarded her recognition as a 2018 Sundance Ignite fellow, Adobe Creativity Scholar and a TIFF Share Her Journey ambassador, a role with a mission to champion female storytellers. Read on to learn more about Carol and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Something that helps me in keeping present and grounded within my mind and body, is going outside every day for at least an hour. It allows me to unplug from whatever I've got going on and I get to fill my lungs with fresh air. By prioritizing time in my day to play (ex: walk, run, skate, bike) outside, I can be every inch of human-simply-BEING that I am. It is time set aside to connect with my breath and celebrate my body for its ability to carry me into whatever this life throws.
Cre8sian Project Scholarship Winner Ella Mariano has been busy this year! Currently she has been working hard on her studies, especially the college level classes, keeping up with chamber and show choir, and focusing on maintaining good mental health. This past winter she also participated in Positively Arts’s Home for the Holidays Spectacular as well as making a video for an Advent Calendar of Holiday Cheer for a young student battling cancer. She’s also working on original music to potentially be released this year! In addition to all of this, The Cre8sian Project is sponsoring vocal lessons for her with Phantom of the Opera Broadway cast member Satomi Hofmann! Keep your eyes open for this #AmazingAsianInTheArts as she continues to reach for the stars!
Bri Ng Schwartz is a facilitator and curator of artistic community engagement programming based in Brooklyn, NY. She is passionate about creating programs, performances and digital spaces for and by intersectional communities, working with groups such as the National Queer Theater, New York Theater Workshop and Theater Communications Group. Her future goals include getting a PhD in Performance Studies and teaching university-level classes in Applied Theater. Read on to learn more about Bri and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Today’s self care tip is from Patranya Bhoolsuwan!
I have to admit, I am one of those people where "self care" is not something I put at the top of my "to do" list. And trust me, I always have a "to do" list. But with this pandemic and a career change happening at the same time, it forced me to stop and think about how much my life & health really go hand in hand.
Determin8sian Scholarship winner Brianna Gracia has been busy with rehearsals for Shrek the Musical at Seedling Theatre Company where she landed the role of Pinocchio and is part of Seedling’s Showcase Cast! She also just completed a 4-week course in Beginning Voiceover Acting at The Voice Actors Studio. At Coronado High School , where Brianna is a freshman, she recently got cast in the play “Clue.” During her free time, Brianna enjoys writing and graphic arts. Keep your eyes open for this rising #AmazingAsianintheArts as she continues to reach for the stars!
Karla Garcia is an actor based in Oxon Hill, MD! She has performed on Broadway in Hot Feet and Hamilton, performing in the 2016 Tonys with the original cast of Hamilton! She was also in the NBC TV show Smash and is currently choreographing a new musical called Other World. Keep reading to find out more about what makes Karla an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Today we start our new Self Care Series! With so much going on in the world it’s easy to feel like you’re struggling alone. But the truth is you are not alone! Everyone struggles whether you can see it or not. This series is designed to show how even the most successful people still have to deal with life and find ways to self care. We hope that you will discover something from them that can help you!
Self care is an important part of life, and with so many things in the world disconnecting us we want to reach out and let you know that you are seen, you are heard, and you are not alone in your struggles.
Next month we will be putting out a series of self care tips and practices from some of our Amazing Asians in the Arts. We hope that you can find something that helps you stay sane and focused, and realize that we are ALL going through the same daily struggles.
Joanna Sotomura is a TV/Film actor based in Los Angeles! She has been in Major TV series like Hawaii 5-0 and Criminal Minds, has a recurring guest role on a series called Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye, and appeared in the Emmy Award winning film Emma Approved! Keep reading to find out more about what makes Joanna an Amazing Asian in the Arts!