Naiia Lajoie is a Filipina/Syrian/French Canadian triple threat performer originally from Montreal, Canada. Now based in Los Angeles, she is an award-winning actor, member of SAG-AFTRA and ACTRA, and also works as a stuntwoman specializing in underwater stunts. You can find her work across multiple streaming services: Netflix's "Drug Lords", Silencer; Amazon Prime Video's "My Crazy Ex", The Gingerweed Man; Vudu's "Blue Mountain State''; and Flixwest's Widow. Naiia is also an award-winning columnist. She writes a column called "Glass Half-Fil" for the Filipino-centric Manila Up! Magazine, as well as a column titled "My So-Cal'd Life" for its lifestyle sister magazine EXQUISITE International. She is the Magazine Editor for both publications and is a member of the LA Press Club. Read on to learn more about Naiia Lajoie and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Nissa Tzun is a bilingual artist and advocate across multiple arts disciplines based in Las Vegas. Tzun’s artistry spans her entire life, but first truly fell into place as a special needs teacher in Brooklyn experiencing the “marginalization and oppression of Black and Brown [students].” This fueled her to seek outlets for her antiracist campaigns in New York. Her work has continued to include co-founding the Forced Trajectory Project (a PR and media advocacy organization for survivors and victims of police violence), producing at Residuum Docuseries (a series about police violence in Las Vegas), and co-establishing the New York City chapter of Families United 4 Justice (an organization made up of families and survivors impacted by police violence), later bringing another chapter to Las Vegas. In addition to her activism, Tzun is pursuing her Masters in Social Work and Masters in Journalism & Media Studies at UNLV! She urges young artists to discover their “why,” and is a firm believer in “being rooted in your purpose.. [to] help young people understand where their artistry can fit into society.” Read on to learn more about Nissa Tzun and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Stephanie Mieko Cohen is an actress and singer based in New York City! She made her Broadway debut as Young Cosette in Les Miserables, a role she also performed on the national tour! Stephanie also enjoys workshopping new works, having performed in the premiere of the musical Solana by Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid! Having struggled with Trichotillomania since the age of twelve, Stephanie started an Instagram account called @Stephcoandherhats highlighting her journey and dedicated to mental health awareness. Read on to learn more about Stephanie and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Michaela Ternasky-Holland is a compassionate storyteller, creative strategist, collaborative consultant and engaging public speaker based in New York City. After graduating from UC Irvine, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film and journalism industry. It was here she realized a more immersive and interactive journalism career is what she desired, and her true exploration of virtual reality began. She was hired by TIME as a LIFE VR intern, which moved her to New York, and ever since she has been pursuing a dance/performance career and working as a creator and producer in emerging technology. One of her favorite works, FACE TO FACE, tells a riveting story through set design, 360° video technology, 3D printing, and escape room methodology during an hour long, three act experience. The project was funded by the Arts Council of England to premiere at Sheffield International Documentary Festival in 2018. Read on to learn more about Michaela and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Elaine N is an actress, host and model based in Los Angeles. The accomplished multilingual entertainer was first spotted by a studio executive, and ever since has taken on numerous roles and projects in the arts. From television to film, her work includes performances on shows for TruTV, Oxygen Network and Discovery Life, and her incredible voiceover talent has been featured in commercials, video games, public service announcements, educational videos and more. Along with the passion, devotion and appreciation she carries for her craft, Elaine N also makes time to give back. She currently sits on the board for Girls IN Focus, an organization with a mission to connect girls and non-binary youth globally with film programs so they emerge as industry leaders. She encourages young artists just starting their career to not settle for average and, “if you don’t succeed wake up the next day and keep going.” Read on to learn more about Elaine N and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jolina Javier is an actress, dancer, model and certified personal trainer based in New York. She graduated Cum Laude from SUNY Purchase College with a BFA in Dance and was the recipient of the program’s Ballet Achievement Award. Upon graduation, Jolina has had a tremendous performing arts career. She has been on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera; played the role of Connie Wong in A Chorus Line at New York City Center; was a cast member in The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall; and performed at the Metropolitan Opera. In addition to stage work, Jolina also has been featured in commercials, working with popular brands such as Boll & Branch, BioTrue, Kayak and BJ’s Brewhouse and Restaurant. Along with her love for the arts, she also has a passion for health, fitness, cooking, donuts and nature and enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike and furbaby, Roy. When asked who she admires, Jolina points to her mother saying, “she is the reason why I am so successful today.” Read on to learn more about Jolina and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Linda Joe is an Entertainment Producer and Executive based in Los Angeles. She attended University of Southern California and New York University studying Cinema-Television and Media and soon after began her entertainment industry career in development and acquisitions. From there, she moved on to international sales and distribution for film and TV, to producing big budget productions and events for renowned companies such as Paramount Pictures, NBC Entertainment, E! Entertainment, Fox International Productions and more. Linda also has worked with film and television award shows, major festivals - such as Cannes and Sundance - and produced for large-scale events including Comic-Con, SXSW and Global Esports World Championship. She recently was Head of Production for Infinity Grove Entertainment where she developed an original Broadway-bound musical called Accidental Joy, a dark comedy focused on one woman’s journey to find the guru within. The successful production featured a diverse cast and had multiple sold-out shows during its run. Read on to learn more about Linda and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Karin Kawamoto is a user experience designer, researcher and strategist based in New York. She has directed some of the most complex and iconic design projects in finance and has made a successful career of developing tech-focused methodologies for companies seeking to incorporate best practices and solutions. In 2020, she oversaw the development of applications that are now used as the premier production finance and management systems in the entertainment industry. Prior to her impressive career in technology, Karin graduated from the University of California, Irvine and pursued a life in the performing arts. Her first role was as a dancer in “Bugs Bunny Goes Hollywood” at a theme park in Santa Clara, CA followed by involvement in a variety of other productions including a performance with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and multi-year tours with A Chorus Line. Her current passion is working with Friends of National Asian Artists Cabaret and National Asian Artist Project, two forums that showcase the work of Asian-American theatre artists through performance, outreach and educational programming. From hosting conversations on Clubhouse to performing in virtual cabarets, Karin continues to be an inspiring role model who regularly impacts her community in a positive way. Read on to learn more about Karin and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Yuko Kudo is a multi-dimensional artist and creator based in New York City. She uses art and storytelling to create community, while reminding people they are not alone, and uses her personal life experiences to bring awareness to diversity and inclusion, immigration, women’s rights and mental wellness. Yuko is the Founder and Artistic Director of the "I AM" Series Global (2017-19), which showcases artists' talent within themes focused on claiming one's various, complex identities and belonging. She has appeared in Forbes, TIME and other media outlets through her work as a photographer and she was a finalist for the Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Award for the Actor’s Equity Association. Her latest artistic creation includes a self-produced musical SOLO show entitled, "I Came Here To Be Love," focused on belonging. Yuko also has facilitated the creation of collaborative educational spaces that spotlight the intersection of art and activism. Read on to learn more about Yuko and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jennifer Hartwick is a writer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate, mother of two boys and is currently working on publishing her first book about her father’s journey with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. The inspiration for the literary work comes from her personal story as a caregiver to her dad and chronicles each chapter of the experience in a raw, truthful and authentic way. Jennifer’s hope is that her words “helps even just one person not feel alone in their journey.” She encourages everyone to love and enjoy the people around them because life is short. Along with her passion for writing, Jennifer is a full-time video game recruiter for Electronic Arts, a company that develops and delivers games, content and online services for mobile devices, personal computers and more. Read on to learn more about Jennifer and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jessica Wu is a writer, director and songwriter based in New York City. She began her professional theatre career over a decade ago, performing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Television, YouTube and more. Highlights of her work include the Broadway Revivals of Miss Saigon and a Chorus Line; Shakespeare in the Park; The Radio City Spring Spectacular; Goodspeed Musicals; National Tours of Doctor Dolittle; and appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She also has written several short films and theatrical works, such as “You, Me, I, We,” that won multiple development awards, including The National Asian Artists Project’s Discover: New Musicals Series. Her new musical, “Poupelle of Chimney Town,” based on the original bestselling book and Japanese stage play by Akihiro Nishino, is slated to debut in Tokyo, Japan in Fall 2021 and the 2022 season Off-Broadway in NYC. In addition to her already busy schedule, Jessica also is an adjunct Theatre Professor at American University, a mentor with Harvard-Radcliffe G&S Players and she spent several years in Non-Profit Arts Leadership as an Associate Artistic Director. Read on to learn more about Jessica and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Priya Mahendra is an actor based in Short Hills, New Jersey. She seeks to be part of narratives that explore, and to play characters that navigate love, equality, humanity, hope, freedom, courage, belonging, legacy, curiosity and compassion. Her latest work, The Princess Possibility Project, brings to life the hopes, constraints, dreams and desires of seven princesses (Anastasia, Ariel, Cinderella, Mulan, Belle, Jasmine and Rapunzel) through their “I Want” songs. The intention of the video series is to raise awareness that universally known and loved characters can be portrayed in a consciously inclusive way, a topic Priya is passionate about. When not working on an artistic endeavor, Priya enjoys meditation, hiking, mindset work and spending time with her family. Her father, mother and brother have all had a positive impact on her life, teaching her the importance of hard work, staying curious and leading with joy. Read on to learn more about Priya and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jennifer Kumiyama is a singer, actress and speaker based in Long Beach, California. Born with Arthrogryposis, a condition defined by multiple congenital joint contractures, Jennifer uses a wheelchair daily, however, she has shown the world that talent sees no limitations. She received vocal lessons at Long Beach College and California State University of Long Beach, propelling her into an incredible singing career. In 2000, Jennifer appeared on Warner Bros. reality TV show “Popstars 2,” receiving praise for her voice from national publications such as Variety magazine and TV Guide, and, two years later, was cast in Disney’s “Aladdin: a Musical Spectacular” at Disney California Adventure Theme Park. She performed four times a day in front of thousands of international guests and was the first performer in a wheelchair to ever be on any Disney stage. It was here that she became an advocate for people living with disabilities and a strong voice that would break barriers. In 2010, Jennifer was crowned Ms. Wheelchair California followed by Ms. Wheelchair America 2011, First Runner Up and used her platform, “Empowering Children with Disabilities to Make Their Own Dreams Come True” to spread the message of hope. Read on to learn more about Jennifer and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!