Amazing Asians in the Arts

Amazing Asians in the Arts: Sami Ma

October 29, 2022

Sami Ma is an actress based in NYC and former band nerd. After taking up dance and piano classes at a young age, she auditioned for “a very illegal production of Wicked Hairspray” that shaped her career path! Since her days as Tracy Turnblad, Ma is currently in the world premiere of Nativity Variations at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, made her off-Broadway debut in Once Upon A (korean) Time (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), performed regionally in The Chinese LadyThe Great Leap, and Gloria, and starred as Jen in Tender Ears (a film to premiere this October)! Offstage, Ma is a diehard Celtics fan and “self-proclaimed Chinese grandma to all!” in the process of creating a cookbook with her family’s Indian and Cantonese recipes. Her advice for young artists? “Get into the habit of cheering for everyone and remembering that their successes are NOT your failures. There’s room for every single person in this industry and all you have to do is focus on enjoying your own path!” Read on to learn more about Sami Ma and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: An Phan

October 22, 2022

An Phan is an actress, filmmaker, equestrian, and pageant community member based in Los Angeles. She fell in love with the Arts as a ballerina, artist, and pageant candidate, before going on to pursue theatre in high school. After obtaining her master’s in acting for film, Phan went on to appear as the first Asian-American girl on HBO’s hit series Euphoria, Showtimes’ Kidding as a leading co-star for the season finale, multiple Vietnamese talk shows, Vogue Italia, a TEDx speaker, and even the America Regency International 2021 Winner as Miss Vietnam! Offstage, she’s a professional equestrian, and combines her love for helping children with ADHD and autism with riding horses as a therapy tool – all while acting as ambassador for the National Organization of Vietnamese American Leadership of Greater Washington and promoting the work of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and working towards her Ph. D! Her advice to young actors? “Keep doing what you love with authenticity… [and] be sure to give back to your community.” Read on to learn more about An Phan and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Shengwen Woo

October 15, 2022

Wen Wu is an artist and musician based in Phoenix. Through her father’s clarinet, she found a love for music and decided to pursue it professionally. After attending Capital Normal University in China, she became an exchange student at Northern State University in South Dakota, transferring to Arizona State University to get her Master’s and Doctorate! Now, Wu plays with the national tour of Anastasia and various Brazilian, Cuban, and jazz groups. Offstage, Wu is a paper artist and practices quilling and sculpture art. Her advice to young actors? “Enjoy it!” Read on to learn more about Wen Wu and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Sushma Saha

October 08, 2022

Sushma Saha is a singer, dancer, and performer based in New York City (with the same size hands as Michael Jackson and the ability to sing the alphabet backwards). Encouraged by her sister and mother to pursue musical theatre, Saha attended Ithaca College and got their start through the department’s email, which led to a casting call for the new musical Interstate by Melissa Li & Kit Yan at New York Musical Festival. Finding representation in that work, ze submitted and booked the show. Now, Saha’s credits include Girlfriend (the Matthew Sweet jukebox musical), The Wolves, and most recently Broadway’s revival of 1776! Offstage, she’s working on an EP (“This Isn’t About You”) to be released this summer and makes it her mission to “represent the underrepresented and to be a voice for the voiceless.” Her advice for young artists? “Making art for a living is a doozy because art is usually a source of joy and part of our identities . . . but you also gotta pay the bills, ya know? Just know there are going to be jobs you take to serve the former, jobs you take to serve the latter, and the lucky jobs you get that serve both purposes.” Read on to learn more about Sushma Saha and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 

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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Christine Heesun Hwang

October 01, 2022

Christine Heesun Hwang is an actress, playwright, and lyricist based between NYC and Seattle. Entering the entertainment industry in high school purely by chance, Hwang is currently working on Les Misérables and a new play (confirm me) in development with Leviathan Lab, and was commissioned by YES Theatre to pen the book and lyrics to the new musical, renewal. Between writing and performing, she found that discovering and prioritizing a work/life balance preserved her identity, allowing her to dedicate her best self to all she does. Hwang advises young artists to focus on their “why” and feed their love for their passion. Read on to learn more about Christine Heesun Hwang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Melissa Li

September 24, 2022

Melissa Li is a musician, writer, and composer based in Montreal. She got her start creating her own scripts as a child before turning to songwriting and short film development in high school! After finding a home with True Colors at The Theatre Offensive in Boston, Li began to craft her very first musical. After a stint as an editor on a (bad) self-help book, wedding videographer, office manager, and director of nutrition, she attended Boston University and got to work on Interstate, MISS STEP, and Again, and has several TV/Film projects in the making! Li finds in writing that the details – from the way characters stand to how something is placed – can really aid in her storytelling process. Her advice to young artists? “Don't be afraid of your own voice. It's what makes your art special and unique.” Read on to learn more about Melissa Li and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Grace Aki

September 17, 2022

Grace Aki is a writer, performer and illustrator based in NYC. After making her stage debut at 5 as Quackers the Duck in a local production of The Three Little Pigs, she studied at the The Barrow Group School and went on to perform on the Cartoon Network, in her solo show To Free a Mockingbird (which was chosen for the SheATL & NYC New Play festival!) and assorted new works, and to open her own Etsy shop for her art – but offstage held the crown of North Georgia Fair Queen and is an avid hot dog enthusiast. Through her work, Aki hopes to both shed light on important topics like invisible abuse and to provide her community with characters that “look and sound like [them].” She advises young artists to “engage in pop culture” and to “learn from everyone.” Read on to learn more about Grace Aki and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Stephanie Jae Park

September 10, 2022

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! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Amy M Le

September 03, 2022

Amy M. Le is an author based in Oklahoma City. Inspired by her incredible late mother, Le left her job to write her story. Since then, she’s debuted her first novel, Snow in Vietnam, a “historical women’s fiction novel based on my family’s escape from war-torn Vietnam following the fall of Saigon,” and launched Quill Hawk Company, her own publishing company geared towards amplifying diversity in storytelling and promoting the work of indie authors, in addition to beginning a new book series. When she’s not writing, Le serves on the board of the Vietnamese Boat People podcast, “a nonprofit devoted to preserving stories of the Vietnamese diaspora.” Her advice to young artists? “ Explore it. Set time for it. Do it.” Le encourages them to cultivate a strong support circle to learn and gain inspiration from, so they can do the same for others down the road. Read on to learn more about Amy M. Le and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Announcing the 2022-23 Cre8sian Project Scholarships!

August 31, 2022

The Cre8sian Project Scholarships, through Positively Arts (a 501c3 non profit) and in partnership with “In Her Purpose,” are open to female and female identifying high school and middle school students attending public, private, or home school with an interest in the arts, have some asian heritage, and live in Clark County. Students who are involved in any aspect of the arts, not just performance, are encouraged to apply. This can include writers, photographers, filmmakers, technical stage crew (carpentry, props, lighting, automation, audio, set design, stage managers), artists, graphic designers, directors, acrobats, singers, dancers, musicians, composers, arrangers, etc.
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Andrea Somera

August 27, 2022

Andrea Somera is an actress based in Pasadena. She got her start with local youth theatre during a production of Pirates of Penzance, but surprisingly didn’t care for performing until her next audition for Tom Sawyer! Now, her resume holds credits such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Esmerelda), Assassins, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Letters to Eve, as well as a Halo Top commercial shoot! Somera currently strives to “[live] a life filled with love, support, experiences, and constant learning” as she paves her own path towards Broadway, and fiercely believes that the world is better with the artistry and authenticity of Asian Americans and their stories. Her advice to young artists? “Expect the unexpected!” Read on to learn more about Andrea Somera and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Brooke Ishibashi

August 20, 2022

Brooke Ishibashi is an actress based in NYC. Born into a musically entertaining family with an opera and R&B background, she’s now developed and originated Cambodian Rock Band. (which played at South Coast Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the La Jolla Playhouse) and is now performing in Broadway’s revival of Into the Woods! When she’s not onstage, Ishibashi is the cofounder of Be An #ArtsHero, an arts advocacy and lobbying organization aimed towards providing relief to the Arts in America. Passionate about telling resonant stories exploring social justice, anti-racism, and trans-generational trauma, Ishibashi finds herself connected deeply to work that heals marginalized communities. Her advice for young artists? “Know your worth and always ask for more.” Read on to learn more about Brooke Ishibashi and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Regina Ting Chen

August 13, 2022

Regina Ting Chen is an actor based in Georgia. She began entertaining at home with talent shows for her grandmother crafted with only history project costumes and poster boards from science fairs. After getting scouted in Texas, she got her start in modeling, which led to theatrical and commercial auditions. As a result, she took up acting classes, and now has booked shows such as Queen of the South and Netflix’s Stranger Things! Offscreen, Chen works with Hope4Tomorrow, a mentorship program that provides foster children with a role model there to guide and listen. When she’s not performing or mentoring, she coaches kickboxing, plays tennis, and enjoys the world of sci-fi. Her advice to young artists? “Find a mentor, join a community, and start making stuff!” Read on to learn more about Regina Ting Chen and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Juliet Dang

August 06, 2022

Juliet Dang is a “scientist, artist, and mother” based in the Greater Seattle area. With 4 degrees from the universities of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Washington, Dang’s artistic pursuits marry well with her academic background – though she wasn’t always sure she’d take up a career as an artist! Since deciding to do it all, Dang has won a world research award for HPV research, created her own fashion line (house of juju), walked in NYFW, traveled the world, become a mother, published a magazine (Vietology), and is currently in production for her own short film and working on her fertility journey memoir. She advises young artists to “be fearless and reach out to those in your network to help support you.”  Read on to learn more about Juliet Dang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Dorcas Leung

July 30, 2022

Dorcas Leung is a left-handed actress based in New York City! She got her start singing at church and in choir, but it wasn’t until following a crush led her to audition for her first musical in middle school. Since then, she’s gone on to perform in Broadway’s Miss Saigon (Gigi Van Tranh), Off-Broadway’s Midsummer (Dou Yi in Snow), the first National Tour of Hamilton (Eliza, Angelica, Peggy/Maria), and The Tale of Despereaux (Despereaux) and Les Misérables (Cosette) regionally. She loves being able to challenge the narrative of what Asian artists “should” be, and hopes to not only continue representing her community in those roles, but to see others do the same. Leung advises young artists to “be curious, have a learning spirit, and truly enjoy [themselves]” – and of course, to have fun! Read on to learn more about Dorcas Leung and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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