So last night were the Oscars. I could say a lot on the whole #OscarsSoWhite issue (and on the in-very-poor-taste “Asian joke” that I’m happy to say did NOT go over well). If you’d like to know my thoughts, I said plenty over on my Twitter @heybvp, with a quick recap on Facebook/IG. Because #nohomeforrantslikesocialmedia.
But today I want to speak from a different place.
kindo weird fun thing that happened last night was the introduction of the “ticker tape thank you”. Did you see this? During the acceptance speech, the winner’s list of people to thank would run along the bottom of the screen (weirdly akin to sports results or weather alerts) allowing he/she to use the speech towards making history (or at least, having a quote that might trend on Twitter for a few hours).
As I watched speech after speech, I did that annoying actor thing we all do and began to imagine what I would say – who I would thank – if I ever got the chance to stand up on that stage clutching that golden statue… And that’s when I realized. I don’t need to stand on a stage with millions of people watching to thank those who have helped me get this far. I don’t need a golden statue to be proud of where I am in my career or more importantly, who I am as a person. And so…
I want to say thank you to my reps. Nelson and Marissa (and Garrett and Sarah!) at ESI, and Hayley at Littman Talent. You were the first people to believe in me enough to take me on as a client, and you fight for me every day. I’m so grateful to have managers and an agent who know me as an actor and a woman, and who I can come to for just about anything.
And I want to say a very special thank you in particular to Vic. Although you are no longer at ESI, you were the very first person to put his neck out for me. You saw something (God knows what) in the young, inexperienced, had-no-idea-what-this-whole-acting-thing-was-about, girl that I was and helped me grow into the woman I am today. Every job I’ve booked is because you believed in me first, and I will always be so grateful to you for taking that chance and hiring me before I even knew this was what I wanted.
Thank you to the acting coaches who have molded me. Mr. Carnegie, you were my first acting teacher EVER, and I learned so much about the art of acting and about myself from you. UCB, you taught me to be brave. Courtney/Margie, you taught me to be confident. And my current teacher/coach, Jordan, you push me to be the stronger, more fearless, deeper actor that I aspire to be.
Thank you to Phil, Wes, Chris, and Christine. You guys have almost singlehandedly created more opportunities for Asian Americans in this industry, and continue to do so every day. Some of my biggest acting milestones have been with you: “Everything Before Us” was my first leading role in a feature film, and “Take It Slow” was one of my first acting roles EVER. Thank you for trusting me to tell your stories, and for always encouraging me in my pursuit of this career.
Thank you to all my friends who encourage me every day. To my “actor friends” who have helped me prep for auditions or even helped film my dreaded self-tapes, and for all the commiserating and reality-checking I so desperately need. To my “filmmaking friends” for sweating and crying and stressing and fighting and lack of sleep and too much coffee and ultimately creating beautiful and unforgettable stories (and memories) with me. To Chanelle – girl, you get a special shoutout – for being my partner-in-laughs, for always bringing the funny (whether we’re sketching or not), and for always finding me funny even when (especially when) I’m not. And to my “non-industry friends”, you people keep me sane. You keep me grounded. You have made me into the person I am today, and you remind me that this career is just a career, and what really matters is my character.
Which brings me to my family. Thank you to my brother for being such a rockstar of a human, thus allowing me to be “the crazy kid” of the family and run off to LA to pursue this wacky career path. Thank you for being on my side and for believing in me always. I’m so happy you live here now. Never leave. 😀
And the biggest thank you of all goes to my parents. I know this career I have chosen is nowhere near your ideal plan for me. But thank you for loving me enough to let me pursue it anyway. Thank you for believing in me, for validating what I do, for bragging to your friends (even if it’s somewhat embarrassing). And most importantly, thank you for raising me into the God-fearing, people-serving woman I am today. I learned how to set my goals high from you. Every ounce of hard work I have put in, I first learned from you. I can stand today, proud – not because of what I have accomplished, but because of who I am. And that is in huge part thanks to you. So thank you. I love you.
And now I’m crying. So I guess that really goes to show that you don’t need a big stage to have the whole “acceptance thank you speech” experience after all.
Thanks, as always, for reading! Let me know what/who you’re thankful for in the comments below 😉 Oh and a last minute HUGE SPECIAL thank you to my photographer (and friend) Christine. Without you, this blog would not exist. Thank you for making me start this whole thing in the first place, and for always managing to capture me for who I am. Your talent is only surpassed by your friendship, and I am ever so grateful for both.
STRIPED TEE | forever21
OVERALLS | kill city
BEANIE | american apparel
SNEAKERS | adidas
WATCH | marc bale
BANGLE | the peach box
Photography by Christine Choi