All my life, people have asked me, “What are you?” or “Where are you from?” followed by a, “No, what’s your ethnicity?” since I, of course always answer, “Human,” “Texas,” and finally, “Taiwanese.” (I was born in Taipei.) That would always spark yet another conversation that involved, “Oh, I LOVE pad thai!” or, “I’ve always wanted to go to Bangkok!” At first, I would try to explain that Taiwan was a different country than Thailand, and then they would ask me where Taiwan even was, and if it’s the Republic of China, how it was different than being Chinese, etc. etc. etc…. so then I got lazy. And I started just telling people that I was Chinese. Then, in 2007, I was able to go back to Taiwan and visit my dad and his family. I immediately connected to the people, the culture, the food. Pride swelled in my body, and I knew that I had to go out of my way to educate those who didn’t know about this culture that so defined me. And, that’s the first part of my story I’d like you to know. I am Taiwanese.
I didn’t have any interest in acting growing up… when I was 8, I played soccer like all the other kids. I was terrible. And I was SO EMBARRASSED when my mom made me wear a turtleneck under my cute jersey for our team photo. I was a total F.O.B. In middle school, I was on the swim team (I never came in last!), and my mom couldn’t afford the cool Speedos the team wore, so I competed in my mom’s one piece bathing suit. But then I found cheerleading, which I was VERY good at, then moving on to high school, found the drill team (go Belles!), which I was also very good at considering I’d never taken a single dance class in my life! I could kind of sing, so I joined choir too, and that defined me in high school — drill team and choir.
My senior year of high school, my choir teacher encouraged me to audition for the annual musical. That year they were doing A Chorus Line. A pretty risque show for high schoolers, but we changed “Tits And Ass” to “This And That,” so. I got the role of Connie Wong, and since I’m not 5’2″, we had to change the lyrics to “5’6″” which completely made my song invalid, but whatever. That experience made me want to pursue acting.
So, then I entered the theater program at The University of Texas at Austin, and while I was there, landed my first paid job – the role of Miss New Hampshire in Miss Congeniality. It was a featured extra role, but I got paid and made some amazing friends and got hair and make up and got to wear elaborate gowns! From there, I landed more and more jobs – The New Guy, some local and industrial commercials, and some indie movies. One of the movies, Sexless, won the audience and narrative feature awards at the SXSW film festival.
I moved to Los Angeles in 2003, and it took a little over a year to book my first job. That is QUICK. I got lucky. My first job was the jackpot of jobs. I booked an Old Navy holiday campaign; we were a group of singing carolers and we shot six commercials that aired over and over (and over) again. After that, I booked some more commercials and my first T.V. job, Without A Trace, where I played a server at a sushi restaurant who was a witness. At the time, I was a server at a sushi restaurant in real life. Oh the irony.
I booked some small roles here and there, but I would say that the job that put me over the top was a recurring guest star role in Aaron Sorkin’s Studio City On The Sunset Strip. I got to work with Mr. Sorkin, Matthew Perry, Sarah Paulson, D.L. Hughley, Bradley Whitford, and more. I got an amazing role on Law & Order from the show. That opened up doors to my first straight offers, on Royal Pains and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Since then, I’ve worked on various shows, but my favorites have been Californication, American Horror Story: Asylum, Grimm, Castle, and Backstrom.
I continue to work commercially, and currently I’ve had several spots airing: State Farm, Experian, Wendy’s, Downy/Febreeze, and Motorola.
I love my fans like crazy. I’m a cat lady (R.I.P. to my baby Teddy), and I eat a lot. I would say I’m a foodie, but I’m not very picky about what I eat. Food.