Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Pan-Identifying Chinese and Vietnamese actor born in Toronto and raised in the Suburbs!
You played a Munchkin in your Grade 5 production of Wizard of Oz. Was this the moment when you first started to think about making a career in acting?
Although it was where I started acting, it wasn’t the first moment I started thinking about making it a career.
I actually owe this journey to my parents. They were refugees from the Vietnam war and they gave up everything in order to start a new life here. Growing up we didn’t have a lot, but they made sure we always had enough. My mom, in particular, is beautiful and loves fashion. I often wonder, had she pursued her dream, could she have ended up being a model or a fashion designer. Meanwhile, my dad’s dream was to travel around the world to see how people lived. He reads a lot about these places but has only had the chance to visit them in books. They are getting older and I’m not sure if their dreams have changed, however, my mission is to share my growth with them, so they can take another chance and experience what it’s like to live on the other side.
How did your time at Ryerson Theatre School for Acting and Factory Theatre’s mechanical program for enriching actors mold you as an actress?
Each place was a building block. My experience at Ryerson was not perfect despite being able to explore MANY aspects of the art. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and respect many of my former mentors there and learned a lot from their teachings, however, when it comes to working in an environment where you have to constantly put yourself out there and be vulnerable, having even one bad apple amongst the group can drastically change a person’s life. Being the only Asian actor in a predominantly white class, I felt like I had to neutralize my identity in order to be a ‘transformative’ actor. Trouble is, in doing so, I was suppressing who I was in order to produce their vision of the work. Ryerson was a place that taught me to always trust in my mentors. Factory on the other hand taught me to trust in myself. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Nina Lee Aquino, I was given a safe space to unlearn, heal and reacquaint myself with my identity. She immersed me in works that amplified and celebrated BIPOC voices. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without her. She has laid the foundations for me to continue my craft unapologetically and on my own terms.
Why should people check out The Bold Type if they haven’t already?
The stories are so relevant and have an unconventional take on what’s going on in our society. It’s like Sex and the City but with a mindful twist.
How has your character Addison evolved since last season?
You get to see the walls come down a bit. Addison is just someone who’s looking for her place in this world. Behind all the too-cool-for-school attitude, is a person who’s yearning for a chance to be seen and heard. Working under Jane, she’s hoping to find a place where she can grow and strengthen her voice. Getting the opportunity to work with the team has been an amazing experience. I appreciate that the stories are constantly changing. Addison’s arc has been re-written many times and it’s because of actors like Katie Stevens, who was deeply involved in the process, that Addison got a chance to develop into a more rounded character.
What can you tell us about your character Val Pham in the upcoming season of Nurses?
Val is a nursing assistant who is there to capture a day in the life. I think what’s interesting is how they incorporate this into a high-stakes environment. Working on set has been eye-opening. I have a whole new appreciation for our front lines. Nurses are fundamentally necessary and it still shocks me how continually mistreated they are. They sacrifice so much to care for us and I think we as a society have a responsibility to support and take care of them too.
What’s next for your career?
I’m excited to delve into some of my personal projects. I’ve been writing a lot during the pandemic and I’m hoping to put some of my work up in the near future. My goal is to revamp an instagram series that my friends and I started earlier in our careers. It’s called IDIC SERIES which stands for I Dream in Colour. It’s a sketch series that challenges the idea of not seeing colour by normalizing, amplifying, and celebrating marginalized voices.
What advice would you have for aspiring actors/actresses?
Be a person first. Fill your life with things outside your craft. Due to my past experiences, I was pushed to always put the work first despite anything happening in my life. After burning out and feeling like I hit rock bottom, my biggest takeaway is that boundaries are important. Having a life outside your work should not be something to be ashamed about. In fact, it will only help further your experience in being human. It also helps to lessen the stakes of not booking/auditioning when you know that there are things to look forward to after.
What’s your life like off-set?
I love downtime. It’s the rare chance I get to indulge in the things that I want to do. I love to delve into a variety of experiences, relax and reconnect with people in my life. I love to hike and stay active. It keeps me grounded and helps manage my anxiety. On the other hand, you can also find me binge-watching anime in my room with the curtains drawn or challenging my next victim to a match of MTG. Overall the time I have offset is for me to put my hair down and remind myself what it’s like to be a person again.
Let the readers know where to find you online.
You can follow my shenanigans on: www.instagram.com/x.tin3.n
Our web series: www.instagram.com/idicseries