SPOTLIGHTING YOUR TALENT
Meet: Abigail Zoe Lewis
Aug 22, 2022
Abigail, you have been working so hard on your music and you have some amazing new singles coming out right now! Can you tell us what to expect?
I am super excited to share that my first original song, “Take It Slow” just came out! The song was co-written and produced by The Jam (writing credits with J-Lo, Becky G, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Tori Kelly, Leona Lewis, Backstreet Boys).
The music video comes out August 20th on Vevo and Youtube and was directed by part of the team that produced and directed Sabrina Carpenter’s recent music video. What makes this video very special to me is that it is my first original and features some of my best friends.
It also features some great dancers including some from my dance school, PAVE and a very cool and exotic Ford GT! I’m also excited because we have several produced singles that my team plans to release every 4-6 weeks this year.
That is super exciting! And I've had the pleasure to have a sneak peak of your video before it even came out, and it is really good!
You are not only an amazing singer/ songwriter, but also a model, actress, dancer, and you are part of the Glotivation girl group, is there anything else we need to know about you? What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I have a black belt in taekwondo, love reptiles, love to draw and travel.
Oh wow! Those are some amazing hobbies!
You have been in many tv and movie productions, which was your favorite experience so far?
I would have to say my favorite has been playing Kaylee Ehrmantraut for three seasons on the Emmy award show, “Better Call Saul.” To be part of an iconic show that so many people feel connected to and get to grow with the cast of a period of time was very special to me. Still, every project has been an amazing experience and I’m grateful for all of them.
We loved you in Better Call Saul!
As a singer/songwriter, actress, and influencer, what do you think is the most important lesson that you can share with other teens trying to make it in the industry?
My experiences have taught me that when you really love and have passion for something to never give up and to be grateful.
Absolutely! More seriously, what is your vision of a perfect world?
This would be a world where people are kinder to each other, where we would not have to worry about war, hunger, disease, famine, covid, etc. It is a world where people work together to make both the lives of others and this amazing world better that we all share.
I love that. Getting along takes work, but as long as we do it together it's such a great feeling.
Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you?
Yes, many people for different reason. First, I would have to say my parents for always believing me and helping me on my journey. Musical artist Lizzy McAlpine, Billie Eilish, Sabrina Carpenter who are authentic and different in their styles and continually produce great music.
Yes, some wonderful role models! Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?
My biggest supporters have been my parents. My dad specifically has been there every step of the way taking me to all my auditions, been with me on set, introduced me to music and way more than I can write here. Both my parents encourage me to believe in myself, to believe that each of us has a purpose, that our lives matter and that we can make a positive difference in this world and to always be kind.
What an amazing set of parents you have! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Great question! Right now I would have to say that to believe in yourself, be authentic and never sell out.
Ha! So important! What are your big plans for this next year?
I plan to release several original songs that mean a lot to me. I am also a lead in an upcoming movie.
Oh exciting! We can't wait to see all of it get released.
And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?
That would be so fun! I would try to chill with it and be its friend.
Thank you for the awesome interview and wanting to feature me in your cool magazine!
Love, Abigail :)
Thank you Abigail!
Meet: Mehra Marzbani
Aug 22, 2022
Mehra, you are now a part of the Chicken Girls family! What made you decide to go into acting?
What was your reaction upon hearing that you got the part?
For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be an actress. When I watched TV as a little girl, I was fascinated by the actors’ ability to make me feel something, and I coveted this “superpower” of theirs.
There’s something thrilling yet deeply fulfilling about acting, about embodying the experiences of another and telling their story. When I found out I booked the role on Chicken Girls, I was elated and utterly terrified at the same time. My dream to act on television was finally a reality, but my work had been solely in school theatrical productions, so I had no idea what to expect on set. Fortunately I had the most kind and supportive cast and crew to work with, and I am so truly grateful to have had this opportunity.
Oh I'm so glad it was a great experience for you! Yasmina is such a fun character, do you relate to her a lot? What would you say are your most similar qualities?
I do relate to Yasmina, especially her open-mindedness and ambition. She is the type of character who will speak up for herself and others, even if that means creating a new position in the student body to have her classmates’ voices heard. In a lot of ways, I actually wish I could be more like her!
I feel like you do embody that aspect of her!
As a young activist you just had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Katie Porter, what issomething that you wish all young people knew about being an activist?
Yes! I’m thankful to be part of a generation that is so progressive and willing to be active citizens. On that note, anyone can be an activist. If there is a cause you are passionate about or interested in-- perhaps you read about it in school or in the news, or have a personal connection to it--do your research.
Educate yourself about the issue and see what steps you can take to advance the cause. You don’t have to start a nonprofit or lead a massive rally per se; there are plenty of opportunities locally for you to get involved where you can still make a positive impact. That’s not to say that it doesn’t take a lot of time and energy to be a successful activist, but as long as you truly believe in a cause and want to be actively involved in change, your efforts are worth it.
Absolutely, sometimes a simple letter written can effect massive change!
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about the Middle East North African (MENA) community? What do you hope you will be able to teach people through your own community service, and your portrayal of Yasmina?
You’re the first person I’ve talked to who brought this topic up, so thank you. Because there is so little MENA representation on television and in the media, I feel like there are misconceptions floating around about the role MENA individuals play in American society, perhaps that we are passive “background” characters, or alternatively, that we are some kind of threat.
That’s why I find Yasmina to be such an important character. Yes, she wears a hijab and is of MENA descent. But Yasmina is also insanely smart, unapologetically confident in herself, and has her vulnerable moments as a new student who just wants to fit in. Ultimately, she’s just a girl, and that’s what I wanted to portray her as.
In an attempt to share more MENA stories and experiences like Yasmina’s, I recently created a newsletter called MENAarts. As the name suggests, our goal is to foster an understanding of and appreciation for the MENA region through art. Art is the universal language of truth, so I hope readers can look beyond the notions of what it means to be “MENA” and see that at the core of it all, we are just human.
That sounds like a fantastic newsletter. The MENA community has always been a leader in art, dating all the way back to Mesopotamia and moving into contemporary art such as comic books that really teach about the experience of a MENA female artist like Marjane Satrapi!
On a serious note, what is your vision of a perfect world?
A world in which people have empathy and understanding for one another. Where youth have the freedom to explore their academic and creative potential without limitations.
Agreed! Is there anyone that you look up to that truly inspires you?
Oh goodness. There are so many people I look up to, but off the top of my head Yara Shahidi, Natalie Portman, Nasim Pedrad, and Amal Clooney come to mind as influential MENA artists and activists. I also greatly admire the work of Julia Roberts, Andrew Garfield, and Hugh Grant, from a technical acting standpoint.
Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?
My family, 100%. They’ve always wanted me to do something that makes me happy, and they understood (with some reluctance, at first), that acting was that something for me.
Now, auditions are a full family effort; my mom reads lines for other characters, and my baba helps me set up the lighting. I’m very fortunate to have two of the most loving, supportive parents one could ever ask for, so I feel prepared to embrace whatever twists and turns come along the way.
It sounds like the perfect team! And what woud you say is the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you want something, or need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. It’s better to live knowing that you tried rather than living in regret, wondering what could have been the answer had you asked.
Oh, I love that take. It can be so difficult to open up and ask for help. But it's so true that you can never know who will be excited about guiding you!
What are your big plans for this next year?
Completing college applications and more college applications.
Did I mention college applications?
Haha! Yes, good luck! And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?
I would move it to the freezer, where it would feel more at home.
Very smart! Thank you again Mehra. And good luck on those college applications!
Meet: Dana Heath
Aug 22, 2022
You did your first photo shoot job at the age of four.
When did you start acting? Tell us your favorite part of being in the industry.
Hi Awooo! I technically started acting in 2nd grade when I joined my first musical theater program, but professionally I started at 9 years old and my first job was a voiceover for a cartoon car commercial, all I did was laugh but it was so much fun!
My favorite part of being in the industry is being able to entertain people.
You play Mika on Nickelodeon Danger Force, how fun is it to play this character?
It’s really fun to be able to play a super hero especially when they let me do my own stunts!
Oooh I bet!
Tell us more about your character, Mika, and yourself, what are your similarities and your differences?
I would say we are similar in the way we treat people and giving 100 percent but we differ in our super hero abilities.
Haha, yes, that's true!
So, you just finished filming the last episode of season 2 what was your favorite thing about season 2?
And... can you tell us if there will be a season 3? We all have our fingers crossed!
My favorite part about season two was all the gags and stunts we got to do. As of right now I have my fingers crossed too.
You played Fancy Nancy’s Best Friend Bree. Can you tell us more about Bree? This is such a fun show by the way. We named our dog Frenchie afterFancy Nancy’s dog.
I love Bree, she is one of my favorite characters to voice. She knows a lot about nature and how to deal with her very eccentric bestie; she’s very patient and kind.
Cute, I name my pets after cartoons too!
You also played Ashlyn on Wellie Wishers how fun was that?
Can you tell us the difference between being a voice actor and being on the big screen?
Wellie Wishers was my very first show so Ashlyn will forever hold a special place in my heart, I learned a lot playing her. I also met my best friend on that show!
One of the main differences is that when you’re voice acting you don’t have to worry about how you look and you don’t have to worry about staying in character as much.
How great that you got a best friend while working and having fun at the same time!
On a more serious note, what is your vision of a perfect world?
A perfect world for me would be a world of equality, a world where people treated each other with respect, kindness, and grace.
Yes, that would be absolutely amazing!
Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you?
Specifically, I look up to Zendaya’s work ethic and ability to climb out of child acting and go on to have an amazing career as an adult while staying true to herself.
Oh yes, she is absolutely fantastic! Ok, so who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?
My mom is by far my biggest supporter in my career, she has impacted me in so many ways like helping me with my lines for auditions, showing what it means to have a great work ethic, to believe in myself even when I feel down, and how to let all the “no’s” we hear as actors go.
What an amazing help, especially emotionally!
And, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
That hard work will beat out talent, so always be working on improving strengths as well as weaknesses and giving 100% on and off stage.
Thank you so much Dana, we can't wait to see what upcoming projects you have!
Meet: Coby Bird
Apr 2, 2022
Coby, you are an amazing actor, we know you best as Rufus Whedon on Netflix’s Locke & Key, but you’ve also starred in Speechless and on The Good Doctor, tell us a little bit about your acting journey!
I am so fortunate because acting professionally kind of came out of nowhere. At 14, I was offered a chance to audition for a touring company of a play, given sides and a script (I didn’t know what either were at the time) and decided I wanted to try it. The director wanted to cast me, but found out I was only 14 and they needed someone over 18. The agent who the audition went through called to ask who I was, and she booked me as her client, and the rest is history. She is still my Agent to this day!
Oh how wonderful! It's amazing how things work out isn't it? What is your favorite thing about acting?
My favorite thing about acting is that it has really helped my sensory issues. Sound. Lights. Movements. Even the clothes I wear. When I get on set or on stage, I’m so focused on my job and filling committing to my character, that in some ways, it closes off all of sensory issues. It’s helped me a lot in my day to day life as well. Before I played Liam on The Good Doctor, I couldn’t wear long sleeves. I decided to try it for the show, and now I wear them in my daily life.
That is really great! It is interesting how work makes us focus on our lives in a very different way. I'm so glad to hear that you are getting so much positive results when it comes to your sensory issues. I know how crazy those can be!
As an actor with Autism, you make sure to be a voice for all who have Autism. I love that you always make a point to tell people that while two people might have Autism, and while there might be similarities, they will not be experiencing life in the same way. Too many times people put sprawling labels on people with disabilities without truly understanding the nuances that are involved in a diagnosis. What is the main thing you want people to know about Autism? ?
I want people to know that it’s a misconception that people on the Spectrum do not want to connect or have friends. It’s the complete opposite. I want to have a friend or friends so badly, but my social anxiety makes it very hard for me to do so with people my age. It is very hard for me to be in a group of people who are talking. I don’t know if I should say something or interrupt. I also stutter and that can be hard for me because I want people to understand what I'm saying, but then it makes me freeze. People with Autism are just like everyone else. They sometimes need a little patience and understanding, but doesn’t everyone?
Yes! Everyone does! Conversations can be so difficult, giving everyone the time to talk and connect is so important, I love that you share your feelings about this!
When it comes time to decompress from work, what are your favorite things to do?
After I’m done with work I listen to music to relax. Sometimes it’s Soft Jazz. Sometimes it's City Pop, which is Japanese pop from the 80’s. I also love movie scores as well. It helps me focus back to who I am, and leave my character I’m playing on set. I usually have a snack and take a nap or read. Sometimes work days can be really long hours so there are times when I fall asleep in the car as soon as we leave the Location!
On a more serious note... What is your vision of a perfect world?
I think my vision is in a way a view of a healthier world. Mentally healthy. Where everyone accepted for who they are. Where they are, and they are not judged by being themselves. Just so that they can be their authentic self. Wait, was this a trick question, should I have said World Peace? 😊
Haha! No! That was absolutely perfect! So, Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you?
I was asked in an audition a few years ago, who is someone like me, in my profession, that I look up to. At the time, there were no other actors on the Spectrum that were actually Autistic. It’s just recently that people are being authentically cast. I want to be someone who can inspire others to live their dreams.
My Uncle Scotty passed a way in 2020. He was a paramedic in Hawai’i and the way he served people always inspired me. It still does. I will always look up to him.
He sounds amazing! Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey? ?
My mom has always been my biggest supporter. From the moment I have wanted to act she has been there by my side helping me, teaching me, filming my auditions, working with me and supporting me.
They way she has impacted my journey is just always being there with me. When she tells me, “You did it, Coby,” I always tell her, “We did it, Mom. Both of us. Together.”
I got to meet her, and I love that you guys are such a wonderful team! Ok, and this might be tricky, but what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have received some really good advice from a few of my cast mates who I look up to on Locke & Key. But I’m going to keep that to myself for now. I think one thing that sticks with me, is something my Agent Gail Williamson told me when I went in to my very first Audition. She said, “Have fun.” So every time I go into and audition, and now self tapes, I give it my best, but I also remember to not take myself too serious, and to “have fun.”
Yes! So important to realize that without the fun, the work will not come either!
What are your big plans for this next year?
I’m the kind of person who likes to not get too stressed with, whats next. In this Industry you never where you are going to be. You can book a role and be in another state or country in the next week sometimes. So, right now I feel like I’m floating on a lazy river and I am so excited to see where this journey takes me this year. I can’t wait for my next job.
That's an amazing attitude! And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?
I would jump right in the refrigerator, turn on some music, eat some snacks with it and call it, “PenPen.”
Best name ever! Well we can't wait to see what next year holds for you and are really excited to share all of your wisdom with everyone today, on National Autism Awareness Day. People should go follow you on instagram @thecobybird to follow you and learn more about Autism.
New Music Out: Adil C and Trinity rose "I Promise"
Mar 28, 2022
Congrats to Adil C and Trinity Rose on the recent release of their new pop single, "I promise"!
The collaboration between Los Angeles based singer songwriter Trinity Rose, and Canadian pop singer Adil C was a match made in heaven, and both artists are thrilled with the results.
The duo also spreads the word about Pencils of Promise, a wonderful charity that wishes for education to be accessible to everyone globally. Click on the link below to learn more about their endeavors.
And don't forget to have a listen to this new sound!
Photographed by Darian DiCianno @darian_chloe
Meet: Julian Lerner
Jan 10, 2022
Julian, you are such a wonderful actor both on screen and on stage! Between acting for television, acting in movies, and being on Broadway, do you find that you have a preference?
Thank you! I am fortunate to be able to pursue my passions through many different outlets. It is a great challenge to go from more exaggerated facial expressions and gestures which theater requires to the small, more natural expressions and movement required for tv and film. I hope to keep doing all of it throughout my entire life.
Tell us a little bit about the upcoming episode of The Wonder Years, anything that you can share with us before it airs on the 12th?
My character, Brad, works through his nerves preparing for his Bar Mitzvah speech while Dean ends his friendship with Keisa when Charlene, Dean’s girlfriend, says he can’t be friends with other girls. It all comes to a head when the group comes together to celebrate at Brad’s Bar Mitzvah.
Oh wow! So many plots! Can't wait to watch it!
Last year you starred in Yes Day and Wonder Years, what are you looking forward to this upcoming year?
I am looking forward to filming more Wonder Years episodes! I am also really excited about a new film I am currently working on called Boys Of Summer which will be out later this year. Boys of Summer is set in Martha’s Vineyard and one kid from a group of four best friends disappears so the remaining three set out to solve the mystery. The movie is reminiscent of Goonies, Stand By Me, The Sandlot… really fun!
Oh that not only sounds amazing to watch, but also super fun to act in! Congrats! So, you act, you sing, you play guitar, what other talents do we need to know about?
I also love to do tap and hip-hop dancing and I play tennis competitively.
Wow, that's wonderful. On a more serious note, what is your vision of a perfect world?
A world where no one is hungry, and everyone gets to pursue their passions.
I love that! Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you?
I have had amazing teachers and worked with unbelievably talented performers and mentors and I am inspired by all of them. On the set of “Yes Day,” Jen Garner showed me how a movie family can become a real family and Jenna Ortega taught me what it means to be young, generous, focused, and professional. One the set of “Wonder Years” Fred Savage helps me navigate the acting process in such a kind way. He and Saladin Patterson have amazing experiences but also huge hearts. They not only help me be a better actor, but are helping me be the best young man that I can be.
You have such amazing mentors, how wonderful to be able to do not only what you love, but to spend that time with people who make you better in every way. So, who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?
I am a really lucky to have a Dad who not only loves me (a LOT) but is a mental conditioning professional who works with musicians, actors, athletes and other folks to help them focus, deal with stress and expectations and be their best on stage and off. I am so much better at dealing with these things because of the discussions that I am able to have with my Dad.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was filming Yes Day, Netflix, I was having a challenging time with a scene and getting frustrated with myself. Edgar Ramierez took me by the shoulders and said, “It is ok to stop and take a breath and gather yourself even in the middle of shooting with lots of people around. No need to apologize. Close your eyes, take a breath, and center yourself. I do it all the time.” To hear that even big-time actors need to stop and take a breath during filming was so helpful to hear and is something I bring with me to every job.
Yes! Taking that time for ourselves can be so difficult when we feel that we can't disappoint anyone around us, but it is vital. What are your big plans for this next year?
I have some really exciting news but I cannot share yet….
Oh... We can't wait to hear!
Ok, last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?
I would immediately fill the bathtub with icy water so my new penguin friend would have more space. Then, I would get the penguin something to eat and we would hang out in the bathroom telling jokes!
That sounds like a blast! Well we can't wait to see what next year holds for you and can't wait to hear more from you when you are able to share.
Photographed by James Hicks
Meet: Morgan Mcgill
Jan 10, 2022
Hello Morgan, you just starred in the fantastic Christmas movie “A Loud House Christmas", in which you portray Lynn Loud. What did you think of your transformation?
I absolutely loved my transformation. Hair and makeup did a fantastic job transforming me into Lynn Loud. They had to dye my hair three times to get the right color because my hair is naturally so blonde that it wouldn’t hold the color. I think my character had the most comfortable outfit. Who can say no to wearing athletic clothes all day?!
Right? Sounds like my dream come true!
Now, a Loud House Christmas was quite the departure from Lovecraft Country, in which you were playing a part before filming Loud House, what did you think of the two very different types of acting? And did you have a favorite?
My characters in Lovecraft Country and A Loud House Christmas were both incredibly different and the movies were set in very different time periods. It was an absolute honor and blessing to be able to play both characters, but Lynn was definitely more challenging for me. She is similar to me in that she is the athlete of the family and quite competitive, but different in that she is definitely more tomboyish and gross. Her voice is deeper than mine and more “bro-ish,” so I had to make sure that I was always in character.
You aren’t only an actress, you also model and sing. Do you have a favorite medium for your art?
Acting is my favorite because I love to be able to play and create different characters.
I also love to sing and have an awesome voice coach in Lisa Rosemond that I have been working with for 4 years. Singing is a fun outlet for me, but it can be a bit intimidating to sing in front of others. Modeling is fun too. Who doesn’t like to get dressed up and take pretty pictures?! But overall, acting and singing bring me the most joy.
Any other talents that we should be aware of?
I am also an avid athlete. I’ve played competitive sports since I was 4 years old. I played soccer for 8 years and basketball for 6 years. I have played tennis since the age of 5 and still play competitively in USTA tournaments. I started playing academy volleyball 2 years ago and love the team aspect of it. Plus, the skills that I have in tennis transition very well to volleyball. Oh, I have another cool talent. I can wiggle my eyeballs!!
That is... quite the talent! :) Ok, on a more serious note, what is your vision of a perfect world?
My vision of a perfect world would consist of a world that is peaceful; every person has access to a quality education, food, and shelter; every person has value and respect; there is no death; animals are treated kindly; and I could teleport anywhere in the blink of an eye. Basically Heaven!!
Oh I love it, and yes, teleportation is a must! Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you?
My grandmother inspires me so much. She is the most selfless person I know. She has an incredible work ethic and has the most gentle spirit. She always puts others needs first and is also amazing in the kitchen.
Oh, she sounds absolutely amazing. Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?
My biggest supporters along my acting journey are my mom and my acting coach, Julia Jones. My mom has sacrificed so much in helping me memorize my scripts, driving me to acting lessons and auditions, taking me to LA for callbacks, etc.
Julia is so incredibly generous and always goes the extra mile to ensure that I understand my character, the plot, and turn in a great audition. If I have a question or need reassurance while I’m on set, she will take my call at any hour. And there have definitely been some late night phone calls!! She is seriously such a wonderful influence on me and is always patient with me, even when I act crazy in the taping room. But most importantly, we have a lot of fun together.
Oh that is a wonderful thing to have on this incredible journey. Support is always needed when you are putting yourself out there continuously. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received is nothing fancy, but to just put in the work and always give your best effort. The more hard work that you put into your craft, the more success you will have. Plus, when you are at a callback, an athletic tournament, on stage, or even taking a test in school, you will have more confidence when you know that you have done your best to prepare for the challenge at hand.
I love that. What are your big plans for this next year?
I am going to continue to put in the work in my acting journey, in tennis and volleyball, and in school. I would love the opportunity to be in another “Loud House” movie or Nickelodeon production. I relish being able to stretch myself in acting and would like to be able to play another meaningful character..
And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?
I would probably take the penguin out and play with it!!
Me too! We can't wait to see where your career takes you Morgan.
Stunning Editorial photography by James Hicks
H/MU: Gabriella Biangel
Stylist: David De La Cruz
Meet: Caitlin Kim
Dec 09, 2021
Hello Caitlin! It's such a pleasure to have you be a part of this magazine. When we first met I spent less than two minutes with you and immediately saw dance pouring out from you in every step that you took. I’m so excited to talk to you more about your dancing and acting journey!
When I stepped into the photo session, I was amazed by the bright colors of every room. I couldn’t wait to step in front of the camera. Our first exchange left me feeling welcomed and invited. When you started talking to me while snapping photos, I felt so in my element. I was flattered that you knew that I was a dancer, as it is a big part of my life. I would love to work with you again in the future. Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity!
Thank you! I can't wait to shoot again together. First tell me all about your dancing! How young were you when you started dancing, and what was it like then?
My dancing journey began when I was seven. Because of my parents' full time job, I was enrolled in aftercare. My parents and I felt like a more energetic environment would be beneficial towards my personal growth. My friend suggested dance and her mom offered to take me. My mom enrolled me in class that night and I loved it from the very first pirouette.
To me dance was a way to express myself through movement. I could tell stories and show how I felt through different choreographies. Embodying different emotions through individual genres enthralled me. Dancing then, was a way to connect with others.
Photographed by Kenneth Dolin @kennethdolinphotography
I have seen you do a few different styles of dance, from hip hop to lyrical, is there one that you particularly connect with currently?
Though I have much love and appreciation for all styles of dance -if I had to choose one- jazz calls out to me the most. I love the exhilarating melodies, ups and downs of the beat, and sassy energy of jazz. It incorporates a good mixture of facial expressions, flexibil- ity, and confidence to share with the audience to tell a story. When I dance jazz, I enjoy speaking to the crowd by transitioning from sharp to resistant movements. It lets me convey emotion without words. My grandfather, who has Alzheimer's, has a difficult time communicating with words. When I dance for him however, despite the feelings of sadness, I feel incredibly grateful that I can “talk”with him.
That is truly beautiful! What a gift for him and you. What are your goals for this upcoming year as a dancer?
This fall, I’m very excited to attend LACHSA as a freshman in the dance department. I aspire to learn new styles of dance and expand my knowledge of the diverse world of dance as well as the history of it. My hope is to acclimate well to the new setting/ learning environment as I was attending stay-home learning prior to the new school year.
Congratulations! That is a great achievement and an exciting new world you'll be in. I know dancing is a great part of who you are, but I know you also act and model, what are some of your favorite projects you have worked on lately?
One of my favorite projects of recent was working as a host for the Disney Princess Club. For the last two years I have had the pleasure of hosting on the show -one I hold very close to my heart. The best part of the job is the impact I have on little kids and the messages I receive from them. I am incredibly grateful for my opportunity to make kids smile and encourage them through their various challenges.
With continuous support from my manager, theatrical, and commercial agents, I have been actively reading for some amazing roles as well as auditioning for commercials. My most recent work, a comcast commercial, allowed me to reflect on how different directors require different work ethics. I hope to pursue more future jobs.
Wow! You are definitely busy! So... harder question, what is your vision of a perfect world?
To me a perfect world is free of discrimination and hate. People are not judged for things that they cannot control such as the color of their skin, personal beliefs, gender, sexuality, and social class.
I feel that it is wrong to make conclusions on others based on their ethnicity. Seeing people segregated because of their race disheartens me. I also believe in gender equality. The fact that women are paid less than men in America is truly disappointing. Another huge topic of discussion is religion. Everyone should be free to believe in their own god/deity. As for sexuality, nobody should be limited to who they can love nor their sexual identity. And social class should not determine how others are treated.
I couldn't agree more! Is there anyone that you look up to that truly inspires you?
I am truly inspired by my grandmother. It is amazing that she immigrated to the U.S. without any knowledge of the English language to pursue the American dream for her family of seven. To give her children more opportunities, she -a successful business woman- left her life behind in Korea. It had to have taken lots of courage, determination, and commitment to get as far as she has.
As a Korean American rising star living in Los Angeles, what are some things that you wish people knew about you and your culture?
As a Korean American, I wish people knew that I’m more than just a math geek. I wish they wouldn’t perceive me as a disease but instead as a regular teenage girl. I wish they wouldn’t associate my academic achievements to my race but instead to my hard work. I wish they would stop asking me how I can speak english but instead be open to the fact that I was born and raised in America.
An important Korean culture is respect towards elders.
Traditionally, there is a set of values that Koreans raise their kids by: #1 a good etiquette/respectful manners, #2 a hard working mindset, and #3, formal greetings.
Koreans greet each other with respect. For example when an elder walks into a room, you stand up, bow, and say 안녕하세요 (ahn-nyeong-hah-sai-yoh), instead of the casual 안녕 (ahn-nyeong) that is normally spoken amongst piers. It is important to be respectful as it reflects good parenting and ideals for your family name.
Who has been your biggest supporter in your dance career and how have they impacted your journey?
My mom has been my biggest supporter through my dance career. She is not only my best friend, but also my personal chef, chauffeur, and business partner. I am so grateful for her unconditional support, resigning from the job she loved to help me pursue my dreams...
The impact she has made on my journey is tremendous. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today, step by step, achieving my dreams.
And because I have to... Favorite K-Pop bands? I’m partial to BLACKPINK myself.
Despite the numerous talented K-pop bands, I must say that BLACKPINK is my favorite. Their music is amazing, but I think my favorite part of the band is the members’ connection—a result of the three years they have spent working together as a team to create BLACKPINKs’ inspiring reputation.
And Favorite K-Drama? "It’s Okay To Not Be Okay" gripped me from beginning to end!
My mom and I love to binge watch K-Dramas whenever we have the chance and we’ve definitely gone through many. I believe my favorite K-Drama is “Reply 1988.” It shows the story of Korean families living in a small suburban community, much like my mom did in her early youth. The storyline is captivating and well written. Different social classes and perspectives are shown coming together in the drama.
I'll be sure to watch it! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Stay curious, keep learning, keep growing, and always strive to be more interested than interesting.”
The best advice I’ve ever received was from Debbie Allen at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She implied that success comes to curious people who aspire to continue to learn new things. Her advice encouraged me to work hard towards my goals and always ask questions to seek different opportunities.
And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?
If I found a penguin hanging out in my refrigerator, I would probably... SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS! Then call for my dad and ask him to help me set it free and get it sent back to its original habitat. Once we found a way to get it back to its home in Antarctica I would feed it some sardines, give it a waddle-5, and say “farewell my unexpected new friend!” :)
Ok, so Waddle-5 is now going to be a part of my vocabulary!! Thank you so much Caitlin!