A Conversation with Hollywood Actor Teresa Huang, Part 1

A Familiar Face

For your consideration: Teresa Huang.

If Teresa Huang‘s name isn’t familiar, her face may be; the actress has appeared in dozens of television shows including ER, Grey’s Anatomy, and Hawthorne. She has also played non-medical types in underrated series The Riches and The United States of Tara. If you’ve never seen any of those shows, I know you’ve still seen her because she had a small part in the final season of Lost, playing a surgeon working alongside Jack Shepard in an operating room flashback. Check out her demo reel–and please don’t smack yourself in the forehead when you realize that of course you recognize her.

Teresa and I worked together during the dot.com bubble for an awesome company called OneZero Media. We produced a TV magazine and companion Web site about pop culture online. Though such a thing seems ass-backwards to us today, we were actually ahead of our time back then. And Wednesday is Sunday at your participating Carvel dealer.

I remember Teresa as a talented, eager kid with vast knowledge of all things entertainment and an inexplicable non-sexual obsession with Jason Alexander. After all these years, it was a pleasure to catch up with Teresa.

tubgoat: How did you go from intern to Hollywood actress?

Teresa: I started acting in Boston, followed my dream to Los Angeles, pounded the pavement working multiple jobs while developing my skills and networking in the industry, and eventually found myself in the right place at the right time. Then, a year and a half went by before I booked my second TV role. That was humbling!

tubgoat: It’s kind of like working.

Teresa: Building an acting career is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no fast track, nor is there only one way to do it. I credit my modest success to my unfailing commitment to keep pushing forward and never give up.

tubgoat: That reads like a PSA. “Keep reaching for the dream!” Except your dream was like one of those ones where one minute you’re eating sunlight flavored ice cream in Prague with Bob Barker and the next, you’re jumping double dutch with a school of barracuda singing “Bali Hai.” You went to MIT, didn’t you?

Teresa: I never dreamt about Hollywood as a kid. I thought I would go to MIT and live happily ever after in a lab somewhere.

tubgoat: Not everybody in a lab lives happily ever after. Just ask a rhesus monkey.

Teresa: I realized that test tubes and thermodynamics didn’t make me happy. I wasn’t sure what I would do. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so down-to-earth now – I never had any delusions of grandeur that needed toppling.

Teresa Huang on Lost
Teresa was on "Lost." Yes. THAT "Lost."

tubgoat: That’s a great one for the PSA! Seriously. I’m going to record that on a tape loop and put it on an iPod in my kids’ room while they sleep. Back to you–in addition to your acting, I see on your blog that you’ve done an impressive amount of television writing, you work on independent films, and you keep busy in “the business” (FYI: please let your Hollywood friends know that the rest of the world thinks it’s obnoxious when that term is used like that); does it pay the bills?

Teresa: Not yet. I work day jobs just like everyone else. My theatrical manager works hard at submitting me for projects, but I do a lot of work myself to stay competetive. The work of being an actor is looking for work–booking a job and actually doing some acting is just gravy.

tubgoat: I like gravy.

Teresa: My days are spent submitting myself, staying abreast of who’s casting what, practicing my craft, learning about the business, etc.

tubgoat: I suddenly have a strong craving for turkey breast with gravy. Let’s talk some more tomorrow.

In the next part, Teresa and I will talk some more about what’s for dinner.

Hit me. I can take it.

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