tubgoat: Readers may not be able to tell by your photo, but you–like me–are an Asian-American. How’s that working out for you? Being Asian in Hollywood, that is. Is “The Business” treating our people right?
Teresa: There’s definitely movement in the right direction: more roles, more opportunities, more exposure. I don’t like to point out where Hollywood fails. I believe Hollywood is trying harder every day, and there are actors making great strides for everyone by just being great actors in roles that are not defined by their ethnicities.
tubgoat: Quick–name three off the top of your head.
Teresa: Sandra Oh in Grey’s Anatomy, Danny Pudi in Community, & Aziz Ansari in Parks & Recreation are excellent examples of actors showing the world that talent is talent.
tubgoat: I thought Aziz was Sicilian. You learn something new every day. Is there still a lot of stereotyping, and is it different for Asian women than it is for Asian men?
Teresa: We’re still being written into conventional roles like doctor, nurse, lawyer, etc., which is fine by me. I’m grateful for every opportunity to build my resume and learn on the job. Hollywood will never run out of medical shows, so I’m happy!
tubgoat: Have you dealt with any straight-up racism?
Teresa: Acting out from a place of hatred is what I call racism. I can’t say I’ve experienced true racism in the business. Everyone is entitled to their preference of what kind of actors appear in what roles. I don’t freak out about the fact I’ve been asked to audition with an Asian accent or play ethnicities other than my own because “we all look alike.” I know other actors who do take issue with those things, but I think there are far more important and real issues that deserve my attention.
tubgoat: You’re a better Asian-American than me. I feel like Hollywood still hasn’t moved past Long Duk Dong. Just look at f#$%*ing Glee.
But this interview is not about me. Give a plug for your latest project.
Teresa: I’m shooting a Web series called Modern Family Business. I just sold a pilot to CBS, so the rest of 2011 will be spent wearing my TV writer hat. I also recently shot another episode of Grey’s Anatomy and recorded a voice for a horror radio play by Joshua Pruett called The Misery Company. Your readers can download his trilogy of horror stories at the Potato Potato Podcast. You can also pull links from my blog post about it.
tubgoat: Do you know if any powerful Hollywood types read your blog?
Teresa: I doubt any Hollywood executive types are reading actor blogs – they probably have better things to do than connect with actors in the trenches–though I make sure I don’t draw attention to my blog by saying anything controversial about people in positions of power. They’re all wonderful people who will hire me someday!
Teresa: My blog has been a great creative outlet for me to share knowledge with others and explore what it’s like for a working actor. It pays off when someone leaves a comment or tweets back that they appreciated my advice. So many generous people shared advice with me when I was starting out, so I’m happy to pay it forward.
tubgoat: Sorry, but that movie sucked. Thank you for your time and your many excellent words. It’s awesome that that kid who interned at OneZero is a TV star.