To start things off, can you introduce yourself to the readers?
I have acted in over 80 feature films, alongside legendary actors such as Eddie Griffin, Tommy Wiseau, Aki Aleong, Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Turturro, Lorenzo Lamas, Olivia Hussey, Mel Novak, Robert Amico, Justin Shenkarow, Manu Intiraymi and many others. I am also the Vice President of Aki Aleong's Mustard Seed Media Group. I am also the executive producer and host of the award-winning television interview show "Eye on Entertainment".
I am trained in Tang Soo Do martial arts, kickboxing, ballet, and pole dancing. I am currently training with my Sabumnim Master Rick St. Clair on the Jo-staff and Kali sticks. I am a former Miss Los Angeles Chinatown, Ms. World, Ms. Universe, Miss San Francisco Universe, Miss Orange County Universe, Miss Orange County America, Miss California Hemisphere and Mrs. California United States, among many other titles. I was thrilled to be the Queen of the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival.
I have a B.S. Degree in Business Management and MBA from Pepperdine University, and my uncle is legendary director Tak Fujimoto. My cousins David Wong and George Daugherty won a Primetime Emmy Award for their televised Broadway production "Peter and the Wolf on Broadway". I study acting with Matthew Arkin and Karole Foreman, and I am a long-time member of SAG-AFTRA.
What is the best thing about working in horror?
The horror community is an incredibly supportive and tight-knit group, and I feel honored and privileged to belong to it. The best thing about working in horror are the wonderful friends I have made, and the privilege I have had to work with so many talented and creative filmmakers!
I am grateful to award-winning filmmakers Creep Creepersin and Jared Masters for casting me in many of their films, including “Another Superhero Movie” and “Slink”. “Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance” was not strictly a horror film, but it had horror/sci-fi elements. I am grateful to filmmaker Gregory Hatanaka for giving me a role with the legendary Tommy Wiseau and taking my career to a new level.
I am honored that filmmaker Gregory Blair cast me as Crazy Melanie in his hilarious horror/comedy “Garden Party Massacre”, which has won tons of Best Picture awards. Gregory is an amazing actor, as well as being an excellent screenwriter and director. I love working with him as he knows his characters inside and out and can demonstrate exactly how the blocking should go. The film is so hilarious that everyone was cracking up on the set. I have won eight Best Ensemble Awards, and a Best Supporting Actress award for “Garden Party Massacre” at the 2018 Lucky Strike Film Festival.
I am grateful to genius award-winning filmmaker Dustin Ferguson, who has given me many wonderful roles. Dustin has every shot lined up in his head, so his film shoots are always productive, efficient, and fun. Dustin gave me one of my favorite roles in his film “Nemesis 5: The New Model”, which was executive produced by Albert Pyun. He also gave me the starring role in the action/revenge/martial arts film “RoboWoman”, which was so much fun to shoot! “RoboWoman” featured many stars (who are also my friends), including Aki Aleong, Mel Novak, Brinke Stevens, Sue Price, Gregory Blair, Jonathan Nation, Vida Ghaffari, Ken May, Thom Michael Mulligan and so many more! I won Best Actress for playing RoboWoman at the 2020 Cropsy’s Cadaver Awards.
Can you say anything about movies you have been in recently?
I played Skye Kayhill in John Reign's heartwarming action/drama/comedy "Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption. Legendary actor Aki Aleong portrayed my father and director John Reign starred as my husband John Kayhill. “Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption” won the Best Feature Film Award at the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival and was slated to be shown at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and after that, to be shown nationally through AMC Theaters. This was before the pandemic. The heartwarming action/comedy/drama is available on Amazon Prime at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B08BPLYY5S
I am enormously proud of having performed the challenging Lady Macbeth Scene 5; Act I monologue in B. Luciano Barsuglia's award-winning documentary "A Bard for the Ages: Shakespeare's Timeless Effect". I also played Ashley Flowers in Barsuglia’s multi-award winning psychological horror film “Social Distance”, starring Vern Wells.
I was honored to work with the great Eddie Griffin, alongside Robert Amico and Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Justin Shenkarow, in Param Gill's "Bad President", which premiered at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. “Bad President” stars Eddie Griffin, Jeff Rector and Stormy Daniels and is now available on iTunes. It will be released nationally and internationally after the U.S. Presidential election.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I have always loved performing. I have taken ballet and jazz dancing my whole life, and was a cheerleader in junior high, high school and at Cypress College, where I earned an A.S. in Chemistry. I earned an A.A. in Theater Arts from Fullerton College, where I studied acting with Sal Romeo and became a member of Sal‘s Friends & Artists Theatre company.
Being a very driven person, I have been in over 100 pageants, and I was fortunate to have won or placed in all of them. While attending U.C. Berkeley, I won Miss San Francisco Universe and was discovered for “Fantasy Island”, where I played Miss Hawaii. I played Cleo the Snake Dancer in the last episode of “Magnum P.I.” with Tom Selleck, was a cage dancer in “Blade Runner”, and the Hawaiian Governor’s wife in an episode of “The New Gidget”, which was directed by Ted Lange. In my early acting career, I had small parts in very big projects!
After that, I took a break from acting and earned a B.S. in Business Management and MBA from Pepperdine University and became a marketing director for technology companies. I started four technology marketing departments from the ground up, handling writing, advertising, publicity, and trade shows. I worked my way up to be the Vice President of Marketing for a software start-up company. During my business career, I missed acting so much that I started my interview show “Eye on Entertainment”.
“Eye on Entertainment” won Outstanding Television Interview Show at the 2013 EOTM Awards and Best Television Interview Show at the 2017 WIND International Film Festival. I was also awarded Best Television Host at the 2017 WIND International Film Festival. “Eye on Entertainment” can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/user/eyeonentertainment
I returned to my first love of acting ten years ago, and I am determined to become the best actress that I can be. I am privileged to have some incredibly successful family members in the business to look up to. My cousin on my father’s side is producer David Ka Lik Wong, who won a Primetime Emmy for “Peter and the Wolf” on Broadway, along with his partner George Daugherty, who is a classically trained conductor. They were also nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Rhythm and Jam, and for other prestigious awards for the children's series Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat.
My uncle on my mother’s side is Tak Fujimoto, who was the director of photography for “Silence of the Lambs”, “Philadelphia” and “Sixth Sense”.
How do you prepare for your roles?
I have an A.A. Degree in Theater Arts from Fullerton College, where I studied the Strasberg method with Sal Romeo. I also studied with the Strasberg method with Mark Majarian at Cypress College, where I earned an A.S. Degree in Chemistry. I have also taken acting classes at U.C. Berkeley and Tepper-Gellegos, as well as acting workshops at Irvine Valley College with Tim Russ and Richard Hatch.
Since then, I have studied the Strasberg method with Michael Sewell and am currently studying the Uta Hagen method at South Coast Repertory with Matthew Arkin, who is the son of Alan Arkin. I also am studying with Shakespearean expert Karole Foreman. One important lesson I have learned is to speak from my diaphragm for more power in my performance – and in my life.
My preparation process is different with each role that I do, but I generally start by reading the script numerous times. Then I start memorizing my lines and analyzing the motivations of my character. I use Uta Hagen’s “Nine Questions”:
• Who am I?
• Where am I?
• What surrounds me?
• What time is it?
• What are the given circumstances?
• What is my relationship?
• What do I want?
• What is in my way?
• What do I do to get what I want?
Can you tell us about the greatest moment in your film career?
I am proud of having performed the challenging Lady Macbeth Scene 5; Act I monologue in Brian Barsuglia's documentary "A Bard for the Ages: Shakespeare's Timeless Effect". The scene was filmed by filmmaker Craig Railsback, and we were so happy with the resulting video that we released it as a short film called “Dark Classics”. I was honored to win Best Actress for "Dark Classics" at the 2019 LANFA Film Festival.
I also won Best Actress for my role as Barbie in Dustin Ferguson's "Nemesis 5: The New Model" at the 2018 LANFA Film Festival; “Best Actress” for my role as Naomi in Jared Masters’ “Teachers’ Day” at the 2014 Shockfest Film Festival; Best Actress for my role of RoboWoman in Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman”; and Best Supporting Actress for Gregory Blair's "Garden Party Massacre" at the 2018 Lucky Strike Film Festival. I was especially honored to win "Actress of the Year" at the 2018 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame Awards, and big thanks to Grand Master Dr. Jim Thomas, the CEO of the awards.
I was thrilled to be the Queen of the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival and thank you to Festival Director Petra Deeter. I was also honored to be the 2018 Mrs. Golden Global and the 2018 WIND International Film Festival Queen. I am determined to keep growing and expanding my range as an actress, and to do bigger roles in great projects.
Director Craig Railsback and editor Renah Wolzinger recently filmed me doing the Act 5 Scene 1 monologue from Shakespeare’s Hamlet that I am very proud of. We shot it for filmmaker and actor Tony Mardon’s “The Witches of the Sands”, but it turned out even better than we had hoped. We may release it to film festivals as a short film in the future.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
I will be playing a Clinical Trial Nurse in Christopher Baiza’s film “Xmas”, starring Christian Calloway; a Venusian Warrior named Alcyone in Mikey Tiffany’s television series “Time Girl”; and an International Spy named Ling in Brenda Daly’s comedic web series “Mom Squad”.
I am extremely honored and excited to be playing Dr. Epstein in award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Rod Smith’s “Distortion”, which has an amazing, all-star cast including Sadie Katz, Helene Udy, Lainee Rhodes and Tatiana Larrea. Distortion a mystery suspense film, which is based upon lies and deceit and the desire for power. It is the story of five women, who are each hiding their lives behind a distortion of reality.
Dr. Epstein is a psychologist, but she is also a Gnostic Witch, who wants the obtain the power of a demon. A Witch is someone who tries to control the forces of nature for selfish reasons. Gnosis is the practical, fact-based knowledge of consciousness that guides us to our full potential on earth. Gnostic Witches see themselves as being the sole Master and Controller of their reality on earth.
My character of Dr. Epstein invites these five abused and tormented women to the home of the man who once tortured and brutalized them, in order to cure them of the evil that haunts each of them. But Dr. Epstein herself is shrouded in mystery and may be withholding her own sinister intentions.
It’s a GREAT role and I am very honored that Rod Smith cast me! Rod wrote “Mayday” and “Lockdown”, and both feature films were released by Lionsgate. He says that he’s wanted to work with me since he saw me in Gregory Blair’s “Garden Party Massacre”. I am very flattered that he liked my work, but my character of Crazy Melanie is the polar opposite of the Gnostic Witch Dr. Epstein – lol!
What was the project you learned the most from?
I try to always stretch my acting range and grow with each role that I do. I loved combining horror and comedy with my roles of Melanie in Gregory Blair’s “Garden Party Massacre” and Adam Steigert’s “The Horrific Evil Monsters”. The role of Lucifer’s wife Esmeralda in William Lee’s “Black Mamba” was a very powerful role that also required comedy and action. I loved my role of Barbie in Dustin Ferguson’s “Nemesis 5” because it required powerful acting and was my first on-camera fight scene.
The role of Vivica Steven’s in Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman” was very special. It required powerful dramatic acting along with martial arts, fighting and gun skills, and I learned so much from playing her. It is the role where I probably look the worst on camera since I am brutally attacked and left for dead in the beginning of the film. I have no eyes and one arm is destroyed and my hair is a disaster, but I am immensely proud of my performance and am grateful to Dustin and scriptwriter Mike Reeb for creating such a wonderful story and character.
I feel that I’ve learned the most from doing Lady Macbeth’s Act 5 Scene 1 monologue and Hamlet’s Act 5 Scene 1 monologue. I never dreamed of performing Shakespeare before I was cast in L. Luciano Barsuglia’s award-winning documentary “A Bard for the Ages: Shakespeare’s Timeless Effect”. I studied with Shakespearean expert Karole Foreman and rehearsed for month’s and I am most proud of those two roles.
What is your favorite horror movie and why?
I am Catholic so the films “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” were particularly frightening to me as a child. My favorite films, and the ones that I think are the most frightening, are “Silence of the Lambs” and “Sixth Sense”. I remember coming home from the theater after watching it for the first time and checking in all the rooms and closets to make sure the house was safe. Another film that particularly affected me was “Sixth Sense” and the phrase “I see dead people”. Each one of these timeless films was worthy of an Academy Award, and all of them featured excellent plots, great acting, and superior production values. My uncle Tak Fujimoto was the Director of Photography on “Silence of the Lambs” and “Sixth Sense”.
What is your personal definition of horror?
A horror film elicits fear in its audience for entertainment purposes. Horror films use the nightmares, revulsions, and terror of the unknown of viewers to get their attention and elicit fear. Plots within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force into the everyday world.
My favorite type of horror is psychological horror, which aims to create discomfort or dread by exposing common psychological and emotional vulnerabilities/fears. Psychological horror reveals the darker parts of the human psyche that most people try to repress or deny.
Favorite country or place?
I love the United States because it is the Land of Opportunity and the Land of Freedom! The United States is a melting pot of different cultures, races, and nationalities, and you can accomplish anything that you want, if you are willing to work hard enough. I am Chinese, Japanese, and Native American. My Grandparents emigrated from Japan and ran a carnation farm in Carlsbad, which they lost when the family was interned during WWII.
Despite the hardships, my Mom graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class and was voted “Most Beautiful” at the end of her senior year. She worked as a Charge Nurse at UCI Medical Center for many years. My uncle Jack Fujimoto was the first Asian American to become President of a major higher education institution in the mainland of the United States when he became President of Sacramento City College in 1977. My Uncle Tak Fujimoto is a legendary cinematographer, who is known for his work on such films as “Silence of the Lambs,” “Philadelphia,” “The Sixth Sense,” etc.
My father immigrated to the United States from China - by himself - at the age of 10. He lived in the back of a relative’s laundry in New York and joined the Air Force at 15. He remained a proud member of Amvets.org throughout his lifetime. He graduated from Stanford University and USC and was a respected and renowned aeronautical engineer and one of the innovators who developed the Patriot Missile. He earned a M.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering and held 11 computer patents.
Do you know anything about Sweden?
Sweden is a Scandinavian country with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with great boreal forests and glaciated mountains. The capital of Sweden is Stockholm, which is built on 14 islands and has more than 50 bridges. Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area.
I watched the miniseries “Quicksand” to learn more about Sweden. “Quicksand” is a Swedish dramatic crime television series on Netflix and is based on the 2016 novel by Malin Persson Giolito. The series is about a school shooting that takes place at Djursholm Senior High School. At the age of 18, Maja Norberg is arrested and suspected of murder. The six-episode series answers the main question concerning the extent of her complicity: As the only student left alive after the shooting, did she conspire with her boyfriend who planned the attack or is she an innocent bystander? “Quicksand” was written to reflect real-life class inequalities in Sweden. It showed that Swedish teenagers may have some of the same problems as American teens, including drug use, racism, bullying and social inequality.
What else do you want us to know about you?
I am grateful for my Rockstar manager Joe Williamson, who believes in my talent and who always has my back. He also offers me a huge shoulder to cry on, when negativity and trolls and jealousies emerge, which unfortunately happens often in this business. He is always there to keep me from being used, because I always want to see the good in people. I am very honored to be with the Williamson Management Company because Joe has turned down so many people and only manages a handful of people. I feel very blessed to be one of them!
I am extremely grateful to legendary actor and filmmaker Aki Aleong, who took me under his wing and made me the vice president of his Mustard Seed Media company. And of course, I could not be in this business without the support of my wonderful husband Paul, who is even smarter, more driven and more successful than I am, and my wonderful, beautiful Mom, who is proud of everything I do!
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
My Demo Reel:
IMDb Pro Link: