Katie Chang - Interview Transcript

Masami Moriya: [00:00:00] So nice to meet you. Thank you so much for coming on the strong agent lead podcast and, you know, just joining us and talking with us today,

Katie Chang: Yeah. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.

Masami Moriya: or I want to start off with, you know, tell us Doug, me and the audience, you know, your name, your, where are you.

calling from? Where is your hometown? I would just love to hear what you’re doing and part of the.

Katie Chang: Absolutely. My name is Katie Chang. I’m in Los Angeles, California. It’s actually pretty gloomy this morning. I’m originally from outside of Chicago. but I’ve been in LA for about three years and I’m an actor. I studied writing in college. So, you know, my goal is to be a writer as well, but for right now, the acting thing is the main priority.

acting in that way. Do you like having the actor life better or the writer? Is that the thing that you’re trying to.

Katie Chang: I mean with writing. I think for a period of time, you’re a little bit more in the driver’s seat because you are. Creating your schedule and you are the person that’s creating the work. Whereas an actor you’re [00:01:00] a little bit less in control. You get the stuff sent to you. And then a lot of people have to decide if you’re correct for the role in order for you to actually book something.

But of course, when you’re a writer, you know, you have control up until a certain point when you’re writing your own piece, but then you send it out to the world. And then a lot of people have to decide if they like it. So, I’m not sure which one I prefer. Both I’ve had to kind of learn to appreciate because I’m the kind of, I’m such a perfectionist.

So I love to be in control of my day and in control of my destiny, but that’s just not possible when you’re an actor and, you know, to a certain extent when you’re a writer. So it’s been, it’s been a good lesson in kind of letting go. And like radical acceptance. Yeah. So I wouldn’t say I prefer this lifestyle, but you know, fortunately, or unfortunately I found my passion and it just so happens that this is it.

So you have to make compromises with your life.

Masami Moriya: I love that, the whole idea of radical acceptance, then, you know, read that book right. [00:02:00]

Katie Chang: Yeah.

Masami Moriya: Ah, just accept, but here,

Katie Chang: Yeah, it’s a good practice. Just, you know, are what they are. And the second you accept that instead of fighting it things, you know, life gets a little bit more manageable and easier. I try to practice that with a lot of different elements of my life.

Masami Moriya: that’s a good one. When did you decide, or felt like you wanted to become an actor or a writer and you’re a producer to write and you

Katie Chang: I do. Yeah, I should mention that I’m a producer. so I like to say that I came out of the womb kind of performing, you know, I was always a very performative child. And my dad and my grandpa, they were always really into cameras and video cameras. So we were always making little skits and sketches at home.

I think what really. Allowed me to realize that acting could be a career was when I was watching spy kids, I was probably like seven maybe. and we had the VHS or the DVD, and I found the [00:03:00] bonus features on the menu. And so you could watch the behind the scenes. And that was the first time that I realized, like it clicks for me.

Oh my God. Like, this is a job that kids can have. You know, and, and look how fun you’re doing stunts. And of course not every movie is stocking heavy, but like, it just looked like the most fun. And, and there was this big moment that happened where I was like, oh wow, that’s exactly what I want to do now. Of course, when you’re seven, you can think that, and maybe it fades, but over the course of my life, that belief.

That, this is exactly what I want to do has never faded since I was seven years old. So I think I’ve just known from a very early age that this is what I want to do. And that’s, you know, that’s a good and a bad thing, right? Cause it’s, it’s very narrow. And, you know, once you decide very early on you’re on this path and sometimes curve balls get thrown at you and it’s not linear.

And so that was a lot of learning, you know, how to handle the rejection and the other sides of the industry that come as you get [00:04:00] older, But yeah, I mean, I figured it out very early, what I wanted to do. especially as a kid, realizing kids could do this, you know, but it wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 that I started taking formal acting classes, at a school called the actor’s training center in Wilmette, Illinois, which is about 20, 30 minutes north of Chicago.

And I, by the end of like two years, I had taken every class that was available there. I had taken every workshop. I had found representation. I had a manager, I think I had an agent. I can’t really remember at that time, but, Yeah. Within the first hour of my first acting class, I had taken like five pages of notes.

And it’s just this feeling of like, I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way, where, whether it was a relationship or an experience where you’re just like, this is so completely right. And this is exactly what I should be doing with my life. It’s a very powerful feeling for a very dramatic twelve-year-old to experience, you know?

so yeah, I, I figured it [00:05:00] out very early.

Masami Moriya: Yeah, I love chips too. And back in the day, like that was the thing, right. He was wanting to be this kids.

Katie Chang: Exactly. It looks so far. I just couldn’t get over how fun it looked. And I think, I think there was an element of it where I was like, when you are an actor and especially when you’re like a leading role, how this might reveal a little bit of my psyche, but like how important you must feel and how necessary you must feel to the process, as well as the joy that comes with like working together with other people and creating something with other people.

I just found the whole experience too. She seemed very important, unnecessary. And I think as a kid, that’s all you want to feel is important and necessary. I, I was just like a moth to a flame. I was totally drawn to it.

yeah, I think the heroes in that stupid story right, is they’re kids, but they’re their peers in it.

Masami Moriya: I think that’s not a, you know, the dumb kids up to goofy kids, the people who are making those changes, you know,

Katie Chang: Yeah. [00:06:00] I actually, I got the experience to do a movie. I think about two years ago with, Alexa, Vegas, sister Mackenzie. So I, I, I probably annoyed her, but I was asking her so many questions. I was like, I’m obsessed with your sister. That, that movie is still, you know, it’s, it’s a sweet, silly movie, but it, it was a, it was very impactful for me.

I don’t know. It was very, very impactful.

Masami Moriya: And when did you decide? And you’re like wanting to come over. That’s a whole nother industry. Right? So like, was that something in.

Katie Chang: It’s kind of the same story. Because writing was always performative for me too. So I was always performing as a kid. And like I said, using the video cameras or my parents got me my own video camera, writing my own skits, directing my friends, acting in the thing. It was all,together. So yeah, the writing is the same story I just knew early on.

And ever since I’ve been in kindergarten, I have kept a diary. So I literally have like a [00:07:00] written record of my life, which is pretty ridiculous. so it’s the same, it’s the same exact story. think, I always thought that being a writer in some capacity was more of a practical job. So maybe as a kid, when people asked me what I wanted to do, I would say, I want to be a writer.

You know, that seemed more realistic. but in terms of actually sitting down and writing screenplays and everything, that was probably more in high school. After I had started working in the industry and reading a lot of scripts, I knew what the format was like. I kind of knew. Was good and what wasn’t good at least for my taste.

and then of course, when I got to college and especially when I got to Northwestern, I started writing in full force. That one, that one was, I think it happened at the same time as acting where I knew I wanted to write, but it was much more of a, a slower burn out acting has always been my number one, passion.

Masami Moriya: Sure. Do you have any specific genres you like to dabble into?

Katie Chang: For [00:08:00] writing. I write a lot about sad girls and funny worlds. That’s kinda my thing. which would say a lot about me. and right now I’m kind of, sort of writing is such a. Solo activity for me. And sometimes spending that much time with yourself is not a good thing. So I go through these like manic phases where I’ll go through a month of like writing constantly, and then I’ll do two months where I like the last thing I want to do is write.

I’m definitely not a consistent person. I’m, I’m very, very. Emotion driven with my writing. So it, it’s not consistent. And I know, I know that’s not sustainable necessarily as a career, so it’s something I’m working on. but right now I’m working on two things. you’ve caught me in like a writing phase.

So I’m working on a script about a young woman who becomes the head coach of a local men’s hockey team. cause I come from a big hockey family [00:09:00] and then I’m working on kind of. My, my passion project, which is an animated feature about a kid who, goes to a treatment center for depression and his.

Therapists gives him a pill that kind of, it’s almost like LSD. It, it, I’m not going to reveal too much, but not that if it ever gets made, but, yeah, a lot of, a lot of fun things happen with once they start taking these pills, So, yeah, I have passion projects for sure. And I think maybe that’s some of the reason why I have writer’s block sometimes, and I don’t want anything to do with writing it’s cause I’m, so I care so much about it that I get in my own way and I think, oh, this isn’t good, you know, and oh no, one’s going to like this, you know, it’s that self-defeating prophecy.

So that’s something I’m continuously working on.

Masami Moriya: Totally fell that one. It’s just like, oh, I don’t wanna know. Ah, okay.

Katie Chang: Yeah.

so you’re mixed Korean, is that correct?

yeah, my grandfather came from Korea. and then my [00:10:00] mom’s side of the family is German and Irish.

Masami Moriya: Yeah, that sounds similar to mind. B do you, has your identity changed over the years? Has it been understanding your identity were using your identity or, hiding your.

Katie Chang: Yeah, definitely. I didn’t, you know, growing up, I grew up in a very. White town, very affluent town. and because of my last name, I always, and I always knew I was Korean. but it was never this bad thing. I always thought it was like really special. I thought it was cool that I was different than other people.

It really wasn’t until like high school. When I met one of my good friends and especially in college that I met other hopper people, people who were mixed Asian. but I always thought it was this really cool thing. I, my identity changed or my relationship with it, or, or I guess my, my ability to. Put it in context changed when I started working more, when, when I was in high school as an actor, because then I started getting [00:11:00] really explicitly identified as Asian, you know, and I had always just been Katie.

Yeah. Katie is Asian, but I was Katie and I wasn’t raised with a lot of Korean culture initially. And so I just, I was just American, you know, it wasn’t until I. Getting more involved in the industry that I was like, oh, because of the way that I look at, especially because of my last name P people can’t see me as white.

And then interestingly enough, I was also not Asian enough either. So there was a lot of like resentment for a time feeling. I’m not enough of this. I’m not enough of that. Why can’t the way that I am or the person that I am just exist on its own and be good enough, you know? but especially with like the, the surge of Asian and Asian-American stories in the industry that has happened over the last few years, you know, with crazy rich Asians and everything Aquafina is doing, and especially all the really amazing hopper women that are going to be on TV in the [00:12:00] next year, two years.

I’ve felt now the resentment has gone away. I’m just more proud and I’m more like, where can I find my place? You know, I’m excited. I see it as an asset now. Whereas when I was first starting out, it was, it was, it was something that, that made me different. Not always in a good way.

Masami Moriya: Did you find that to be the most challenging thing back, especially during that time was finding roles that either you or didn’t fit you, are there, there, like feeling discriminated against because you were too Asian or not Asian enough?

Katie Chang: Yeah. Either way, you know, it definitely, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word discrimination. I don’t want to like take that word because I’m aware of how privileged my life is. But there were definitely times where, especially when I made my first movie and I kind of felt like, oh, I’m, you know, this could really jumpstart my [00:13:00] career.

You know, not that I don’t feel that way now, but I definitely felt more like promise and hope as like a young, naive 18 year old, I guess I was 16. it, it was hard. A lot of the time to realize I was living. Out on a lot of roles, they just seem to be a pattern where I would audition for the main character.

And I knew I was good enough and I had just done a lead in a movie and it would always still go to a Caucasian person. And, you know, occasionally I would get a chance to audition for another role in the movie, but that would be like the best friend who. It doesn’t really have a purpose other than to be a warm body.

So, I noticed that pattern and I think that’s really indicative of where the industry was at. back when I first started, I think things are different now. but it was interesting to realize that, that I did my first movie as a leading role. And that, that was not going to be a [00:14:00] guarantee for the rest of my life.

Masami Moriya: Yeah. Now, did you ever feel the pressure to change your name?

I wouldn’t say it was pressure. It was definitely suggested. there w there was a conversation right before my first film came out. my agent and my manager and my lawyer and my dad, cause I was still under age. We were all on the phone and they suggested it. I wouldn’t say they heavily suggested it, but they brought it up and kind of gave me the pros of why that would be a good thing.

Katie Chang: But the, but the thing is, name is Katie Chang. Like I, even, my mom calls me Katie Chang, like I’ve always been, I’ve never been Katie I’m Katie Chang. Like that’s my name, everyone in my life calls me by my first and my last name. I could never, I would feel so dirty. Giving that up, you know, and I’m, and like I said, when I was a kid, I thought being part Korean was so cool.

You know, [00:15:00] so I was always, even if I did feel some resentment, I was still really proud of it to be. Korean-American person. I just, yeah, it felt very wrong. So I I voiced my opinion very strongly. And luckily I was listened to, you know, they, they agreed and I think it helped that the role that I was playing, that we were going to be promoting this movie with my name, that the person in real life was Asian.

Maybe I would’ve gotten more pushback if I was just playing a role in the Asian identity, wasn’t necessary to the story. But yeah, it was suggested that was the one and only time though, that it was suggested. And I know that if I had said, yeah, let’s do it. Like, they would’ve been happy about that decision, you know, but th that was never anything I ever wanted to do.

Masami Moriya: Yeah.

Well, you stuck to your guns here and you said that no, that’s good. It’s like, we claiming that identity, your instincts keeping with it.

Katie Chang: It’s just my name. I. [00:16:00] You know, I it’s my name. It’s my identity. Yeah. I, I couldn’t imagine it. It was, it was, it was unimaginable. Yeah.

Masami Moriya: Yeah, Now, was this the bling ring, I guess on your article? Yeah. What were you feeling before, during and after? oh, dollar shoes. I remember there was a few years ago. how,

Katie Chang: It was a few years ago. This coming spring 2022 will be 10 years since we filmed the movie, which is just insane. And honestly, very depressing. my feelings before the film, I was very, very nervous. I was like on high alert because I really felt like someone was playing like a very elaborate prank on me.

So I just. I assumed that at any given moment, up until the day I got to Los Angeles, like this could be taken away from me. I was very, very, very, very, very nervous. it’s hard to remember that time in my life. I was young. I mean, [00:17:00] I was 16. there were a lot of other things going on in my life.

There, there are times where it’s, I can’t remember that time. I think some parts of my brain are kind of blacked out. I wish I could. I remember the facts very well. I remember the dates. I remember the outfits. I remember the locations. Like I remembered the facts of the experience. I wish that I remembered more the emotional experience of it.

but I think I was so overwhelmed and nervous that I shut that part of my brain off and went into autopilot and was just like, Here we go, you know, and which I guess is a, is a, is a good thing. You know, I, I went into like kind of professional mode, but I do wish I had been more mindful during that time, but it’s hard to expect a 16 year old to be mindful.

during the film, I mean, it was very exciting. Very very overwhelming, especially [00:18:00] because, you know, I was doing school at the same time. and I had a lot of onset teachers and tutors that would come on the weekends. that was probably the most difficult part was just trying to maintain my grades. I wasn’t used to homeschooling, but it, it was a great experience. Cause it, it taught me a lot about what college is like, you know, you do. Teach yourself sometimes. And so I’m glad I learned that early on. yeah, it was overwhelming. I, like I mentioned earlier, I’m a perfectionist. So I remember I, if I, I do remember moments where I felt like I wasn’t doing good enough and nobody ever said that to me, but I just wanted it to be perfect and I wanted to be cool.

Katie Chang: And, you know, my, I was so green and so naive and, and that definitely showed a lot. And I was, I was. Hyper-aware of how on, on jaded. I was, you know, and I, I, I [00:19:00] don’t, I don’t know if I changed because of that. I’m certain I did in some capacity, but you know, there are times in my life where I wish I could go back to the simplicity of life before that, for sure.

But, you know, then there’s this whole other part of the experience where it was like, this is ridiculous and so fun, you know, like we’re we’re wearing designer clothes and I’m walking in heels and we’re filming at these beautiful mansions. So, you know, I would be a fool to not mention the fact that it was like crazy and, and an incredible experience and so fun.

I just think I was just, I was just very young, you know, but it couldn’t have happened any sooner, you know, that’s what I wanted. I wanted this. So I’m ultimately very grateful for it. after the film, after the film, the day we wrapped, I flew home and went to school the next day. so that was [00:20:00] really interesting.

And I don’t know what I expected, but everyone at my school was pretty respectful. You know, they were, I don’t think anyone really cared. the next year, my senior year is when we were promoting the movie a lot, doing a lot of press flying to different places that was difficult and its own experience. I really, really don’t like some elements of the press and the publicity.

And, you know, I’m someone who struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. So that was very difficult to be doing the photo shoots and B being photographed and just constantly nitpicking yourself. but you know, again, there’s this whole other side of it where. This is cool. You know, you’re doing an amazing thing.

Katie Chang: This is difficult, but a very, very important experience in my life. You know, there’s so many things in so many parts of the country and parts of the world that I’ve gotten to see and experiences that I’ve gotten to have that I wouldn’t have had the chance to do had I not done this film. [00:21:00] So, and you know, when I look about the film as a whole, look at the film as a whole, and look at my career as a whole, like, I think the reason I have a career is because of this film.

You know, and now it’s 10 years, so the glory has faded, but, for the first like five, six years of my career after blinkering like that movie got me in so many doors and I’ll always be forever grateful for that.

Masami Moriya: Yeah, it seems like a really great project for yourself. and Yeah, you’ve been thrown into the deep end, do your big projects like that. And then just having to learn about yourself and in the industry, everything around it. it’s a lot to the handle, which was so young.

Katie Chang: Yeah, and I definitely wasn’t. I wouldn’t say that I was ready, but, it was a very good learning experience. Yeah.

what’s a, what’s a dream project and voice, like, was this something that you’d be writing, directing, producing, acting all yourself or this, something that.

Katie Chang: Yeah, definitely. Of course. Yeah. I, you [00:22:00] know, I really want to do TV. I really, really want to do TV. I have a TV show coming out next year. and it’s been so fun. It’s animated. So we were doing voiceover. So it’s a, it’s a different type of working. I’d love to be, you know, on camera doing TV. I’m a huge TV person and, that would be a dream just to work with an ensemble every day and really build that family and get to know everyone.

that, that would be a highlight for me. Absolutely. Yeah.

Masami Moriya: Sure. Now this, this animated TV show that’s Pantheon,

Katie Chang: Yeah. Pantheon. Yeah.

Masami Moriya: How’s that going? How’s that, has that process been.

Katie Chang: It’s great. Yeah. So we, we were ordered for two seasons on AMC and, so we actually already finished recording both the seasons we finished in August. I was so sad cause I was like, this has been the best job ever. I booked the job. Like midway during the pandemic in 2020, which was so interesting because I really, at the beginning of the pandemic, I really expected to never work again.

I was like, oh, there goes [00:23:00] my career. You know? And then suddenly I booked this job and not only is it a job, but it’s good, you know? and it’s. Intelligent and different. So I was, I was just so excited. so yeah, for about a year we did a lot of recording sessions and we did, I think about eight episodes each season.

And I don’t know exactly when it will be out next year, but I know sometime next year on AMC.

Masami Moriya: Got it. Very cool. And what’s the, what’s been the change of doing a live acting, in person on front camera versus a voice actor in act and animation.

Katie Chang: I had to learn a lot about breathing. It’s a little bit like singing preparation. and I worked with an awesome, Alexander technique coach named John Louis Rodriguez, who helped me a lot with my breathing. it’s, it’s very different, you know, using the tone of your voice to convey something. Some sometimes when you’re acting on camera, you can rely on your facial expression or something.

The opposite tone to convey something. But [00:24:00] when you’re doing voiceover, you really have to think critically about like, what am I trying to say? What is the underlying message that I’m trying to say? In different EMPH, different tones, different volumes, different emphasis. It, it changes the meaning of the sentence.

So it was, it was a really interesting, different way to work, but it was so much fun and, and, and so easy and so safe during a global pandemic.

Masami Moriya: Sure. Being a audio booths, you know, whole crew and cast. That’s crazy.

Katie Chang: Absolutely. Yeah. And the, the recording studio that we worked at, is in Burbank, it’s called, Dave and Dave. And they were just like the most professional and, and. And intelligent and hardworking. And I had some, I was just fun. I wish I want to do more voiceover. I wish that we were still doing it, but, you know, I, I, I, think the way that the second season ends, like, it would be difficult to justify another season, but you’ll, you’ll have to wait and see.

Masami Moriya: We’ll just, we’ll just go for [00:25:00] a new project and get you on something else

Katie Chang: Yeah.

Masami Moriya: what’s been, over the past few years of all your acting, what’s been something you’ve learned from your experience in

in Hollywood,

Masami Moriya: Hollywood entertainment, you know, all this stuff you’ve been doing.

Katie Chang: I think it’s really important to have interest in hobbies outside of the industry. That was something that I struggled with for a very long time. because the nature of this work is so unpredictable. You can work for six months and then not work again for two years and you have to find a way to sustain yourself.

Not only financially, but emotionally. so finding other things that give me passion, you know, and, and also having a very good network of friends, especially friends that are not directly in the industry, is very important. And then I think in terms of like acting specifically [00:26:00] what I have learned.

You can rely on sheer talent alone, but that will only get you so far. The best actors are the ones that do the work and that don’t care about the press and don’t care about the fame. They’re just there for the work because they love the work and they love the character analysis. They love the script work.

They love collaborating. That’s something that I’ve really come to value.

Absolutely.

Masami Moriya: Is there a project that you’ve been most proud of?

I feel like there are a little bits and pieces of everything that I’ve done that I’ve appreciated mostly. It’s hard to say. It’s really hard to say. I I’ve always loved the movies where it feels like you’re at summer camp. So those, some of those lower budget ones where you’re kind of like, for example, I did a film right [00:27:00] after blinkering I did a movie called a Birder’s guide to everything directed by Rob Meyer.

and we were living at this like holiday in and upstate New York and filming in the woods and, It totally felt like summer camp and it was such a special experience, not, you know, not only to mention the fact that we got to work with Servon Kingsley. So that was just like the most amazing, amazing acting lesson you could ever have.

I did another movie, a while ago where we were filming in San Francisco and, Again, it was that same idea of like, we’re all staying at a cabin together. And I just loved the ones where you really feel like you’ve come away with family and lifelong friends that doesn’t always happen in the. Yeah.

Katie Chang: And then, and then Pantheon will always be special because, you know, I really didn’t think I would work again. And so I’ve just been happy to work. Like I said, I just, I just love the work. It’s, it’s never about anything other than that. So, but yeah, I would say there are bits and pieces of everything, but the main through [00:28:00] line is just like that collaborative experience and really feeling like you’re in this together and you’re up against the world.

And especially for whatever reason, the movies with the woods, whenever you’re in the woods, it really brings you together.

Masami Moriya: It’s all that. And let’s talk a little more about, going back to Asian identity in the past, you know, 10 years from, since, and all, have you done, has your Asian identity come up very often? has that been something you’ve been promoting more, does it with the new Asian? I don’t want to say it an Asian way cause it’s been going on for decades, but like, has it’s been changing these past few years?

Is it something you’ve been brought up or your agents managers bringing up more often or is that just not been part of the.

Katie Chang: I would say the, I think it’s fair to say that the number of auditions like the frequency of additions has increased dramatically. There there’s more interest in having people of color Asian people on. So I’m, I’m getting auditions for all [00:29:00] types of things. I feel so lucky to have that opportunity, especially during a time when people, a lot of performers aren’t working, you know, I feel very, very lucky to just have these opportunities.

I would say there is still like, kind of a blanket, like, oh, I w we want any Asian person, you know, so. A Korean person will audition. A Chinese person will audition. A Filipino person will audition. You know, there’s, there’s, I would love to see more specificity, I guess, and more appreciation for the individual cultures, as opposed to seeing it as like this one big culture.

but yeah, the frequency of auditions has increased a lot. and I am finding that even though. Hoppa and, you know, in some ways I location, in some ways I don’t, there’s more of that space that’s being carved out for mixed people. So, that’s made me very proud and, you know, regarding my identity, especially living in LA where you have like an amazing Korean [00:30:00] culture, I’m finding a lot of ways to engage with that.

Katie Chang: And. It’s making me think about my grandpa a lot and, and all the sacrifices he made and I’m just excited. Yeah. I’m excited. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a shame that it’s happening so late, you know, this appreciation for Asian people, we had Asian actors for centuries who were incredible and deserved the attention that.

We are now getting, but I think you can talk to any Asian-American actor in this, in this town. And they would say that we’re only standing on the shoulders of the people that came before us. So, there’s definitely, an appreciation for like the history that I

Masami Moriya: Yeah.

Katie Chang: Yeah,

Masami Moriya: We need more of that history too, though. So many people don’t know a lot of names that have been, who’ve made stardom, right? That’s the biggest thing.

Katie Chang: Yeah. These. You only hear about it when you read the obituaries not to sound dark, but, and [00:31:00] then you’re like, oh my God, why have I never heard of this person before? You know? So yeah,

Masami Moriya: so many, so many. is there anybody you admire or you’re inspired by.

Katie Chang: I, this is going to sound super cheesy, but like, I think Bruce Lee was the greatest, especially I watched the, I can’t remember if it was 30 for 30 or it was some, like, it was a documentary. God, he was just so cool and a, and an absolute trailblazer, absolute trailblazer. I really love him. I really love him.

you know, to talk about someone more contemporary Aquafina is doing this amazing stuff where she’s, she’s created a space for Asians to be funny. She’s created a space for Asians to before. To be known as funny and then suddenly change it up and win a golden globe, you know? and then be a rapper.

Katie Chang: Like I think, I think that’s been really, really important. Definitely.[00:32:00]

Masami Moriya: Yeah. And going back a little bit. I know you’re, you’re mixed. I’m also mixed. So I just think it’s so funny because you look like my sister, my sister reminds me more Japanese American, but I’m just like, oh, I can be sure you pictured like, oh yeah. Just

Katie Chang: That’s

funny.

Masami Moriya: as, yeah. Have you ever, worked with Asian, Asian directors or Asian collaborators that then it changed the way you’ve.

You know, experienced that on set

Katie Chang: I’ve definitely auditioned for them before. have I ever worked with an Asian director? I want to make sure I’m answering the question correctly. I don’t think I ever have.

Masami Moriya: everything’s kept with taping.

Katie Chang: I don’t think I ever have. That’s such a shame I love to. I’ve definitely, I’ve definitely auditioned for it before.

Masami Moriya: You think it would change? Do you think you were like, I’m not just the you’re acting in self, but the experience of processing

Katie Chang: There’s just a [00:33:00] comradery and like a solidarity, you know, an unspoken, oh, I know what you’ve been through. And you know what I’ve been through that, you know, when you have that director actor relationship, do you have to have a lot of trust and like, and love and comfortability and, and, respect. And if you come from a background where someone can identify with you, that that’s inherent.

So I’m looking forward to that time. I, where I think in, in college when I was producing a lot, I definitely worked with Papa people and, you know, Asian American actors, but, professionally, I don’t think so. I, I would love to, I mean, certainly, you know, there are people who identify as Asian. Yeah. On sets that whether it’s someone who works in the sound department or someone who works in the art department, but working with someone who’s like in a leadership role, I don’t think I ever have.

I would love to have that experience.

Masami Moriya: We’ll see that the next five, 10 years. I’m sure. Like there’s a girl coming up now, right?

Katie Chang: Well, I mean the [00:34:00] Asian, especially the Asian female director. Are just like, yellow jackets is about to come out and I’m so excited. Cause that’s an Asian female director. I mean, I auditioned for it, so I know what happens, but like I’m, I’m so excited to see that show because it’s just such a monumental moment for women in the, in the film and the TV industry and Asian women in the TV industry.

Masami Moriya: Yeah. I mean a lot of that, and I think we need a diversity within, you know, having Asian in these positions is great, but having diversity within the Asian community and this positions even more important.

Katie Chang: Definitely.

now I don’t know how often you think about this. And so it was my B out of the question, but, you know, what do you think, what do you think is needed in the Asian Pacific Islander communities for sustainable and systemic change within the industry?

do you feel like, is there something that you see that like, maybe this would help fix it, or this is the, this is a problem and then not have a fix, but [00:35:00] this, I do see this as a.

Katie Chang: It’s kind of going back to what I just said. I just think we need more Asian identifying people in leadership roles. You know, Hollywood is kind of controlled by a very select few people and they tend to be white and they tend to be male. I would love to see a high powered. Hoppa executive. Like that would be the coolest thing, you know, because there’s, then there’s a baseline interest in telling Asian stories, you know, and, and casting and hiring people to tell these stories.

And maybe the story isn’t about being Asian, but it’s just like an Asian person. I just want it to be normal, you know, normalizing it. So I think getting, you know, Asian, Asian, American hopper. creative executives, development, executives, writers, directors, producers. And, and in order to sometimes do that, you do have to create programs and you have to create incentives.

And I don’t see a problem with that to a certain extent. Like I, [00:36:00] you know, some people talk about how there shouldn’t be diversity mandates and there shouldn’t be things like that. You say that you sound like an asshole. Like, you know what I mean? Because otherwise nothing’s going to change. You have to try.

To make something change. You can’t just expect it to change. Like, I’m sorry, but merit alone. Doesn’t get you very far in this industry. Unfortunately, you can be as educated as, as possible, and you might lose out because you know, someone who’s white and someone who’s male.

Masami Moriya: Yeah. Nepotism.

Katie Chang: Oh, well, nepotism is a very big problem in this industry.

That’s actually, my pet peeve is nepotism. I have a, I have a few stories. Yeah.

Masami Moriya: Yeah, well, it’s nepotism. It’s the, who, you know, is if they don’t know if they are agents in their circles, you know, white male circles, it’s like, then you don’t know them. You don’t have [00:37:00] them.

Katie Chang: And then there’s also this like predatory thing that’s happening too, where like some content executives. this is hot. Asians are hot. I’m going to hire Asians, you know, but like, okay. When for now? Or like, how are you, how are you committing to this in a long term? Why don’t do it just to come off. Good.

Do it. Cause you’re interested do, because you believe in it

Masami Moriya: are you going to hire them to tell you, tell you the differences and you going to hire them to listen to them? Or are you just gonna hire them to then tell them what to

Katie Chang: because it looks good. Yeah.

Masami Moriya: it looks good, Right,

I mean, I got a job cough. No, but doesn’t sound great.

Katie Chang: right. Exactly.

Masami Moriya: yeah. so as we kinda wrap up here, it’s like, what’s something you want to share with the audience is like, thinking any advice for anybody anybody’s coming up and doing things that want to be in your position.

Katie Chang: Yes.[00:38:00]

You know, something that I’m really passionate about in the Asian American community. We, I don’t think we talk about mental health enough, encourage people to check in with themselves. There there’s some really cool platforms on Instagram. when Instagram is working right, Asian Asians and mental health Asians for mental health, I can’t remember what the, the, the username is, but, There are tons of resources out there.

And I just, I just think coming from kind of an Asian background, especially like knowing my dad and my grandpa, it’s not something that culturally you talk about. And it’s very, very, very, very important. So that’s something that I care about a lot. and I want to tell stories about that too. I, to, I want that to be in the media.

I want that to be on TV and in movies. That’s why I’m writing, right. In terms of like advice for people wanting to be in my position. I’ve said this before in other interviews, but I think, it’s really important to have a higher education and that doesn’t necessarily mean [00:39:00] going to college. I encourage people to get life experience that is greater than their narrow passion.

Because if you have life experience, go live abroad for a year, go volunteer for a year, go work at a store for a year. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re doing something outside yourself and outside the industry or going to university, right? That life experience, the things you learn will make you a better artist.

So I think it’s very important and I, every day I’m so grateful that I went to college. I’m grateful. I have my degree, of course, but it’s more because I’m of the people I met in the experiences I had and the good moments and the bad moments that, that all makes me a more colorful person. And in turn makes me a better artist.

Masami Moriya: Yeah. You mentioned that earlier, too, that you had to have, hobbies and interests outside of the industry. what are your hobbies outside the industry?

Katie Chang: I love I’ve been, I don’t [00:40:00] know how realistic this is, but I really want to get my masters in T. I love, I love working with kids. I love the little moments of teaching that I’ve gotten to do over my life. I’m really interested in it. So that’s like a weird kind of like other thing that I’m really interested in, especially English as a second language.

I think there’s a lot of stigma about people that speak with accents. And I actually think like, you don’t need to get rid of your accent. That’s what makes you unique. You just need to learn the language and like, we can make that really fun. I’m really interested in teaching. I love hockey. I’m a huge hockey fan.

you talk? He’s coming back in a few weeks. I love exercising, hiking, biking, cooking. Yeah. Family, friends, new new experiences. I love traveling. Not that we can do it very much right now, but I do love traveling. and, and I would consider writing to be an external hobby. Cause it doesn’t always have to be tied.

Acting there’s a lot of different types of writing that you can do.

Yeah, [00:41:00]

Masami Moriya: That’s fine. You watch a lot of LA teams games or you haven’t done.

Katie Chang: Oh, I am not a Kings fan at all. I’m a Chicago fan for sure. Yes.

what are you in? What are you watching or where you recently watched a year? Like dying to talk about some people.

Katie Chang: Well, we’ve been watching the new season of what we do in the shadows on FX. So. That’s probably like my ultimate ultimate show right now. during lockdown, I saw every episode of guy’s grocery games on food network. So like I highly suggested it’s really good. and I’m not embarrassed to say that I also watch like the bachelor and stuff like that.

you know, one show. I don’t think a lot of women think that they would like, but I loved was Dave also on FX. I just thought it was, I just thought it was perfect. The second season is super goofy and weird, but, but in such a perfect way and the way it ends is so perfect. what else am I watching?

Katie Chang: Let’s see, I just started the other two, which is a [00:42:00] comedy central show. and it’s on HBO, max. I think it’s comedy central. And it’s, it’s pretty awesome. And it brings to light a lot of the struggle of being an actor. So I really, really liked that one. and there’s a couple of things I’m excited about that are coming out.

yellow jackets on Showtime is one of them that I really can’t wait to watch. let’s see. What else? The new Dateline next week, I don’t know.

Masami Moriya: Yeah. I’m always looking for new recommendations and everybody else is like, what are we watching locked down now? Like, when’s that new lock on come down.

Katie Chang: Tri, if you have HBO, max, try watching the other two.

Masami Moriya: Yeah, And I check that out.

Katie Chang: Yeah, definitely.

yeah. Well, thank you so much for taking some time where it’s pretty de Mexico, me cold outside. It’s kind of just

Katie Chang: No, it’s weird. I think it’ll probably burn off soon. Usually by like two it’s like 80 degrees.

Masami Moriya: yeah. Each time that was good. Well, where [00:43:00] can people find you on social media handles? with the winds was Penn Pantheon coming out, like all that good

Katie Chang: We don’t know when pantheons coming out, but stay tuned. follow AMC. And my I’m on Instagram. I’m at Katie underscore underscore Chang, cause the actual Katie Chang, username was already taken and I’m really angry about it.

Masami Moriya: Let’s position that

Katie Chang: Unfortunately, Katie Chang is a very common name. My uncle’s dentist is named Katie Chang.

Masami Moriya: well.

but yeah, follow me on Instagram. I usually post about my cat or my boyfriend, so I don’t know if you’re interested in that kind of content, but if you are, I’m your girl.

Masami Moriya: Perfect. Well again, Thank you so much. for speaking with us today and, yeah, very good. Glad to meet you.

Katie Chang: Thank you so much. Have a good one.

Masami Moriya: Say

Katie Chang: Thanks.

 

Masami Moriya: stop.

 

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