I’m a NYC-based director and artist. A little bit about me: I’m a transracial adoptee, meaning I was born biologically asian but raised in an all-white household by my Irish-American family. My upbringing as someone who is kind of in-between different identities and worlds has really influenced my approach to everything in life, especially my art. It’s sparked a strong interest in identity through storytelling – the stories that make up who we are. The stories we are told, the stories we tell, and the stories told about us.
I started as an oil painter and performance artist, studying at Pratt and then The Cooper Union. I transitioned into video after developing a sensitivity to oil paint, but to me, it wasn’t that big of a leap from painting since I viewed paintings as if they were film stills from larger worlds.
I worked as an event photo/videographer for a while before moving into film and narrative (as an art director/production designer). While the switch from painting to video was easy from a creative standpoint, it was super difficult to find support as a young woman of color on set. I was working with crews where I was the only woman and/or the only PoC – where crew called me “sweetheart” and “babe” and thought that everything I did was “cute” instead of respecting my work. I was told by my colleagues (and even my boyfriend at the time) that I would never succeed as a director – that I shouldn’t bother trying to direct anything because I would only fail.
Add to that, as a transracial adoptee, I’d never even heard of an asian woman director before. So it was difficult even for me to envision myself in the director’s seat.
Eventually I realized that I needed to be the change I wished to see in the world. I couldn’t wait for someone to give me a chance to direct, or to give me permission. I pulled my life savings together and produced/directed my first short film project – a project where on of my lead (SAG) actors told me I was the best director she had ever worked with, and that I should “never stop” directing.
Inspired, I went on to direct indie music videos and other short indie narratives. I’ve worked with people from all over the world, with different religions, languages, political views, cultural traditions. I love having diverse crews, and try my best to make sure there is an equal balance of men and women on my sets. I also have edited many of my own projects, with my editing work winning multiple awards.
Eventually I started working as a storyboard artist for commercials, where I’ve been able to learn from and collaborate with established commercial directors with big brands such as Nickelodeon, Kate Spade, Ben & Jerry’s, Disney, Amazon, Samsung, and more.
Although my boarding work has allowed me to share my vision with directors and even call shots, it’s never opened doors for me as a director. And that’s where my heart is – directing!
Out of all the directors I’ve worked with as a commercial board artist, only a small percentage are women. I would love to be a part of changing the landscape of commercial directing work. I want to take my career to the next level and continuing to open doors for future film-hopefuls who were also told they’d never make it.