I’m here sitting on a stoop in a shopping center in Honolulu just watching all the people walk by… Eminem’s new album is playing on my headphones, there’s a cool breeze bowing through the crowd and I’m about to start filming a new movie tomorrow.
Hawaii is a magical place… for most people its magical because its a tropical paradise, or the amazing surf… but for me its amazing because as an Asian-American, it may be one of the only places in America where I’m not a minority. If you have never been to Hawaii, or even if you have, you have to realize how amazing that is.
I don’t know when you realize your race, for me it was around 6th grade, you have that first awareness that you may not be quite the same as your other classmates. It’s not a good thing or bad thing, its just a moment most minorities go through growing up in America. And that awareness somehow lingers in the back of your mind. I don’t think it rules your motivations, at least it never ruled mine, but its there and it influences your perspective on the world. And in my industry, your constantly reminded of race and ethnicity with every audition you go on… that’s the world of casting in Hollywood.
Most days you don’t even think about… you just keep grinding, keep moving closer to success. But getting off the plane and walking around here for the last few days, for a moment you realize, the guy who checked you into your hotel and the girl you just bought your Starbucks from and all these thousands of people walking around, you realize that they all kind of look like you. It’s crazy to realize that this is a whole island where there are more Asian/Pacific Islanders then there are white people.
It’s kind of a weird awareness to know your in a place where your the majority and for once they are the minority.
It’s a magical place… I know there are a lot of problems here, like everywhere else, and some very serious problems that are very unique to Hawaii. Talking to locals, you get to know fast that its not quite paradise for everyone out here. But its a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by my people… no matter where your family’s from originally, if your Asian or Pacific Islanders in America… Hawaii is like your second homeland… and I’m honored to be here to tell a story about this place, one made by the locals that’s going to show a side of Waikiki that most Americans know nothing about, the side that has nothing to do with the surf and hula girls… the other side of this paradise.
But while I’m here, I’m going to enjoy the Magic of Hawaii…