"I would like to champion more diversity in the industry. I fully support Asians in non-traditional roles as well. Crazy Rich Asians and Fresh Off the Boat have done a lot to bring attention to Asian actors. Outside of productions that are intentionally all Asian, it would be great to see more films and shows that have more than just a token Asian (or any minority for that matter). I also really want to see an Asian superhero. Shang Chi got the green light so that will be awesome! I also really want to see a Silk (Korean American superhero) movie, it’s something I’ve wanted to have an opportunity to play for a while. Not just Asian villains or Asian sidekicks/friends, or supporting roles but headlining Asian heroes. (And heroes doesn’t always mean superhero, heroes come in all shapes and sizes.) But I’d like to see more Asians in leading roles overall. I would like to see the stereotypes broken."
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bekah Jung. Bekah is an American Film and Television Actor and Model. A continuing acting student and versatile actress, she has played roles in multiple films and web series. Bekah has played a range of characters and is always challenging herself to grow as an actor. Bekah is part of the cast of Drama Queens, BBVVV, Chrome, Crossed Lines, and Curse of the Dragon Sword. Having a passion for the arts, Bekah is also a writer, painter, and illustrator. She loves music, taking photos, cooking and baking. Bekah is athletic having played soccer, basketball, and was a runner. Bekah has a background in kickboxing and kung fu. She also has experience with fight choreography and stunt choreography, and has the goal of becoming a superhero on film.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a kid I had played “make believe” about being a celebrity. I had done a little bit of theatre and taken drama in school but not seriously. I had submitted to an agency for modeling, and they signed me despite having no experience because they said I had potential. On my first shoot I met an actor named Walter Anaruk. We stated chatting and he gave me some advice about becoming an actor. He encouraged me to take acting classes and gave me a few resources. I looked up his acting coach and scheduled an audit. Doing my first scene in class made me so nervous! My heart was racing, I was shaking, I was scared to do it in front of people. But it was also incredibly exciting. I was hooked after that and haven’t stopped since. My goals and dreams with what I want to accomplish through acting just keep getting bigger and bigger!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I discovered a passion. For a long time I felt frustrated. I was always trying to please people and was so self conscious of what other people would think of me. I’m still conscious of that but now I have a different perspective. I think that in always trying to make everyone else happy that I lost myself. I had drive and ambition and determination but I wasn’t using those in a way that made ME happy because I was determined to make everyone else happy and live up to their expectations of what I should do and who I should be. Through acting I found a kind of release from all that pressure and stress. I found that I was able to escape and create my own world, my own moments, and play. It’s funny that people consider acting as just pretending you’re someone you’re not. But that was real life for me. I found freedom in playing, exploring, creating, tapping into emotions instead of trying to hide them. Acting has helped me express who I really am, and has helped me not be afraid to show the world my talents and passion.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have the third installment in a series of short films about Kutkh, an ancient raven god. I’ve been working with Rion Smith and the great guys at Creepy TV (a channel dedicated to horror/thriller films) on the series, and each film gets more exciting and intense. I have no idea how the series will end! I am also cast in two different new series that are both in pre-production right now. Colorado CRAFT is a mystery/adventure/comedy and Bad Decisions is a comedic series as well. Since I typically do dramatic work I’m looking forward to do some comedy! I also recently jumped into the world of stunts and am training at XMA Action. I do have experience with stage combat and fight experience, and I find it to be a lot of fun. I want to be able to do some of my own stunts for any future films. I love a movie with some great fight choreography! Other than that, I’m really excited to see what opportinities are coming my way!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I would say that as a person I’m naturally curious. I really enjoy hearing people’s stories. Everyone is interesting is interesting in different ways because of their experiences. I would say that Michelle Waterson is a really nice person. She’s a professional UFC fighter and a killer in the ring. But she is so sweet and fun in real life, very humble, and very friendly. Bekah Wiggins is wonderfully interesting as well. She’s just got this great energy and spirit, and is so caring and genuine. I love it every time I get to see her because her happiness is so contagious. Honestly though, as cheesy as it sounds, I find almost everyone I meet to be pretty interesting!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Have something else you do outside of acting that also makes you happy and helps to relieve stress. For me I love to cook and bake. There’s something about baking that is just to satisfying. The smells, making it look pretty, and sharing it with others and seeing them enjoy it. Also, spending time with my dog, Zara. I talk to her all the time, about everything. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking Zara for a walk, or playing with her at the park. Dogs remind us about the joy of And cuddles. Dog cuddles are the best.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I’m not sure I’m quite there yet but I would like to be! I would like to champion more diversity in the industry. I fully support Asians in non-traditional roles as well. Crazy Rich Asians and Fresh Off the Boat have done a lot to bring attention to Asian actors. Outside of productions that are intentionally all Asian, it would be great to see more films and shows that have more than just a token Asian (or any minority for that matter). I also really want to see an Asian superhero. Shang Chi got the green light so that will be awesome! I also really want to see a Silk (Korean American superhero) movie, it’s something I’ve wanted to have an opportunity to play for a while. Not just Asian villians or Asian sidekicks/friends, or supporting roles but headlining Asian heroes. (And heroes doesn’t always mean superhero, heroes come in all shapes and sizes.) But I’d like to see more Asians in leading roles overall. I would like to see the stereotypes broken.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Fail often and fail wonderfully. Acting teacher Benjy Dobrin always used to say don’t be afraid to fail. Most people fear failing. In fact, more people fear failure than spiders or ghosts. I have learned that the fear of failure alone holds you back from what could be your biggest succeses and opportunities. But if we choose to look at failure as a lesson then it makes us better. That fear can be used as motivation to drive you forward instead of holding you back.
2. Being different isn’t bad. Growing up as a minority in a predominantly white environment I always felt like I didn’t fit in. I was made fun of for how I looked and bullied because I wasn’t like all the other kids. I got “slant eyes”, I got racial slurs, and sometimes just told straight up that I was ugly. Even before I understood fully what it meant, it still felt wrong. It took me a long time to embrace being different. And it’s funny that kids used to make fun of my big lips when I was younger and now everyone wants big lips. Bottom line is your features don’t define who you are on the inside. And that thing you hate about yourself (your eyes, your lips, your nose, your hair, your weight, etc.) could be the unique “look” that a CD or producer is looking for.
3. Embrace your weird! I once heard this saying that everyone is someone’s weirdo, and I loved it. I used to be ashamed or offended if someone called me weird. Now I take it as a compliment. You’re weird! So what? Everyone can be weird to someone else. Who sets the standard for what is weird and what is normal? I’ve learned to have humor about it. I prefer to be weird than boring. Find people who match your type of weird and surround yourself with them. The ability to be totally yourself, in all your weirdness, in priceless.
4. Don’t be afraid of NO. This is an industry of no. You’ll hear so many people say no compared to the ones that say yes. It
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Be you. It might seem so simple but it can be so hard. Learn how to embrace your quirks, your weirdness, and the essence that makes you who you are. Be proud of your flaws, that is what makes you human and also relatable. Don’t be what you think others what you to be. Be you.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I do believe that I have so many people to thank on this journey. Patrick Sheridan was my teacher, coach and mentor. He had a way of looking at you and not just seeing you, but seeing who you were on the inside. It’s like Patrick knew, before I ever even said anything, what I needed and was missing. He taught me how to be truly present in each moment, and how to really connect. His support and belief in me transformed me as an artist. My favorite moments were when he’d look at me, smile and say, “I’m so proud of you.” And I could just feel how honest and genuine he was when he said it. He never without 100% conviction. I truly believe I am a better person, and absolutely am a better actor, because of him. Patrick lost his fight with cancer not too long ago. He maintained his humor and wit throughout his fight, and was dedicated to his students up until the very end. Patrick’s passing left a hole in our community and a void in all of our hearts. I still with I could text him for advice all the time. I am truly honored and blessed to have had him as my coach, and I hope I’m still making him proud.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
They’re probably similar to people I want to work with too, and there are so many! Keanu Reeves. He just seems so nice and down to earth and he’s such a great soul. I’d love to talk to him about everything. Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses ever to exist. I would love to be in her presence and learn from her, and have her as a mentor. And I also want to meet Sean Evans. Why? Because I want to do an episode of the Hot Ones with him, so I guess the “lunch” would most likely be a hot wings challenge experience. I would like to do a two-part with Sean, one as a “rising star” and then I’d like to do another one later where I have bigger projects to talk about and share.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!