Photo by Robert M. Putko
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Determination and Persistence
are words that many thespians in the entertainment industry use
when describing their life. For Linda Wang, a woman who
has done everything in her life with the greatest passion, those
are two words she knows well.
Interested in the arts at a young age,
Linda later was accepted to the most prestigious arts high school
in the United States, New York's High School of Art & Design.
The interest of acting came a few years later when she auditioned
for an independent film from Taiwan called "Pushing Hands",
where she was called in for a reading and audition with director
Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Sense
and Sensibility" & "The Ice Storm"). From
that meeting, Lee suggested to Linda that an inexpensive place
for her to learn acting was at the HB studio in Greenwich
Village in New York City.
Linda auditioned and
had the privilege to study with the late Herbert Berghof at the
HB studio. She then attended Pratt University for a year
where she majored in Illustration and later transferred to New
York University where she studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre
Her determination to become
an actress led her to work survival jobs to pay for her education
and expensive acting lessons. This includes working at an
answering service, working at the famous "Antique Boutique,"
dressing as a cereal box and dancing at the South Street Seaport,
working as a perfume model at Macy's, demonstrating a new toy
at Toy Fair USA, being a clown at children's parties, makeup artist,
dog walker, a monkey sitter and a plethora of promotional jobs.
Linda worked in theatre including Off-Broadway
shows like "Serenade in Blue" at the Lincoln Center
Theatre in New York City, "The Independent Me" at the
theatre Row theatre in New York City and as "Pocohontas"
in an AEA stage production of "Disney Friends Around the
World" for Walt Disney Co. in Orlando, Florida.
She has appeared on television in "Late
Night with Conan O'Brien", "Saturday Night Live"
and as Lisa Woo on "Another World", Lilly Chang
on "Guiding Light" and Sandra Wong RN on "As the
World Turns". She met her friend and mentor Bill Cosby
after landing a part on "The Cosby Show". Linda
can also be seen in the films "Scarred City", "Small
Times Crooks", "Dead Air" and on director Brett
Ratner's ("Rush Hour) college film, "What Ever Happened
to Mason Reece?".
to succeed has extended also to print publications where she has
been featured in over 50 print ads for various companies around
the world, most notably for her work as a hair model for the Pantene
Linda has also worked
as a voice-over artist. She provided voice-overs in Mandarin
Chinese for AT&T, Magellan, IDT, Citibank, Holdcom, Bizfon,
Ford Motor Company, Berkley Productions and Western Union.
Her persistence in growing as an actress
paid off when she costarred in the movie "Birds of Passage"
with veteran actor Stacey Keach ("Mickey Spillane's Mike
Hammer", "Escape from L.A." and "Titus")
and French actress, Charlotte de Turckheim. This is a controversial
film in which Linda plays the character of "Fu", a pregnant
Chinese woman who refused to get an abortion and escaped from
her husband and family in China in order to keep her baby girl.
The film was banned in China due to the anti-"One Child Policy"
Linda is also dedicated to helping break
down the barriers in the entertainment industry for Asian Americans.
This is a part of her life that she's very vocal about and for
which many Asians respect her.
I recently spoke to the talented actress
and model, Linda Wang
kind of atmosphere did you grow up in? Were you raised
with Chinese values?
grew up in a multiracial neighborhood in Queens, New York City.
My parents are like many new immigrants of this country.
They came here in search for a new and improved lifestyle. They
were extremely strict with us and Chinese traditional values were
definitely applied. "Honesty and Modesty" were important
virtues, and the "Respect" for the elder was a must.
As kids, my brother and I would never talk back to our parents.
We tried our very best to please them and followed their guidelines.
But when I was a teenager I went through a very rebellious period
where I would do the opposite of what I was told, which created
problems within our family.
Times have changed. Now I appreciate and respect my parents decisions
and I thank them for being the way they were. You see, I believe
unless under certain extreme situations, all mothers and fathers
love their kids in their very own special way. People in our life
such as boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, and even husbands and
wives may come and go, but you have only ONE father and ONE mother.
I know for sure, if anything drastic happened to me, my parents
would be the first to come to my aid or lend me a shoulder to
AC (DENNIS): I
read in your bio that your parents were very protective. Would
you be the same with your children or more easy-going?
LINDA: I think when the kids are still young I
will apply disciplinary action when necessary in order to protect
their well being. As the kids mature into adulthood, our relationship
should escalate more into friendship.
AC (DENNIS): You
mentioned that you were raised in Queens. What is it that
New York has that California doesn't?
LINDA: Living and
experiencing all four seasons. Plus, having the convenience
of going to many particular places within a short period
of time and distance.
(DENNIS): What do you
think is the difference between New Yorkers and Californians?
New Yorkers are very straightforward and tend to speak
their mind up front and in your face without ANY hesitation.
People elsewhere might perceive that as being rude and
unfriendly, but I believe it's all because of the lifestyle
within the city. People in New York are always hurdling
off somewhere in rapid paces, doing so many things at
once and sometimes it can really build up stress and
anxiety within an individual, which can be very overwhelming.
On the other hand I have observed Californians to be
much more laid back and polite to one and another, which
to me is an amazing quality. But occasionally it takes
my friends here in California a long while to get to
the point, which at times drives me up the wall. Over
all, California is a great place to live, with beautiful
weather and lovely people.
Photo Credit: Robert
How did your family react when you told
them that you wanted to be a model or an actress?
LINDA: At first, they were totally against it! My
father in particular was extremely concerned. But in recent years,
my parents have mellowed down and accepted the fact that it's
my choice of occupation.
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