Dennis A. Amith interviews Linda Wang (2000) - Page 1


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 Academy.

    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?".

      Linda
's determination 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 Shampoo campaign.  

     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" story line.

     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


AC (DENNIS):  What kind of atmosphere did you grow up in?  Were you raised with Chinese values? 
LINDA:  I 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 cry on.

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.

AC (DENNIS): What do you think is the difference between New Yorkers and Californians?
LINDA: 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 M. Putko

AC (DENNIS): 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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