Interviewed by Kate Anderson-Song
- Introduce yourself!
Heya! I’m Genevieve Kang and I play Jackie Veda on the new original Netflix series “Locke and Key.”
- Have you always known what you want to pursue?
On a broader scale, not exactly. I tend to figure out what I’m meant to pursue by first doing a lot of what I’m not meant to pursue. Process of elimination, you know?
In regards to acting, I think I knew at a very young age that this is what I wanted to pursue, but growing up in a very academic household and with few bi-racial examples of actors on-screen, I didn’t realize acting as a profession was actually an option. So instead, I spent many years obtaining multiple degrees and approaching acting as more of a hobby. It wasn’t until more recently, when I was able to see the industry shifting towards more inclusive and diverse representation, that I finally mustered up enough courage to get out of my own way and take the deep dive into acting as my career.
- Who do you look up to?
On a personal level, my friends and family. I’m very selective about whom I share my time, so the people I have in my life are all really inspiring to me. Whether it’s through the core values and beliefs that we share and by which we support one another or the ways in which these individuals serve as incredible role models in the unique work that they do each day, these people challenge me to be a better person. Professionally: anyone who has followed their gut and heart, and chased after their dreams no matter what obstacles they faced.
- What advice would you give your younger self?
Avoid staying small for the insecurity of others.
- What is your go-to coffee shop order?
If ceremonial grade matcha is on the menu, then a matcha latte with oat milk. If not, then a decaf latte… with oat milk.
- How has your experience as an Asian actress in the industry been? Do you have any advice for aspiring Asian performers?
As a half-Asian actress, it’s been really interesting. For so many years, a lot of people would tell me that being racially ambiguous within the industry was a positive insofar that I could be cast as many different ethnicities. First of all, that’s not the case, especially as we move towards having more authentic representation on-screen and casting talent who are the actual ethnicity they are playing. Secondly, my experience wasn’t so simple. For a long time, I felt like being of mixed race within this industry made things more complicated and left people feeling confused or undecided about where to place me. A regular question I still get asked all the time when auditioning is what is my ethnic background. No matter what I say, my response is received so subjectively. Some people think I look Asian, while others don’t. I’ve also had experiences where it literally depends on who I’m standing next to or with whom I’m sharing the screen. If I audition for a role that is specifically looking for an Asian actress, comparatively to all of the full Asian actresses auditioning for the same role, I look more caucasian (because I am). Yet, cast opposite a caucasian actor, I’m all of a sudden Asian. It’s a funny thing being mixed race, because it sometimes does feel like you don’t really belong anywhere. Growing up bi-racial, I didn’t see a lot of characters in film and television who looked like me and this is a major aspect of what fuels my passion for storytelling. It’s important that everyone has their stories told and that they see themselves represented on-screen. And while there has definitely been a lot of movement in terms of diverse representation within the industry, we have a very long way to go. Therefore, my advice for aspiring Asian performers is to really consider the roles that they’re auditioning for and/or playing — what and who they are representing and how are these choices going to shape the way the rest of the world sees us. I think where there has been some great progress is seeing Asians starring in non-stereotypical roles. The story could be about anyone, but the leading character(s) just so happens to be Asian (think: Crazy Rich Asians, To All The Boys, Parasite).
- What was the best part of working on your new show, “Locke & Key”?
Working with an incredible team. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with such a talented group of people, both in front of and behind the camera. It was a really positive experience, where I learned so much from everyone. Plus, our entire cast and crew are all so fun and friendly, which always makes going to work each day that much more enjoyable.
- What are you watching now (other than “Locke & Key,” of course!)?
I’m right in the middle of the BBC limited series “The Little Drummer Girl”, so good!
- What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment – either personal or work-related?
Not running away from my truth and instead showing up for myself with compassion and vulnerability — addressing and working through past traumas. So, basically all the work I’ve done in therapy for the last seven years! I think it’s so easy to disregard our feelings and experiences, only for them to collect and harden into putrid residue that we then stumble upon later on in life. Turning inward and working on my emotional and spiritual well-being has proven amazing results in both my personal and professional life. It’s improved my relationships with others (and myself) and has also provided a really solid foundation for me to stand on when it comes to my artistry and work as an actor.
- What is next for you?
You can watch me in the feature film “Run This Town” with Ben Platt, Nina Dobrev, and Damien Lewis in theatres March 6th. I’m also in the film “Nose To Tail”, which is currently screening in select cities across Canada.
Genevieve Kang is an actress and holistic nutritionist based in Vancouver. She can be seen in a recurring role in Netflix’s supernatural thriller, “Locke & Key.” When she’s not busy on the screen, she also runs @kikanblvd, a lifestyle brand promoting holistic wellness.