May 8, 2024

Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month: A Deep Dive with Shondaland's Finest

Aria Williams
WriterAria WilliamsWriter

At Shondaland, we're all about celebrating our milestones and reflecting on the journey that got us to where we are today. Our productions mirror the diverse world we live in, a feat made possible by the incredible talent we've been fortunate to work with over the years. This Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we're shining a spotlight on the AANHPI stars in our community, delving into their personal experiences and cultural backgrounds.

Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month: A Deep Dive with Shondaland's Finest

Key Takeaways:

  • Shondaland productions are a reflection of the diverse world we live in, thanks to the myriad of cultures represented by its actors.
  • The personal backgrounds and cultures of these actors add depth and authenticity to the characters they portray.
  • Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month provides an opportunity to explore the rich cultural experiences of the AANHPI talent within Shondaland.

In the spirit of celebration, we caught up with a star from "Grey’s Anatomy," whose life story is as colorful as the roles he plays. Born into a Chinese Caribbean family in Costa Rica, this actor's journey from his multicultural upbringing to becoming a household name in shows like "Glee" and movies like "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is nothing short of inspiring.

How did your childhood influence who you are today?

Growing up in a Chinese Caribbean community in Costa Rica, I was immersed in a blend of cultures from an early age. The motto "pura vida," meaning "pure life," deeply influenced my outlook on life, emphasizing the importance of living in harmony with nature and community.

Can you share a favorite family tradition?

Food and family gatherings were central to my childhood. Playing mahjong during these gatherings was a cherished tradition, offering a sense of joy and celebration that brought everyone closer together.

What were some of your favorite shows and books growing up?

"Knight Rider" and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" were my gateways into American culture, providing not only entertainment but also valuable insights into a world different from my own. "The Alchemist" was a pivotal book that resonated with me, shaping my perspective on life and destiny.

What lessons have you learned from your parents?

My parents taught me the value of honesty, the importance of helping others, and the wisdom of living in moderation to see both sides of every situation clearly. These principles have guided me throughout my life and career.

Breaking into the industry: What was your experience?

Entering the entertainment industry with little knowledge of its workings, I relied on my passion for performance and the lessons from my parents to navigate my path. Starting as a professional dancer, I learned valuable lessons from each job, gradually building my skills and understanding of the industry.

Seeing yourself on-screen for the first time must have been memorable. Can you describe that experience?

My first on-screen appearance was so fleeting, I barely had time to process it. However, it was less about the exposure and more about making my parents proud, driving me to seek roles that would allow me to truly showcase my talent.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I pride myself on the relationships I've built and the characters I've had the chance to explore. Finding chemistry with a character is as important as chemistry with fellow actors, allowing for a more authentic and engaging portrayal.

This interview offers just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of experiences and cultural backgrounds that enrich our Shondaland community. As we celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month, we're reminded of the beauty and strength found in diversity, and the stories that connect us all.

Mia Brabham Nolan, a staff writer at Shondaland, beautifully captures these narratives, inviting readers to delve deeper into the lives and cultures of the AANHPI talent that make our shows so relatable and loved. Follow her journey and discover more stories that celebrate heritage and diversity in the world of entertainment.

About the author
Aria Williams
Aria Williams

Aria Williams, New Zealand's prominent voice in online casino game localization, masterfully fuses the thrilling world of gaming with the rich Kiwi spirit. Their deft touch ensures every game not only entertains but resonates deeply with the locals.

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