Interview by Sharlene Park | Photography from amandasuk.com | Header Photo by Abad Image Photography
Amanda Suk is an actor, dancer, teacher, host, stylist, and blogger. She has been featured in short films and TV episodes, and most recently landed a role in the pilot TV series 5150. Her passion for acting was re-sparked when she was cast as a lead for Emeli Sande’s "My Kind of Love” music video. Amanda always had the passion for acting in the back of her head, but this experience gave her the epiphany that acting was what she was supposed to be doing. Despite her achievements, Amanda is still a very down-to-earth, one-of-a-kind soul, who also enjoys coffee and some good Korean barbecue.
When did your passion for acting start?
I think it began early in my childhood from re-creating dramatic scenes from the Korean dramas that my parents would watch. I can't remember the exact time because I feel like it has always been in me. However, the first specific moment I can remember putting it into action was in the 5th grade—I was in an after school film club led by one of the teachers and a couple of local high school students. Each kid in the club wrote a short screenplay and we all voted on which one we would make. My screenplay got picked and we casted it together, filmed it together, and the high school students edited it together. I played one of the lead detectives as we looked into some thievery by the evil "Rogi" man and his assistants. Haha, I am sure I have the VHS somewhere at my house in St. Louis. I'll have to hunt for it . . . that's a goldmine right there!
How did you officially get into acting?
I'm not sure if there is an "official" way to get into acting so I can't definitively answer this question. However, I didn't start taking acting classes until about March or so of this year (2014). I don't know if there is anything that makes it official, but the first paid acting job I had was the Emeli Sande Music Video for "My Kind of Love." I guess that makes it official, getting paid haha.
Who has inspired you?
This is always a really hard question for me to answer because I find inspiration in many different ways for many different reasons. But, if you mean in regards specifically to acting—I'm definitely inspired by my fellow friends who are also pursuing acting. They generously give me so much invaluable advice and have been doing this far longer than I have. I have the utmost respect for the sacrifices that they make to pursue this daunting career. Inspirations in regards to general artistry+performance would be the radiating Jillian Meyers (you can easily find some of her work on Youtube). She defies eras—she's like a chameleon that could fit into any decade from the last century. She commands the spotlight with a flick of her finger or a simple arch in her eyebrow. She's like the modern day melting pot of the greatest Hollywood legends—Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Bob Fosse. I could go on and on, but Jilly would probably shy away from all this praise I'm giving her (if she ever read this) haha. But that's simply another thing that makes her so great—her humility! She's got the makings of being legendary—but she is and will always be that kind neighbor who will gladly lend you a cup of sugar and maybe even bring you a homemade pie ;)
What’s it like to pursue acting as an Asian-American, given that Asian-Americans are underrepresented in this industry?
It's definitely a challenge to say the least. But I don't want to turn my response to this question as a complaint. Instead, I look at it as an incredibly exciting time to be a part of a generation of aspiring Asian-American actors (male + female) that are and WILL break ground in changing the aesthetic of what you see on screen. I think there are film makers, writers, producers, directors out there that want to see a more realistic world on screen . . . and yes, it will take time but the opportunities are growing. I think it's important to work hard on the craft so when put in place of opportunity, the preparation is already there and you can give a killer performance for people to want to see more of you in more commanding roles (this goes for roles both on camera and behind the camera!)
What would be your dream role and why?
I would love to play a superhero at some point haha. It'd be like living out a childhood dream! Come on, who didn't dress up as a kid as their favorite superhero? I mean . . . I don't know if I have a specific dream role at this moment—I'm sure that idea will come along. But I do want to be in stories that engage the audience to the point of leaving the theater and have them still talking about it days/weeks later. On the complete opposite end, I would also love to be the endearing lead in a romcom who rides on the back of a motorcycle with her leading man and shares a kiss in the rain just so I can check off doing something INCREDIBLY cheesy off my bucket list. I'd also be providing a great addition to Netflix and something to do on a cold, rainy night for those folks who want to eat tubs of ice cream and stay in.
Where can we see you next? What are some projects you’re currently working on?
I booked a role in a pilot project that will be shooting after the holidays. These kinds of projects don't get released until after they've been pitched around. If it gets picked up that's the dream! If it doesn't, it might get put on YouTube or a different outlet depending on the creators/producers. I'm sure I'll hop into some more YouTube sketches with friends here and there. Also, hopefully some of the things that I shot this year will be finished and released in 2015. As things become public I'll always update my website/social media, so you can always follow me there to stay updated!
Do you have any advice for other young girls out there who want to pursue acting?
If it's something you are serious about, take it seriously like you would with any other profession! Get into class, learn about the business, learn about the work that goes into creating the depth and reality of a character, put the work into practice—and don't be afraid to create/experiment on your own! Keep your imagination active—watch movies, watch live theater, read, write your own stories! At the end of the day, don't let fear paralyze you from going after your dreams. Be ready to make some sacrifices, but remind yourself that if this is something you really love and want to pursue, it's gonna be worth it! Be willing to put in the hard work!