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Beyond Rich and Famous

With Asian Hustlers: Pam Yang, Kevin Bach, and Katherine Hoang


People of color often encounter some extra stumbling blocks to achieve career goals. In this episode, take from the successful Asians who’ve made names for themselves in their respective industries that those goals are still in reach. Kimchi Chow is joined by a group of Asians who strove for success and found their own paths to fame and fortune. Film actor Kevin Bach, career coach Pam Yang, and costume designer Katherine Hoang share their experiences of hustling to achieve their goals and get the things they want. This is a lively and inspiring roundtable that you won’t want to miss!

Asian Hustlers: Beyond Rich And Famous with Pam Yang, Kevin Bach and Katherine Hoang

Kimchi: In a moment, you will meet our guest panel and get to know them better. You will find their stories fascinating and inspiring. If you haven’t done so, please subscribe to the show and Asian Women Of Power YouTube channel. We believe that our messages and stories are worth sharing so you don’t feel that you are alone. This is my way of empowering you and the Asian community to speak up, stand up and show up powerfully and confidently. Let’s get started. Kevin, tell us who you are and what led you to do what you do now?

Kevin: My name is Kevin. I’m an actor. I was born in Dallas, Texas. My parents came here from Vietnam. My dad came here around 1970. My mom came in 1980. They met and had my sister. My dad is a computer software engineer and my mom stayed home, she took care of my sister and me. I had a relatively middle-class upbringing in Dallas. The schools that I went to were mostly Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic. The minority groups amongst all of those were Asian people. I tried my best to band with my fellow Asians. Whenever in times we were being bullied or anything like that, we will always stick together.

I was always into the arts as a kid, I love to draw. When I was in middle school, I love to sing and stuff like that but once I got into college, I was interested in acting. I had so much this curiosity and I didn’t know where to start even because no one in my family and none of my friends knew anything about acting. I remember I was working at the movie theater at the time and I was like, “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I went to watch movies for free. I got what they call the acting bug, I got bit. I knocked on the theater professor’s door at my school and I was like, “I want to take acting classes.” He enrolled me and ever since then my life has changed. I continued and I got my BFA in Theater. I graduated and then shortly after that, I moved to New York and I was there for about a couple of years trying to do the Off-Broadway or Broadway thing. I got an opportunity to move out here to LA and that’s where I still am now. I’ve worked as an actor and it’s a dream come. I still feel there’s still much more to explore and to experience as an actor. I feel like I’m scratching the rooftop right now.

Kimchi: Thank you, Kevin. Katherine, what about you?

Katherine: I am originally born in Vietnam. I came here when I was two with my parents, with their sponsorship. I went straight to Orange County, I never left California. Like Kevin, I’ve always been interested in arts, it’s always a big thing and part of my life. I blame my parents. My dad bought a sewing machine from Goodwill when I was twelve and I was hooked. I started sewing. I am a costumer, I work in costumes in film and TV, but getting here was definitely hard because not all people know how to get in, it’s all based on who you know. I was told the traditional route of going to high school, getting good grades, taking the AP classes, college, I always knew that. I did my research, I found out that there’s fashion school so I went to fashion school. I was known as that kid who had good grades, smart but didn’t want to go to regular UC College. It was strange.

I have a degree in Fashion Design and a degree in Costume Design for theater. Throughout college, I was working always full-time somewhere related in costumes. I worked at Universal Studios, Renaissance Fair, a lot of student films. I was trying to networking, trying to ask many questions on how to get into the industry. There’s no actual route. What got me in was through my graduate program for costume design. It was through an internship for Captain Marvel, strangely out of nowhere. They had an internship because it was a tax break for them, but it was fine because he got me in. I managed to impress them enough.

How to get into union is that you need 30 days and they managed to get me my days. A year and a half later, I finally got them to the 705 Motion Pictures Costumers, which on average takes around 3 to 5 years and I managed to get in, a recent graduate. It was crazy. I’m one of the youngest. There aren’t a lot of Asian-Americans, especially Vietnamese-Americans are rare to have other people in this because it’s not a route or a career that a lot of parents would trust or would encourage. It was difficult trying to explain it all to my parents, especially to my relatives and what I wanted to do.

Kimchi: That’s a unique path.

Katherine: Most people know alterations and sewing and having those stores, but that’s supposedly what people know about sewing, especially in clothing.

Kimchi: Pam?

Pam: It’s great to hear your stories and how untraditional, at least in the Asian community, your pads are. The question is, who are you? Where are you from? What led you to where you are right? I’m Pam Yang, a New Yorker, born and raised. I’ve also lived in Montana and Oregon. I am an only child, single mom, mainly and both my parents came from Taiwan and they came to New York for their masters so they met here. They were split when I was young, maybe when I was three.

A lot of things led me to where I am now. My mom would say stubbornness, I would say perseverance. I have my own career coaching business, but most of mine I went full time. I’ve been doing on the side for about a couple of years. Before that, I had a fifteen-year career in brand marketing, brand strategy, mainly within sports and that was my dream. The main thing that I’ve been doing most of my life is happiness hunting and dream chasing. I was maybe around 8, 9, 10 when I was like, “I’m going to be a commissioner of the NBA. Basketball is my sport. I love basketball. That’s the league. That’s the top job. That’s what I should have.” It was simple. It’s linear.

My mom never understood where this child came from. She was like, “I don’t understand who you are and why you are the way you are.” I attribute it a lot to where I am today. I got the pressure that normally comes with a traditional Asian upbringing, but because I was an only child and because my mom was a single parent, our dynamic was one on one. We didn’t have a lot of other influences, at least within our day-to-day and she laid out this path which was good grades, Ivy League school, so on and so forth and the options are orthodontists specifically, law, medicine, otherwise and finance or accounting. She was in banking.

Because I didn’t have other distractions at home, I didn’t have siblings to play with, I saw her life clearly. I saw how late she came home. I saw how much work, how many dinners she had to do afterward. I saw how tired she was when she came back. I saw how little time we had to spend and I was like, “I don’t know what exactly you’re doing, but I know I don’t want to do what you’re doing.” It wasn’t in the finance terms it was like, “Whatever life you’ve laid out, clearly it may not be the right path.” Early on because I had that inkling, I was like, “I’m going to chase my own path.” I was able to block out a lot of things. It was painful and unsupported for a lot of it, but because from that early age, I was like, “I can maybe make my own way.” That’s been useful along the way.

I chased various jobs within sports. I’m happy with all the places I went to because I hit the dream jobs I wanted. I wasn’t afraid to quit it all and try something new, I’ve done a lot of things that people who are now my clients consider doing, which is quitting their jobs and traveling for six months or taking a big road trip or starting their own business or blowing up a relationship or a life somewhere because you’re not happy. Having done those experiments, I feel equipped and solid to do what I’m doing, which is a combination of a lot of things that I want in a career and it took me a while to figure it out. It’s been the best transition.

Kimchi: I have tried that too. Happiness hunting and dream chasing, that’s one of my goals may be in the past 30 years, I’m seeking happiness. I’m looking for happiness. It did take me 30 years to find it. I finally solved that puzzle. I thought it’s here, or maybe it could go somewhere else and I have to keep chasing it in a different direction. Thank you for sharing, Pam. Kevin, as an actor and you say you were performing or studying Broadway, and Broadway is normally singing and dancing at the same time, correct?

Kevin: Sometimes, yes. They have what we call straight plays and then musicals. Straight plays are like your regular dramas or comedies where there’s no singing or dancing, like telling the story. You have your musicals that do have singing and dancing. You have your other musicals that are like singing. I never picked up dance classes when I was a kid because I was always in school. When I was introduced to theater, I knew how to act and I knew how to sing and whenever I go to the auditions for musicals that require you to be a triple. There’s a term in musical theater called park and bark. You park and sing while everyone dances around you. If you’re not a dancer, you can’t pick up the choreography, and that’s me.

Kimchi: Maybe that’s the next skill to learn. 

Kevin: I’d love to.

Kimchi: As an actor, those are the skills that will open more doors for you. You only have to look. You know how to act. Singing, we haven’t heard that from you yet so we don’t know. Dancing, you can move a little bit. That will be awesome. Thank you. Katherine, I asked you this before but what’s the difference between fashion design and costume design?

Katherine: I have a degree in both but there is a lot more creative freedom in costume design. You’re storytelling. You’re creating a character through what they wear. When it comes to fashion, it’s more of a business and how you sell yourself. You’re creating a line that a lot of people could critique on and it’s a lot more corporate, a lot more business because it’s all on you. Whereas in costume design, you’re with a group of teams. You’re dealing with actors, producers, directors and it’s a lot more fun, in my opinion. I had careers in both, I worked in both. With costumes, it’s a lot less pressure. I’ve always liked storytelling. It’s one of my favorite things and creating a character through how they’re wearing or what color it is, those are what attracted me the most with costumes.

Kimchi: That’s unique. Thank you for sharing. How do you approach the costume design? Let’s say you work in the film and they give you an outfit for a character and you have to design the costume for that individual actor only.


Asian Hustlers: In costume design, you’re creating a character through what they wear, and in fashion, it’s more about the business and how you sell yourself.

Katherine: It’s based on the period, for sure, if they’re the 1800s or 1900s or modern-day. If that person is a working woman who is a lawyer, then most of her wardrobe, that’s what we call it, will be mostly business suits. If she likes to yoga, then most of the stuff that she’ll have will be leisure wear as well. How we create their wardrobe is reading the script mostly. Reading the script and reading what they’re doing, if they’re going shopping or they’re going to the beach or something. Another thing is we always create a mood board of inspirations of what they’re doing, what kind of person they are, and also creating a color palette. Colors are important in motion pictures. The colors, mood board, that all inspire what we do with the shopping and especially creating the clothes for them, the closet for them. It’s a lot of research that comes in and before the building and the shopping.

Kimchi: You get the full picture of the character and the activities and the color that looks good on that person and the style of the century or the era. I never thought of that. It’s cool. You will gain a lot of skillset later on if you don’t want to stay in this career. You will have much value to offer for other people.

Katherine: Hopefully.

Kimchi: Pam, you said that you were working as a branding person, marketing or advertisement branding in sport. What was the most fun experience or memory that you have done in the past?

Pam: The most memorable for me, mainly because I was a basketball fan, one of my jobs was at the National Basketball Association and I worked in the marketing partnerships group. Oftentimes, at big events, we’d have athletes come and meet with our marketing partners, all the people that are paying millions of dollars a year to be associated with the NBA. You have the heads of those companies and you bring athletes in because they want to be exposed or they want to meet athletes.

I was maybe two years out of school, not even. They knew I spoke Chinese or Mandarin and they’re like, “We should pair you with Yao.” I got to escort Yao Ming. He was down to Earth. I love him. He was like, “This is not my scene. Can you protect me from these people?” My job was to bring him to people, which is an awkward place to be. Overall, at least for me, I got into sport because I personally love the sport. The athletes are who I love. The game itself is what I love.

In that experience, it was clear that I’m like, “These are normal people.” You know that in your head but until you meet them and get to engage with them, you don’t get to experience that fully. He was the most normal guy. He complimented my Chinese, he was like, “Your Mandarin is better than some of my friends back home.” I was like, “Yes.” Being born in the US, I was like, “That’s the best thing I could hear.” From that point forward, I was much like, “The more I can work directly with the athletes is the dream.” That’s probably the most memorable moment.

Kimchi: Where do you compare to him standing up? 

Katherine: I was to his ribs, somewhere along that line. I’m 5’4”.

Kimchi: That’s tall too.

Katherine: He’s a kind, sweet man.

Kimchi: What was the biggest challenge that you had to face, Kevin, and have overcome in your life?

Kevin: Taking on the career of an actor has been the biggest challenge. As a kid, whenever I turned on the TV, I never saw that many Asian actors or actresses so it’s a little bit discouraging. There’s something about it that I wanted to change. Coming out here and moving out to LA and witnessing that firsthand, seeing all my other friends that are of different ethnicities and they’re actors, then getting auditions constantly throughout the week and I’m like, “My email is dry. There’s nothing in there from my agents.” Witnessing that and experiencing that and being like, “This is real.” Still having the thoughts to continue, keeping on. That’s been a great challenge.

There’s an Asian actor named Justin Chon. He was talking about how we turn on the TV and we see African-American family stories or white or Hispanic family stories and we don’t see Asian family stories. We all have stories within our families that we want to tell. He wants to take on the helm of being a writer, director and producer as well. That’s something that resonated with me and that’s something that I’m starting to do as well, I don’t want to be just an actor. I’m trying to write scripts about my family’s stories. I want to direct those stories and I want to produce other stories as well. It’s been the challenge of finding my place in the film industry.

Kimchi: Did you ever take scriptwriting because you are in that industry?

Kevin: I haven’t taken a formal class. I’ve written from the heart. I would watch films and TV shows that I identify with and resonate with and I go off of that. Some people say, “You’re a boring writer or you’re not.” I don’t believe that’s true. I feel like if you have a story to tell, then sit down, open up a Word Document and put it on paper. The story will tell itself.

Kimchi: It’s some truth in it. You can always learn the skills to write so that people will get hooked at the beginning. In the first few minutes, there’s a hook, big things. After that, the weave of the stories and the emotion and things like that, that’s also the art and the science of writing, telling the story.

Kevin: I’ve written a few shorts. I’ve always reached out to my friends, to other writers or other people asking for feedback. It’s been helpful.

Kimchi: Did you know that Disney Plus is promoting or they encourage short stories? Maybe you can start from there, a short story. Invite some friends or ask some friends to make animation movies or act them out but it’s short, like fifteen minutes that say something about the Asian family. That will be a great start.

Kevin: Yes, of course. That’s where it all starts. Our favorite writers or directors, they start with small short projects and eventually they build up the experience to do a feature-length. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m enjoying where I am in the process.

Kimchi: Start small. Spread your wings. Get more connections. That’s awesome. Katherine, what about you? What were the biggest challenges that you have faced and overcome?

Katherine: It’s competitive in this field if you want to get in. A lot of people are trying to get into the union and it’s rare to get the days. It’s all based on who you know. When you do meet somebody, it’s competitive for them too because they’re worried about you stealing their jobs. There’s a bit of a contrast with the veterans in the union and the newer people. All of them are retiring, but they’re worried about the newcomers coming in and taking their jobs away. The biggest overcome was trying to prove yourself, mainly improve yourself, your skillset and your techniques because it’s not a job or a career that you could hand your resume to because that would be a lot easier. First impressions are always important. You have to please them and show who you are and how good you are and what you can do. The biggest part was connecting to the right people and trusting the right people too. There are not a lot of people to trust in the industry.

Asian Hustlers: Throughout the experience of working directly with athletes, you realize that they’re all just normal people, and you get that in your head.

Kimchi: This filming industry, it’s hot. What about you, Pam?

Pam: At least for me, the emotional and mental has been probably way bigger than any tactical, physical challenge I’ve had to deal with and that maybe because I’m a Cancer, maybe it’s because I lean more emotionally. For me, it’s realizing how big of a block or how big of a trigger the feeling and sensation and the experience of not being alone and not being loved. I don’t mean to say that I haven’t felt loved in my life, that’s not at all what I’m saying. It’s more like my response to moments. How big of an issue that’s been for me and how that shows up and when I respond to moments where I don’t feel that way, and that shows up in friendships, in romantic relationships and working relationships. It’s not necessarily the romantic love that I’m talking about. It means being understood, being accepted, being seen and all those things and of course, being cared for.

I’m a giving all in person, but the minute I feel something has happened where it’s not being reciprocated back or I’m not getting that back, I tend to shut that relationship down or I run. That’s turned into me ending friendships. That’s turned into me probably running away from relationships that could have worked if I’d stayed and didn’t get stuck in that idea that I wasn’t being loved. Even in some work situations where I felt like I wasn’t being appreciated. What I was bringing to the table wasn’t being valued.

The biggest struggles have been identifying that and understanding that. I spent the last few years trying to make sense of that. Also, figuring out what do I need to do differently because oftentimes the thing I most wanted, which was to be loved, to be seen, to be understood, required me to not run from those situations and not act in a way that I acted when I reacted to those situations. That’s been, by far, the biggest one that I’ve made strides on in the last few years that’s changed a lot of things for me as far as how I approach other humans in my relationship, but also what I’m now able to do as a result because that’s no longer as big of a block as it used to be. It’s still a work in progress. It’s freed me up in many ways to pursue many more things because that’s now A) Unearthed and B) Dealt with or being dealt with. That’s been, by far, the biggest and best thing I’ve overcome.

Kimchi: Congratulations. That’s hard to see, the emotional and mental blind spot. It’s not clearly discrimination or something that you can see in front of you, this is something hidden, it’s your belief system. Once you’re able to see it clearly, you can deal with it.

Pam: Sometimes it’s harder to identify, for sure, because of all the things you said. When you ask that question, I had a back injury and I couldn’t walk for almost two months and I wasn’t sure how I was going to recover from it or what my physical state was going to be. I was like, “That was fine. That one wasn’t that bad.” Sometimes, once you sort through the emotional stuff and once you realize how that permeates almost every aspect of your life, your interactions every single day, you realize how the much bigger impact that is. To your point, it’s hard to uncover sometimes.

Kimchi: In the coaching industry, we know that we cannot see ourselves inside the picture. We always need somebody to shine a mirror or show us the blind spot. That’s why we work with coaches.

Pam: That’s why you and I have businesses.

Kimchi: We are here and we are leading the way because we use our experience as lessons learned and create the path. We have more concrete direction and pathway to lead other people who are walking on the same path so that they can reach there faster and sooner and less painful.

Pam: That’s why your mission is wonderful. It’s interesting hearing Kevin’s story and Katherine’s story and how we’re each pushing on in different ways. Katherine, you being in those positions at all and starting to show people that there’s someone here who’s doing it. Kevin, you’re doing the same but also starting to think about, “How can I bring more stories to life and how can I disseminate that representation broader?” Kimchi, you’re telling individual stories and then giving tools and strategies to think through some of that stuff. I love all the different angles but it’s all trying to further that mission.

Kimchi: Thank you. Kevin, what do you know now that you wish you knew five years ago?

Kevin: I’m not even sure if I know this, I’m getting the grasp of it, but it’s being patient in life. In my generation of Millennials, we want immediate results or immediate success. I’m getting to the point where I’m like, “This thing that I’m doing, it takes a while.” I’ve finally come to terms with it. Be patient is what I would tell myself, that’s the most important thing and enjoy the process throughout. My teachers would always tell me, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” If you’re not enjoying the journey, then the destination won’t mean as much when you get there.

Kimchi: The hardest lesson is being patient. Also, acceptance is hard. It took me so long. 

Kevin: Also, focusing on your path. This industry that we’re in, if we look to the left and to the right, there are actors that are milestones ahead of us or steps ahead of us. We start to look back on ourselves and we’re like, “I’m not there yet. That must mean that I’m bad.” That’s not it. Everyone is on their own path. It’s a matter of developing tunnel vision and keep focused on the path ahead of you no matter what everything is around and what is going on.

Kimchi: Katherine?

Katherine: In my first year of college, I would have wished I knew to open up to more people. I was career-driven and straight narrow path in what I wanted to do that I never got to enjoy life as a college student and being eighteen years old and celebrating what I have now because I was going to school, getting good grades and finishing the projects. Looking back, I wish that I got to celebrate and party a little bit more, hanging out with friends a little bit more and not grow up fast.

Kimchi: It happened to all of us. I hope that your message reaches out to the people who are hustling. The hustle and they don’t remember what they did. It’s blank because they go through emotion. They go through emotion and they forget what they did and be present in the moment.

Katherine: For me, I thought that was normal. I thought I had to be an adult fast. Talking to my peers, other people I studied with, what I did was not expected. It was different because I had a different mindset compared to them because of how I was raised. That influenced a lot in my college years.

Kimchi: I remember when I was young in college, I was looking forward, I wished that I graduate and have a job. I wished I’m married and have children. I wished that I retire and enjoy my life. I am that. You can see that as retired because I don’t work for anybody, I work for myself but then I said, “I wish that I’m young again.” I have the energy, I have the mind and things to do. It’s never too late to realize that sooner.

Katherine: That’s something that everyone should try to resonate with and try to do because life goes by fast. It’s something that we want to click pause on and embrace what we have now. It’s important.

Kimchi: Pam?

Pam: One thing I’d add because, Katherine, you bring up such a great point, you wouldn’t have gotten to where you are and be the youngest person in your union or guild if you hadn’t pushed in the ways that you had. Sometimes it’s also recognizing the sacrifices that you have to make to get what you want also. The more aware we are, the sacrifices while we’re making them, the more cognizant we are of where we need to then maybe plugin a little bit more. Your accomplishments are incredible. That’s something to be proud of, which I’m sure you are.

Asian Hustlers: Costume design is a very competitive industry because everybody’s trying to get into the union, but because there are so many people, it’s hard to fill the required number of days. It’s all based on who you know.

I wish I understood the distinction or that there’s a difference between learning a lesson or knowing a fact that would help you and embodying that and personifying it and incorporating it into your behavior. There are plenty of lessons that I’ve learned over and over again, by the seventh, tenth time, you’re like, “Why am I still doing this?” That happens on a small scale, it also happens on a big scale. It was in the last few years that I started to understand. A lot of help through my therapist is to understand that to embody a change and to make that behavior something that you are living on a regular basis, certainly takes practice.

I wish I knew that there was even that line to be drawn because then I would have started working on that earlier, trying to think about the things that I was learning from each good and bad experience and how to make sure that I was incorporating it into my life in a more sustainable way. Earlier on in my life, I was like, “I’ve learned that lesson, check, got it. I can move on. Lessons stored, it’s in the computer.” To make it a daily practice has been something that we’d have to make the intentional choice around.

Kimchi: Can you elaborate on that? What’s the difference between learning a lesson and knowing a fact?

Pam: I’m lumping, learning a lesson, knowing a fact into the same bucket versus embodying it in your behavior, incorporating it into your day-to-day behavior. Going on the same thing, the thing that I was saying earlier, both in friendships, probably starting high school, if I felt I was wronged in some way, I had no problem ending that friendship. I would walk away from it. I was like, “I’m good. You’re good. We don’t have to engage in this anymore. I’ll keep walking.” That’s happened a few times over in my friendships. I did that with my dad. We had a bit of a falling out and had been building for a while and I reached my point where I was like, “I’m good. We’re not going to talk.” We didn’t talk for three years. We started talking again because I was like, “It’s no longer worth it, the silence.”

What I wish I’d started to think about then is like, “Why is my response to walk away? Is there another path to addressing this?” What am I trying to accomplish by walking away, which is self-protection, which was all these other things? The lesson to me, at the time, was seemingly like, “Don’t let other people hurt you. Cut people out that are hurting you.” Instead of that, I wish I’d started to think about how that applies to then how I operate in my friendships and think about maybe instead of cutting the person out, it’s how do you mitigate or how you cut out the behavior, but maybe it’s not the person.

That’s one example, but the lesson that I’ve taken from things isn’t always than how I translate it into my behavior. I wish I had started earlier on to think about how things I’ve learned can then be more sustainably added into the way that I operate going forward. It’s not to say I should go back to those friendships, it’s to say in my future friendships, how do I address conflict? How do I handle these moments where something where I feel wronged and I want to address that? This thing with my dad, we reconciled. I’m still obviously learning this.

Kimchi: What’s your personal motto, Kevin?

Kevin: My personal motto is, “Wherever you go, go with your heart.” That’s something I’ve learned. My curiosity in acting, I want with my heart and trust that everything else will fall in line, and then it’s worked out. Moving to New York, which was probably one of them, at the time was the most troublesome and difficult process in my life, but it was something that I wanted to do so I took that leap of faith. Moving out here to LA I was questioning if I wanted to leave everything that I had built behind in New York and start over here in LA and something was like, “Do it. You have nothing to lose.” Every major decision that I’ve made in my life, I didn’t look at the logistics of it. I listened to my heart instead. I don’t regret anything that I’ve done so far. I would say that’s my motto.

Kimchi: Katherine?

Katherine: A personal motto of mine that I always follow is, “Life doesn’t get easier, but it gets better.” That’s something a personal coach and mentor of mine told me way back beginning of high school and it’s something that I always told myself. Everything I’ve struggled with, overcame with, it’s something that I always repeat in my head, “It will get better eventually. You have to push forward to find out if it does or not.”

Kimchi: Pam?

Pam: I’m going to edit mine a little bit because what I’ve set was long. The core part is chart your own path, but the parts before that which are important are facing yourself and facing a lot of the things that you both do want and don’t want to see but the more you can address your baggage early on the better off you’re down the line. You also have to know what you want, define what you want and do the work to figure out what would be fulfilling for you and then chart your own path. Kevin and Katherine, you both said elements of this which are, trying to find ways that are truly your own unadulterated path that isn’t because of pressure from the outside, that isn’t because of responsibilities that you have to fulfill but something that’s truly your own.

Kimchi: What is your proudest moment, Kevin?

Kevin: I would say it was when I shot my first feature film in Mexico. It was based on a true story and I got to speak my native language as my first role. I got to speak Vietnamese. It was touching because I had gone a couple of years of not booking anything at all and I had almost considered quitting acting. To be able to have my first role be a Vietnamese speaking character that was something I was honored and grateful for that opportunity. To be able to walk the red carpet in Sacramento and San Jose and Los Angeles for that movie, that was something that I’m probably going to remember for the rest of my life.

Kimchi: What’s the name of the movie?

Kevin: The movie is called A Clear Shot. It is going through distribution from what I hear. Those are things that are not in the actors’ control.

Kimchi: Did you have a problem or trouble speaking Vietnamese?

Kevin: Not really. When I was a kid, I juggled both English and Vietnamese. My parents would speak Vietnamese at home and then I would go to school and learn English. It was 50/50 when I was maybe about in elementary school. Once I started going to school more and started learning English more, the scales tipped more towards the English side. In high school, there was a point when I was like, “I don’t want to speak Vietnamese because people were making fun of us for it.” Once I got into college, and I got into Asian-American activism and then the history of Vietnam, I was like, “I’m proud to be Asian-American, more specifically Vietnamese-American.” I started picking up the language more. I started calling my mom more and being more connected with who I am. I still speak Vietnamese fluently. I can hold a conversation. I don’t think I had a problem with it. The script was in English. My cast members and I who played my brothers, we translated it to how we would say it to each other in Vietnamese.

Kimchi: What about you, Katherine?

Katherine: First I want to say, Kevin, that’s awesome that you got to speak Vietnamese. English is my second language. It’s definitely hard to even pursue that in acting, which is crazy. For me, my proudest moment is my parents bragging about my career with their friends. It was big because with the language barrier, it was hard explaining in Vietnamese what I wanted to do and since they don’t speak English it was hard explaining the union and school wise. After I got my first feature film, Captain Marvel, they were on board and telling their friends and my relatives about it. It was strange hearing it all in Vietnamese from them.

Kimchi: Next time you don’t need to explain to them about union because its concept is hard to explain, especially if you try to speak in Vietnamese. Tell them or take them to see a movie and say, “That character, you see the outfit? I made that.”

Katherine: That was the crazy part. When they saw the film, I’ll show them my name on the credits. That was nice for them to post on Facebook and everything. It was great.

Asian Hustlers: Start thinking about the things you’ve learned and are learning as early on as you can so you can sustainably add your leanings to the way you operate going forward.


Kimchi: Congratulations. 

Katherine: Thank you.

Kimchi: Pam?

Pam: For life overall, my proudest accomplishment is, truly, if I got hit by a bus after this recording, I’d be fine. I’ve taken the risks I wanted to take. I followed the dreams I wanted to follow. I’ve done a lot of the things that I’ve set on the “bucket list.” Not that there wouldn’t be a ton I still want to do, but I don’t feel like I’ve not done something out of fear. That overall is what I’m most proud of. In terms of moments in my work, I’ve had this happened twice, but each time I talk to a client and they’re like, “I feel much more clear and confident in what I want to do, who I want to be, where I want to go.” Hearing those words, it brings tears to my eyes at the moment when I’m talking to them. It makes me happy to hear that people are figuring out what would be fulfilling for them and what their wants are. That’s by far the most exciting thing in my life.

Kimchi: I can resonate with that. It’s the proudest moment when you have your children come to you and say, “Mom, Dad, I know what makes me feel happy and I am happy.” That’s the proudest moment that a parent can have, not their account with millions of dollars. Three things that you suggest others to do or to begin if they want to follow your footsteps, Kevin.

Kevin: I would say the first thing is to be passionate and fully commit. Pam, you’re into basketball and so am I. Allen Iverson always would say, “I left it all out on the court.” That’s something where actors can say, “I left my heart or my soul out on the stage or on the set.” Being passionate is something that’s going to get you far. The second thing is being generous. I remember Katherine talking about how competitive it is in our industry is. We don’t have a community sometimes. You don’t want to be that person that cares about themselves. You want to be that person that other people can confide and be a person that other people want to work with. The third thing is to have faith. These journeys that we’re on, sometimes the step ahead doesn’t look clear and we don’t know exactly if we’re headed in the right direction. As long as you have faith in yourself, in what you’re doing, it will all work in the end.

Kimchi: Katherine?

Katherine: Three things I would suggest people who want to get into costume is be nice. A coworker told me that they’d rather work with somebody who’s nice and do not know what they’re doing than a person who’s good but also mean. You’re stuck with them for long hours in a day. Work with somebody who is nice and fun to talk to than not. Another thing is to be sure to know what you want to do. I’ve been asked a lot like, “Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to work in costumes?” It’s hard to get into and once you’re into it, it’s a waste of time rerouting yourself and your path. Another thing is you have to passionate. You have to love what you’re doing. With the long hours or days or weeks, it’s sad complaining about your life about your work at the end of it. If you love what you’re doing, it’s not a job in the end. You have to love the job and be okay with it.

Kimchi: Pam?

Pam: The first one, for me, as much as you can to drop the notion of the right answer or the right path that there’s a target thing that you have to get to and that thing is what’s going to make you happy or fulfilled or whatever it is. Whether it’s a job and a company or a CEO or founder, whatever that title is, or whether it’s mom and, “I need to have a family and this home,” and instead, focus on the qualities of the experience that you’re looking for. It’s not to say that at some point you should clear being an actor, being a costume designer, but first and foremost, instead of starting there, start with the qualities and experience that you want. That’s one.

Second, I would say be curious. For a lot of people who may be at a young age have a clear passion that they’re interested in and pursue, you never know how that passion can evolve or change entirely or how new inputs can come in and maybe strike a new chord. Pursuing things that you’re interested in even lightly to validate whether it’s truly something you’re into or not. Along with curiosity is being open to exploring a lot of different paths and testing things. Sometimes the things we think we know in our heads until we try it, we don’t know for sure that we’re going to like it.

The last one I would say, if people are interested in specifically the sports path, you can reach out and I’m happy to talk about that. I’m focusing more on life things. The more we can address our weaknesses, our fears, the things that we’re uncomfortable looking at, the things that we’re scared to talk about, the sooner we address those things, the quicker they’re no longer blocks for us down the line. It’s not to say many successful people haven’t got far with blocking out a lot of stuff. As far as being fulfilled and living more sustainably and tapping into a lot of the human experience, the more that we can address our baggage and face it, the better off we are in the long run. Not just for us, but also for the people around us and the relationships that we have.

Kimchi: Kevin won’t sing for us. We don’t have anything that we can demonstrate for you all. How can people reach out to you?

Kevin: I am on Instagram. My tag is @IAmKevinBach. I’m also on IMDB. Those are my main two. I’m on Facebook but that’s more personal use. My Instagram is usually where I connect and talk to people the most.

Kimchi: Katherine?

Katherine: On Instagram and same with Kevin, IMDB. Although I’m a horrible Millennial, I’m not involved in social media. I have to now reach out to other people in the community.

Kimchi: Pam?

Pam: Mainly my website workwise, it’s PamYang.nyc. I’m on social but only for personal reasons. Professionally, it’s my website and then also LinkedIn, if anybody wants to find me there. I write an article a week about life and career, living more fulfilling lives in careers. If people want to sign up for that, they can do so on my website.

Kimchi: Thank you. That’s it for this episode. We hope that you enjoyed this episode. Please share with friends and family members. On social media, use the #AsianWomenOfPower. Until next time, live, life, loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

"As an actor, you constantly feel like there's much more to experience, that you're only scratching the surface."
"Your ethnicity can pose a challenge in finding your place in the film industry."
"The sensation and experience of being alone, of not being loved, can be a huge stumbling block."
"The hardest lesson to learn is patience."
"Be passionate and fully commit to whatever it is that you're doing."

About Kevin Bach

Kevin Bach is a Vietnamese-American actor. He is the son of two loving Vietnamese parents. Kevin grew up in Dallas, Texas. After high school, he became interested in acting and started taking classes in community college.

Kevin then transferred to university and moved to NYC shortly after graduating. Kevin currently resides in LA, where he is actively pursuing his acting dreams and fighting the good for diversity and representation in Hollywood.

IG: @IamKevinBachIMDb.me/KevinBach

About Pam Yang

Pam is a career coach for successful professionals to get clarity and direction on what’s next. Previously, her dream since age 8 was to work in sports. Despite her Chinese mother’s staunch opposition, she chased dream jobs and “happiness” over her 15 year career. She’s a New Yorker and outdoors lover, who lived in Montana and Oregon and has worked with brands like Nike, the NBA, ESPN.

She noticed how strategically we approach business, but not our lives/careers, and saw the opportunity to connect her strategy/marketing expertise with her mission to help people live more fulfilling lives.

About Katherine Hoang

Originally from Orange County, CA, Katherine was born in Vietnam but now resides in LA as a costumer for Film/TV in the entertainment industry. At 12 years old, she fell in love with sewing and went on to study at FIDM for degree in Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design. Her career began with an internship for a marvel movie.

That internship turned into union days for IATSE Motion Pictures Costumers Union 705. After a year and a half, she officially became a member.

People can find May on Instagram @matchmakermay, Two Asian Matchmakers in FB www.twoasianmatchmakers.com

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