I love to perform. I love to tell stories through my performances, whether it be through singing, dancing, or acting I think what sets 'The Glee Project' apart from all of those other shows. It really is a master’s class that embodies all of those elements. I mean, no other reality competition series gives you one-on-one mentoring with the industry's best, Zach Woodlee, Robert Ulrich, and Nikki Anders. Plus, I love GLEE and it's just so relevant to who I am not only as a performer, but a person, that it just made sense.
I have wanted to perform my entire life. I think it was in the spring of 2011 that I made the conscious decision to be like, “No. Screw what people have to say and think. I'm doing this.” Postponing my admission to law school was definitely one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made in my life just because I graduated with magna cum laude honors in college, did really well on my LSAT, and I knew that pursuing law would guarantee financial stability. That is something that my family and I did not have a chance at when I was growing up. Plus, I knew that this decision would break my mother's heart, but I knew that this is what I was meant to do. And whilst many people may equivocate the “American Dream” with financial security, a white picket fence and a dog named Spot, for me, the “American Dream” is being able to be a person with CHOICES. You should be able to say, “You know what? Yeah, I could make a six-figure salary as a lawyer and be okay with that, but I want to do what I love instead and be HAPPY.” Not only do I owe that to my mother and myself, but to my generation as well.
Aside from the red flame that's bursting from my hair and being the first Asian American on 'The Glee Project', I think that within the context of the show, I really am an underdog. I grew up getting bullied from elementary school through high school. I was told that I was not good enough to become a performer (and as a result, I never really pursued it as a valid option). I was teased for how I looked throughout my life. Plus, I don't think I can ever be put into a niche or contained within a box both performance-wise and personality-wise. Just when you think you have an idea, I can flip the switch and turn on another side of me.
For my online audition, I sang 'Ordinary People' by John Legend. 'Ordinary People' is an amazing record and out of the song choices that we were given, I felt as though that song best explained my heart coming into this competition. It doesn't matter where we're from, what we look like, or what we believe in. At the end of the day, we're all just ordinary people and as different as we may be, we're not all too different either. Plus, I wanted to showcase my ability to sing with soul, so hopefully I was able to accomplish that.
Auditioning for the show alongside that many people was extremely intimidating, especially since I had absolutely no music/performance training at that point. Um, hello, there were thousands of people auditioning for The Glee Project! When I was called back, I actually thought that the e-mail was a fake e-mail to which I replied, “Is this real?” So I was definitely intimidated by the sheer number of people who were auditioning for it, but because of that I'm that much more grateful for this opportunity.
Let me just say that Robert deserves a freaking Golden Globe for his performance when he called me because I literally thought that I had not made the show! It wasn’t until he told me that he would see me in Los Angeles. I was ecstatic. I was shaking (in a good way). The moment I got off the call with Robert, my sister and I just hugged and cried. I felt like I had finally gotten my chance to do what I love. All my life, people have told me that I was not good enough, that I didn't have that certain Hollywood look. Hearing that I made the cut was my chance to prove that you don’t need to be just like everyone else.
If I win 'The Glee Project', I could definitely see myself playing a tough, somewhat abrasive, sassy transfer student from New York on GLEE. My character would slowly shed each layer of 'bitchiness' at a time through the relationships that are forged at McKinley High School and being a part of the New Directions. Maybe I could be the rift that comes in between Blaine and Kurt as they try to continue on with their relationship (think Sebastian but with cooler hair). I feel as though GLEE has done the whole 'I-want-to-do-entertainment-but-my-parents-want-me-to-become-a-doctor' thing very well with Mike Chang, and while I do feel like that is a part of my story (replace 'doctor' with 'lawyer'), I feel like there is so much more that could be covered - domestic abuse, alcoholism within the family, personal identity, et cetera. And my hair too, of course.