The Newness

CW Irene P 472

Irene Park

More than an 8×10

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On repeat – hit play

Oh my goodness, it’s 2015^!

The most joyful moment this holiday season surprised me. It happened so quickly and nonchalantly but I know it’ll somehow sustain me. With the end of the year push to reach out to managers and agents the first 2 weeks of December then an exhausting survival job schedule for the last two weeks of the year, I hurriedly tried to knock out my gift list at the least happiest place on earth for me: the mall. Tsk, tsk, I was wrapping presents Christmas morning before heading to my cousin’s house to join the rest of my family. After a sumptuous brunch (yes, the rest of the family eats like me), we started piling presents in front of each other. I cringed as I placed my gift at my uncle’s feet. Oy, my terrible attempt to wrap – okay, so I basically took off the price and left the gift in the bag I received with purchase. Before everyone had even finished their piles, my Uncle pointed to the bag and then himself: For me? I nodded sheepishly and without missing a beat he grabbed his present out of the bag like he was seven. His entire face lit up and he immediately put on the jacket I bought him. It fit. He zipped it up, stuck his hands in his pockets, and beamed at me. He strutted around a bit in it. In that moment, I wished I had spent more money & thought on that jacket. He motioned for a hug, which I leapt in for. He kept that jacket on that entire day.


That’s me in purple crawling toward my uncle, who was taking the picture. haha, I was such a wild little thing!

He’s always been a second father to me…My parents were busy running their booming business and raising my sister so I got sent to live with aunt & uncle when I was very young. When I was little, I remember waking up to him kissing my toes & feet while greeting me with silly songs and praises. I remember how his voice changed when he spoke to me. This man’s man reduced to putty and coos. He’s far from perfect. Chauvinistic and hot tempered at times. Then there’s that fortune he lost & never recovered due to a bad investment in Africa, which the ‘adults’ in my family refuse to discuss. (Diamonds? Or perhaps an irresistible proposition from a Nigerian prince that requires a mere wire transfer?) But he seemed to reserve his best self for me. I remember how special he made me feel.

This Christmas, he did not utter a single word but I knew how much that simple gift meant to him. It made me think of something I haven’t thought of ever: the last time I had heard his voice—over 10 years ago. I was at PENN when we got word he had throat cancer. This infallible Renaissance man decided to give up his voice in exchanged for more years at life. That year, I remember seriously contemplating leaving school to be with him in LA. But the rest of my family urged me to stay in school. That I would best serve the family by finishing that Ivy League education that made them so proud. I’m still not sure that was the right choice, but he faces his far more difficult choice: relinquishing his voice over a potentially ineffective treatment. What if… This charismatic man who would dominate any room or person with his wit was silenced.

It makes me think of all the ways I have to express my voice: acting, singing, writing, etc. Such a privilege. Maybe that’s why I hold so sacred the authenticity & expression of my voice. The unique responsibility and honor I get in giving a voice to so many lives through acting. Maybe I’ll finally write that song I’ve been meaning to this year^^…Maybe it’s why I don’t hold back when I could serve the person in front of me with love and kindness. I’m not sure I believe in my significance in this world but I do believe in my impact. Mean what you say, say what you mean, and, for the love of God, just do it.Sometimes the things we want to give don’t feel worthy of receipt, or we don’t feel ready to give just yet. But what if I had withheld that gift because of what it had meant to me? My uncle felt loved—heard—by a simple gesture that wasn’t planned, or remotely good enough. What small actions will do. How did you use your voice? How will you use yours? What will you give?

I am not the hero of this story. I haven’t reached my destination, yet I am grateful to have enjoyed my journey thus far. All the opportunities I’ve had the great privilege of gaining was never because I was prettier, faster, smarter, wealthier, or even more talented. Preparation is familiar but readiness? Still foreign. I got them because I chose to step up—risked being first up. With risk comes fear, certainly. Fear keeps great company with pain & disappointment. So go all in, and go in with love. From the authentic space that’s the real you because then all you’re doing is loving, learning, living. The realness may never truly be ready, but it’s more than good enough.

Hey, you’re up.

tdaygames 2014

If it is a holiday, my family is sure to be playing some board games. It gets very serious, very quickly.

What a Difference a Year Makes!

What I loved^^^ in 2014:

I made a dent on gender imbalance in the Entertainment industry by launching & hosting the iWe Summit with industry giants such as Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), Neal Dodson (A Most Violent Year), Heather Rae (Frozen River), Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), et al.
I started meditating & reached new levels of (self-)awareness
I bet/invested on/in myself OVER & OVER again
I let go of toxic relationships, nurtured my true ‘tribe’, & let new people in my life
I choose to be single for the first time in 12 years – It’s AMAZING
I moved out on my own for the first time in LA – It’s AMAZING
I changed my relationship with money
I finally dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween
I finished Fountainhead in October
I booked my first guest star role on TV then direct booked again with the same show…TWICE
*I consulted on an HBO set for a part I originally auditioned for but did not book
I co-wrote my first TV pilot script as the Head of Development of a new company
I co-wrote my first Web series pilot script
I hit every high note at the Christmas Eve service
I wrote for my friend’s new series, Love & Other Stuff
I traveled to Tokyo for the first time since I was four!
I saved a lot in car insurance in less than 10 minutes!
I booked a play for a role (below) I’m honored to bring to life and with a prestigious theatre company I’ve been itching to work with! It’ll premiere Spring 2015!

What did you love about 2014?

190 SACweb

Susan Ahn Cuddy: 1st Asian WAVE, 1st Woman US Navy Gunnery Officer, 1st Asian Woman in Naval Intelligence, & 1st Asian Woman National Security Agency Code Breaker and Section Chief

^No doubt, I will continue to write 2014 until about February. I will probably say “Happy New Year” until about late February to early March. 😛
^^Once upon a time, I was in ‘talks’ with the producers of musical gems by the likes of Miley Cyrus and Rebecca Black. Ha, that’s a fun story for another day!
^^^Joe & Hillary forever changed my perspective on auditioning by introducing this habit of asking what I loved about every audition (and Wendy about every scene/performance)! It forced me to view my work with the kindness and space I give to others. Not only did it make me love auditions, book rooms & roles, but it made me more open to my personal & professional feedback. While many lessons were also learned, I’m going to focus on what I loved.

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