Teen shows seem to offer richer opportunities for young Asian American actors these days. But what’s it like actually being “that Asian on that show”? We find out from actresses Ashley Argota, Jolene Purdy and Nikki Soohoo.
ISSUE: Spring 2011
STORY: Janice Jann
PHOTOS: Audrey Cho
Teen shows seem to offer richer opportunities for young Asian American actors these days. But what’s it like actually being “that Asian on that show”? We find out from actresses Ashley Argota (True Jackson, VP), Jolene Purdy (Gigantic) and Nikki Soohoo (The Lovely Bones) in our teen roundtable.
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We were fortunate enough to hold Audrey Magazine‘s spring feature roundtable discussion at the most awesome venue: The Royal/T Cafe, Store, Open Artspace in Culver City, Calif. Actresses Ashley Argota, Nikki Soohoo and Jolene Purdy chatted with us about what it’s like being Asian American teen actresses in Hollywood amidst delicious food and drinks served in the eatery.
Audrey’s been gearing up for a sweet Spring issue with the lovely Olivia Munn gracing our cover and a special tween/teen TV feature story.
It sure seems like Asian American tweens/teens are all over Hollywood these days! We can’t wait for the kick-butt Supah Ninjas (starring half-Japanese cutie newcomer Ryan Potter and George Takei) to air on Nickelodeon in Spring.
And another Nickelodeon star True Jackson VP’s Ashley Argota is celebrating her 18th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 29! The bday party will be held at the W Hotel in Hollywood and the guest list is a who’s who in teen programming, from iCarly cuties to Victorious VIPs.
Wish you can be there? Now you can! Audrey Magazine is sending a guest jr. reporter to work the red carpet for this party and it could be you! Here are deets for our first-ever Guest Jr. Reporter Competition:
1) Contestants must be between the ages of 15-20 and have a responsible ride to Hollywood, California on Jan. 29.
2) Upload on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/audreymagazine) a 15-20 second video of yourself explaining why you would make a great guest Jr. Reporter for Audrey. Audrey Magazine staff will choose the winning entry.
3) Contest ends Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6pm PST. Winner will be announced Friday morning.
4) If for some reason, you can’t make it to Ashley’s Birthday, we will forfeit your title and give it to the next best video entry.
Audrey Magazine reserves all rights to cancel or forfeit this contest at any given time.
Looking forward to checking out all the entries. Good luck!
Ashley Argota, 17-year-old actress/singer and current cast member of the Nickelodeon hit show True Jackson, VP (she plays the title character’s best friend and secretary, Lulu Johnson), is aware of the fact that not many Asian Americans are fortunate enough to make it big in show business so she does not take her career for granted.
“It means a lot to me to be part of True Jackson,” says Argota. “There aren’t many Asian American girls out there who are famous so to be part of that small group is an honor.”
Argota, who is Filipina American, grew up in Redlands, Calif. “I lived about an hour and half outside of Los Angeles and it was great because we lived in a quiet neighborhood so I didn’t get any of that L.A. craziness,” says Argota with a laugh. “I grew up having nice family dinners with home-cooked food. My dad was a truck driver so he couldn’t always be home, but when he was we always sat down to eat dinner together.”
Despite being part of a tremendously popular show (True Jackson, VP is now in its second season) and having her comedic talents be compared to that of Lucille Ball, Argota has managed to stay humble and levelheaded. She will be attending New York University in the fall to take up nursing. “I’m going to be just like my mommy!” says Argota. “I wanted to go into College of Nursing instead of Performing Arts because I want to do something outside of acting. I’ve been acting for a really long time and that will always be my first career choice. But in case that doesn’t work out in the long run, I want to have something to fall back on.”
Argota, who seems to be a jack-of-all-trades, is also quite the musician and singer. She began taking vocal lessons at the age of 5 and also plays the piano. She has also begun learning how to play the guitar. Her debut CD, Ashley (2008), on New Revolution Records is currently available on iTunes and her song “CD Baby” has received rave reviews. “I’m not signed to a label right now, but I am looking to be signed to a record label soon and hopefully I’ll put out another album soon.”
Argota encourages Asian Americans who hope to make it in television, film or music to never give up. “True Jackson was supposed to be my last audition ever because I had faced so much disappointment. It was always little things as to why I didn’t get roles,” Argota shares. “I was told ‘You’re too short’ and other little things like that, but you just can’t let it get to you and keep you from doing what you really want to do. Just follow your dreams.”