As we move into Women’s History Month in March, I want to celebrate Everyday Sabbatical’s mission to empower women by focusing on some inspiring, successful women I’ve been lucky to meet and learn from. Just like Everyday Sabbatical, these women are diverse and goal-oriented. I hope that as you read through these interviews, you find a kernel of inspiration that you can take into your own life.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Emily Kuroda, a talented actress you probably recognize from Gilmore Girls and numerous other roles on stage and screen - like this week’s All Rise! I got to chat with her recently and she shared some beautiful thoughts on what’s important in life.
Mini: Hi Emily – thanks for taking some time to chat with me! Before I forget to ask … What was your initial impression of Everyday Sabbatical?
Emily: It's the most comfortable clothes I have EVER worn! I love comfortable!
Mini: What do you think of the clothes? What do you like/love about them?
Emily: This is an investment you should make. Very European in a way. Excellent quality and style that will last for years.
Mini: How are you wearing them? How do you style them?
Emily: During this pandemic, I wear them at home and to the store. When the world opens up again, I am looking forward to wearing it to auditions.
Mini: I would love that! And now that we've taken care of "business", let's talk about you. You've had such a long career in acting and played many different roles. Do you have a favorite character from that time?
Emily: I think Mrs. Kim from the Gilmore Girls is my favorite. Twenty years later, I hear "Mrs. Kim!" from across the room and it makes me smile!
Mini: Does Mrs. Kim have a first name?
Emily: No :)
Mini: I know on Gilmore Girls, you and Keiko Agena, who played your daughter Lane, are both Japanese-American. What you can you tell us about why Mrs. Kim and Lane were portrayed as Korean-American instead?
Emily: The show’s producer, Helen Pai, is Korean, and this is her story. Her mom was my Korean advisor and helped me with the Korean lines I had to say.
Mini: Oh, how interesting! In your observations, how has Hollywood changed in its portrayal of Asian characters and culture? Did you think it would change slower or faster than what you experienced?
Emily: There are many more opportunities for Asian-American actors, although we are still often the quirky sidekick, the geek, or other characters that lack depth. It’s changing slowly, with actors like Sandra Oh and John Cho. I think our community criticizes our own instead of celebrating. We are often putting out a call to boycott Asian-American movies like Mulan instead of applauding the producers. A lot of my friends did great work in Mulan, and it pissed me off that we couldn’t support them 100 percent. I think we may be a part of our own problem.
Mini: Thanks so much for sharing that perspective. You obviously have a lot to say, but I know you’ve told me that you tend to be a shy person. That’s fascinating to me because you're an actor and performer. How does that work? Does the shyness go away when you become a character?
Emily: When I become a character, I can fly! It’s such a rush. I always meet a character with a blank page, and then through exploration. That’s when the painting comes out. It’s a lot like life. I never did what I "should" do. (I once turned down a sitcom because I promised my friend that I would do an important reading for her.) I have taken many small jobs working with people I know because it made me happy. I think it’s really important to follow your heart and not let your head and society get in the way. Breathe. Celebrate nature. The answer is there!
Mini: That’s so cool. Very inspiring! I want to wrap things up on a light note. Can you tell us what shows you’re currently binging during Covid? What's your favorite TV show of all time?
Emily: Of course, I love Gilmore Girls because that was eight wonderful years of my life. Now, I like Pen15, All Rise (I just shot an episode today), and my favorite, the Great British Baking Show!