Exclusive Interview With OTSM's Actress, Writer and Producer Of The Month -Amy Shi.

by - 16:57:00

Born in southern China, Amy dreamt to be a scientist at a young age but through her talent, she shined on stage. She realized her passion for storytelling after moving to Chicago, where she started training at the Second City Training Center and numerous other acting schools. Soon she signed with a major agency in Chicago, and she was cast in theater shows such as "Autumn Moon", and TV/Film projects including "Shameless". Amy relocated to Los Angeles in 2016 and continued her stage work in the play "Wonder Women." Her film work includes "Samurai Cop 2", "Tales of Frankenstein," the award-winning film "Whisper," "Zalla", "And Deep Feelings", to name a few. She received the Best Lead Actress Award at the 2017 Canada Golden Maple Film Festival for her portrayal of scientist Dianna in "Whisper". 
After studying with various acting teachers in LA, Amy auditioned and entered the professional program for Acting on Camera at UCLA School of Theater Film and Television. She graduated from UCLA in June 2020. Shortly after graduation, Amy started her study of the Korean language and culture in South Korea, with the goal of creating multicultural entertainment projects.
Via- IMDb Mini Biography
Image Copyright ©Amy Shi. Location|Studio Kama Seoul.
Hi Amy, Please fully tell us about yourself and your personal background.
I was born in a small village in southern China. In my first few years of life, I was chasing butterflies in green fields full of pretty wildflowers and picking wild berries and mushrooms in the forests filled with birds singing. Those early memories have left me with lasting impressions of just how beautiful and harmonious life can be, and taught me to appreciate even little things. My grandma raised me till school age when I moved to the big city to live with my parents. She was so kind-hearted that she was well respected by everyone near and far. I consider her my first teacher in life and she influenced me to be who I am today, pure-hearted, down-to-earth, and hardworking. At an early age, I had already been thinking of ways to contribute and give back to the world. I thought of becoming a scientist. I studied very hard and had always been the number one student in the entire school: at the time one grade would have well over 600 students.
However, my family didn’t support that because I’m a girl, and “A girl should just learn how to be a good wife and get married and raise a good family.” It sounds crazy nowadays but that’s just how outdated my family’s concept was at the time. The rebel within me told me not to listen to all that and I had my plan. Eventually, I left China and moved to the US. I didn’t tell my parents until after I bought the one-way ticket. I landed in the US with just two suitcases but to me, that was a big achievement. I was finally able to be myself and follow my dreams.
Image Copyright ©Amy Shi. Location|Studio Kama Seoul.
When did you realize you had a passion to become an Actress and how did you do it?
I found my real passion and talent in acting while I was studying in Chicago. I realized the power of storytelling and how it creates changes. I was overjoyed when I got into the community of artists by studying in various acting schools, first in Chicago, then in LA. I thought to myself I finally find my dream job as an actor. So now 12 years later I’m still pursuing it. 
I am so proud of you for chasing your dreams. What is the most rewarding part of your work?
To be able to study humanity on the deepest level, to be able to understand myself better, and have the ability to play characters sometimes far away from my normal life, these are the things that excite me. Basically just living a life full of excitement is the most rewarding part of my work.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
Not a specific type but I like the roles that are very complex. It is more challenging and requires more homework to play these roles, but it is also the most rewarding. 
Image Copyright ©Amy Shi. Location|Studio Kama Seoul.
You won the best Lead Actress Award at the 2017 Canada Golden Maple Film Festival for your role as the scientist Dianna in Whisper, how did it feel to be a part of that project? 
The director approached me almost a year before the filming with a script. I’m a big sci-fi fan and the film is not just about sci-fi but also a love story. It explores humanity and love. So I said yes to playing the lead role of Diana who happens to be a scientist (^^ Remember my childhood dream?). During the filming, I enjoyed working with a group of very talented and hardworking young filmmakers. And then things got even better when the film was received so well and won me a Best Lead Actress award. It was like dream come true on top of dream come true. In my acceptance speech, I dedicated my winning to all the girls who grew up less privileged and sent a message for them to believe in themselves. That was the cherry on top. BTW, you can watch Whisper on Amazon Prime for free in both US and UK.
What are some of your latest and Upcoming projects?
Currently, I’m working on a few projects that had been stalled by the pandemic, including a feature film, and a TV show. During the pandemic, I also spent time in South Korea and have been working on a new social networking platform designed for fans all over the world. The App is called FANTOO and currently has close to 6 million users worldwide. 
Do you remember your first experience as an Actress in font the Camera?
Yes haha. My first experience as an actress in front of the camera was actually my first big break. I was cast as Sue in Shameless and was acting alongside Justin Chatwin. I was so nervous, but he made me feel calm and gave me confidence. 
How big a role does Acting play in your life?
Acting is not just a profession but it is the oxygen I need to breathe in, so I spend most of my time and resources on it. However family is important to me as well. I do set clear boundaries between the two, and try my best to balance them.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In 5 years I see myself flying frequently between the US and South Korea, working on big projects on both sides of the Pacific ocean.
Image Copyright ©Amy Shi. Location|Studio Kama Seoul.
What is the most embarrassing or unexpected thing that has happened to you when filming a scene?
The most embarrassing thing that happened to me was during the filming of The Tales of Frankenstein. It was a dream sequence, two actresses and I had to wear this coconut shell bra. I wasn’t used to it, not to mention dancing in it, awkward.
What has been your favorite shoot to date?
My favorite shoot to date has to be the filming of Zalla. It was the first film ever I produced from writing a script to monitoring post-production. The setting is the desert mountains of Malibu, and we created our sets on the site of the closed Malibu Golf Club.  That was a fun experience. Sadly the site was burnt down by a historical wildfire a year later. So the film might have been the last place you could see the place before the fire. The production was like a baby to me, and I was so pumped for all 6 months, then after wrapping up the filming, I went back home and dropped onto my bed, feeling the deepest emptiness. That was interesting. 
What’s the best lesson you have learned from a co-star?
It would have to be the lesson I learned from my co-star Justin Chatwin. He taught me how to be chill when filming and just let the homework I had done show. This was echoed by many of my acting teachers as well. You do the best homework and forget about it, and just live from moment to moment on the set.
What do you think is most important in this field?
Acting as a profession is not as easy as people think for example the popular saying: "you just have to look pretty for the camera". You have to be the best of the best in the craft itself in order to get work. You have to be strong-minded, to navigate all the rejections you would face. And you have to always stay in the game, either by actively working or by taking the training.
Which characters and actors were you obsessing over when you first started out in the industry?
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games. Totally badass and strong female character.
What Would You Consider the Most Important Components of Your Style? And Do You Feel You Have A Signature Style?
My fashion style is Audrey Hepburn, simple and elegant. That is also the motto of my lifestyle. 
What, Who or where do you draw your inspiration from?
My life experience, my grandma, and other people in my life are the sources of my inspiration. I also love reading and traveling whenever I can find the time.
You are also a very proactive person, you are into modeling which led you to win Miss LA the 11th, Miss Corporate America, and more, did you always want to go into modeling?
As a young girl, I loved beauty and fashion and imagined myself as a beauty queen in an alternate universe. But I never had the confidence to enter one till the opportunity of competing in the 11th Miss Corporate America and winning Miss LA. That’s just another example of how one should believe in herself. Throughout childhood, I was singing and dancing a lot and that's what led to me being spotted by talent scouts on the streets of China but I never thought of getting into modeling.
Amy Shi On Set Of The Movie Whisper.Image Copyright ©Whisper.
Nowadays with the abundance of streaming services, the smaller screen has started to considerably gain more acclaim than film. What do you love about TV?
One thing I love about TV shows is that it is a shorter format and easier to watch on a mobile phone, while movies are more serious art and better enjoyed in theaters with the best screens and sound systems. Another thing I like about TV shows is that they can be closer to real life than movies. It is a great window to look through if you’d like to get to know other cultures.
Aside from acting, what’s on your mind these days? Could you provide us with some more insight into the other endeavors you are passionate about? 
FANTOO, the app that connects fans around the world. I’m passionate about it because of the value it brings to the fandom world. It is the new generation of social networking and content creation for fans, starting with Korean Culture fans. On the app fans can socialize in communities, build clubs, create and monetize their own content regardless if they are influencers or just starting out, fans can also shop and trade the hottest fandom items on the app. We just wrapped up a series of events at KCON LA 2022. It felt so good to be among those enthusiastic fans, both young and old. You can’t resist the affection of that passion, that energy, that power of fans. And I’m so happy to be able to provide a safe space for them to express and explore.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
There is this stigma of being an actress or performer in certain cultures, including the culture I grew up with. So if I could go back in time, I would tell that teen girl to say “yes” when a talent scout approached her on the street of Changsha (the city where I grew up).
Image Copyright ©Amy Shi. Location|Studio Kama Seoul.
This is my favorite question: In your own words, please define "Women Empowerment" and what it means to you personally.
“To believe in oneself, to inspire each other and help each other”.  To me, my whole life is about defying the old world’s concept of what women should be and should do. So “Women Empowerment” means so personal to me that it is part of my life, as well as it is a life mission. 
What’s your beauty regime? Would you like to share some of your best beauty secrets?
I’m a big believer in eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least 3 times a week and drink a lot of water. For skincare, I keep it to the basics: cleansing plus moisturizing plus sunscreen during the day, and night cream at night. South Korea has really good skincare products as well as clinics that can take care of skin problems. So once or twice a month I would go to see my skin doctor get deep cleansing and professional skincare. Last two years I started to use less makeup. I feel free, more authentic, and prettier without the mask of makeup. Nowadays with all the modern technologies designed to make everyone look perfect in appearance, it is more important than ever to let your inner beauty shine through, your personality, your confidence, your health, a wealth of knowledge, and a heart of gold should always come first.
What have been the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career so far and in your opinion, what are the main challenges in the Movie industry today?
The greatest challenges I’ve faced in my career so far are also the main challenges in the movie industry: diversification. We have come a long way in developing films and TV shows to represent the actual very colorful world, however, there is still a lot of work to be done to bring these projects to the mainstream audience. So as a filmmaker, that is my goal and main focus.
Luck or Hard Work, what do you think weighs more in defining a successful Person?
I think hard work comes first. The opportunity shows up to the people who are well-prepared. Success may seem like luck but really it is the hard work getting paid off. And always be kind - I think that is essential to define a successful person. My grandma lived a successful and meaningful life because she was loved and is still remembered by many people.
I am absolutely in love with your views and mindset Amy. So tell us, what is your all-time favorite movie and why?
My all-time favorite movie is the Lion King. It was the first English movie I ever owned on a DVD. My dad bought it for my birthday because I was a big Disney fan and I was studying English. I can still sing the songs in it.
And Lastly, What advice would you give to aspiring actors and actresses out there?
If acting is your passion and dream, don’t give up just because it’s hard and full of ups and downs. And have a life outside of acting too. That will actually help you go far in pursuing a career in acting.
Where to find Amy Shi:

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