Interviews

Interview with Alice Ko

Hong Kong-born American actress Alice Ko is known for her subtle dramatic roles in independent films. She has starred in festival darlings that have screened at the New Orleans Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, RiverRun International Film Festival, and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival among others. Her short film, “The Shuttle”, is part of Cannes Court Metrage 2018.

1. For the people who might not know you, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Alice Ko and I am an actor, singer, and producer.

2. How did you discover your passion for acting?

I discovered my passion for acting through singing in operas. When I was still working as an operations manager in the tech industry, I was singing in community choirs and operas. One day, I was on stage performing and noticed there seemed to be a disconnect between those of us singing in the chorus and those singing in the foreground and I became curious. I wanted to know what I can do to make the story more congruent and began studying acting. Eventually, my curiosity turned into a passion for acting and storytelling.

3. What do you love most about being an actress?

I love the people I meet on the job and I love helping them bring their unique stories to life! There are so many different cultures in the world that I want to learn more about. By exploring their stories through acting, I actually become a more empathetic person. Ultimately, I would like to be able to use my craft to bring more understanding and empathy into the world.

4. Are you working on any current projects and, if so, can you disclose anything?

Currently, I am in post-production for an indie short film that I produced and had a cameo in. The film is called “The Man with a Pillow for a Face” written and directed by my longtime collaborator Carlos Graña. The story is quite unique, as well as its creative filming method. Thanks to our extraordinary team, we were able to track a single shot 12-minute take through six locations for a story that unfolds over a year. We are looking forward to finishing this film and bringing it to audiences around the world.

5. What are some common misconceptions about your job?

The most common misconception about being an actor is that it’s all glitz and glamour. While there is a certain degree of poshness with red carpets and after parties, most actors I know are ordinary people. We work 10-12 hour days while on-set and when we are not working on a project, we go to class, read, write, and spend time with family and friends.

6. What would be your dream role?

My dream role changes as my own life experience changes. Currently, I would love to act in a comedic television series. I have had the pleasure of portraying some well developed, strong female characters in my dramatic work so far. I would love to be able to explore similar characters in a comedic setting.

7. What advice would you give to young, aspiring actors?

I would say find a good community of peers for support and study your craft. Always be curious about the world around you and learning from those experiences.

8. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

I would say, taking the leap from my safe tech job into the world of performing has been my biggest accomplishment so far.

9. Who did you love working with on a project and why?

I loved working with Patty Jenkins. Patty has a calming energy about her and she knows exactly what to say to the actors to get the best performance out of them. Working with her actually inspired me to move to Los Angeles.

10. Who are some of your favorite actors and why?

This one is hard because there are so many great actors out there! I really enjoy watching Carey Mulligan on screen. She has this quiet strength about her in portraying her characters. I also love Gong Li and Sylvia Chang for the same reasons. I will watch anything Morgan Freeman and Sir Anthony Hopkins are in because they are just brilliant!

11. What are some causes that you hope to bring more awareness to in the future?

One of the causes that I have been supporting for years is Breast Cancer Awareness. My mother is a breast cancer survivor so that cause has always been close to my heart. In 2015, Hollywood casting director Jessica Sherman started a non-profit, A Cause for Entertainment, to bring awareness and raise funds to support the fight against breast cancer and I have been a participant in their yearly fundraising event ever since.

12. What is one philosophy that you live by?

Always trust your gut. Don’t let other people’s opinions and judgments drown out your own voice. You are innately wise!

13. What do you have in mind for the future?

I hope to continue to breathe life into characters that are complex and nuanced and help others understand their plight in a way that is approachable. Hopefully, I can do that for a very long time.

Thank you so much to Alice for the wonderful interview. You can find more about her and her work on:

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