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Persistently Consistent

I want to tell you a little story about Persistence and Consistency...

So often, people ask me what is the key to success in this industry... or what would be my best advice to give to new comers... and though there are many things I could tell you from my personal experience, persistence and consistency seems to be a common thread to everything I have to say.

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Let me start by telling you a first-hand experience: I got a voice over agent when I first started acting. I took voice over classes and private lessons and I consistently auditioned at least once a week for voice over jobs... but NEVER booked anything. Year after year I continued to practice... continued to audition... would get some callbacks, but still, no bookings. I was lucky that my agent stuck with me even though I never actually made them money (if you don't know... agents don't make money until you make money). My mom even joked saying, "Are you sure you don't want to quit yet?!" (but I'll promise you it's a joke because she never really encourages me to quit anything).

But I consistently persisted... And it wasn't until TEN YEARS LATER that I booked my FIRST voice over job! TEN YEARS! A WHOLE DECADE! Maybe I had finally put in the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell talks about. Or maybe I finally got lucky. Or maybe, I just got better... all I know is that keeping at it was the key to my success. 

Had I given up... I would've never gotten the opportunities that I have today. That one voice over job gave me confidence and then not too long after, I booked my reoccurring role as Princess Samira on Nick Jr.'s animated tv show Shimmer and Shine. And then I booked another reoccurring role on a Disney XD show that'll start airing in 2018. I got to be the voice of Lynx in the video game Dropzone. And I started getting other little voice over gigs here and there. 

That made me think about the rest of life and how persistency and consistency played a role... and I realized, those are the keys to success for many things. Because if you keep trying and you keep putting yourself out there, the only thing that CAN happen is that you get better and you will create more opportunities for yourself. One day opportunity will meet preparation and it'll be your time too. Like they say, "If there's a WILL, there's a WAY!" 


I'm going to tell you one more great story of persistence and consistency. It has to do with pullups. 

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A few years ago I only knew myself as being SKINNY FAT... basically what that means is that... as a small framed, good-genes-blessed individual, I've always been petite and small... appearing healthy and in shape just because I was skinny. But then came along my best friend Nick and he changed my whole perspective on what it meant to workout and be in shape. 

I used to go to the gym and frolic around... lifting some weights here, jogging on the treadmill for a few minutes there... I pretty much just did whatever felt fun to me in the moment and when it got too hard or wasn't fun anymore, I'd stop and go home. I worked out for the pleasure of it... which I guess sounds good... but Nick really taught me a lesson in persistence and consistence, even when things aren't fun and easy.

Through working out he basically taught me what hard work ethic meant. I was one of those kids that liked trying hard at things I was already good at, but stayed clear of doing things I could potentially fail at. I had a fear of failure and not being good enough. That played out fine for most of my life because I was naturally good at a lot of things I did as a kid. I was good at school. I was good at sports and dancing. So I succeeded easily. But that didn't help me build character within myself to overcome struggle. That's where Nick comes into the story.

When I first started working out with him I couldn't do NOT EVEN ONE pull up. I'd hang on the bar and he'd say, "PULL!" and literally nothing would happen. I felt like I was engaging all my muscles and trying as hard as I could, but I wasn't moving anywhere. He still made me try EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT. He said, "Even if you don't go anywhere, I need to you try pulling at least 5 times." So every day I'd go on the bar and practice pulling. He'd assist me through some but everyday we worked on them.

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Then one day I could do ONE all by myself!!! It was soooo exciting! It's like it just clicked and I was able to do it. Maybe enough lat engagements made me just strong enough. So I'd do all of my reps one at a time. One by one. 

Then eventually I could do TWO in a row!!! And that was even MORE exciting! From then on I'd do all my reps two at a time... and so on and so on... until I hit my personal record of 16 strict pull ups in a row all by myself. When people see me do pull ups they always comment on how most people can't do pull ups, and I usually respond by telling them that I'm not anything special or any crazy athlete, I just practiced them over and over.

So keep at it... whatever it is that you dream of doing or becoming... because some things just take persistence and consistency. The more you practice the better and stronger you get. The more you keep trying and putting yourself out there, the more connections you make of people who'd want to help you. So if you've dabbled in living your dream but it hasn't happened quite yet, just remember that every pull counts... every effort towards your goals ARE going somewhere. In the Entertainment Industry A + B rarely equals C, but you never know... because it might equal J! Plant those seeds... keep getting better. Never give up. As Nick would say, "Be persistently consistent!"

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Heathers

One of my biggest wishes in life was to get to work on a TV show where I felt like I was part of the family. Interestingly, throughout my whole 14 years of experience in the business, I've never actually gotten the opportunity to grow with a show. I've gotten to do pilots, but none got picked up, or I got to guest star on shows that were already running. But it's a whole different experience when you get to be there at the start and then live out a story over a whole season with the same group.

It was such an exciting moment when I found out that the pilot we shot last November had gotten picked up by TV Land. I literally couldn't believe it. I had done so many projects in the past and NONE of them had ever made it to TV, it seemed surreal that it was finally happening. And the crazy part... it was like the best case scenario. 

Since the show was moved from TV Land to the new Paramount Network (formerly known as Spike TV) the network gave the show creators so much freedom to do what they wanted with the show. That meant that everyone could make art the way they wanted to make art. That meant everyone was super passionate about what we were creating together. From the wardrobe stylists and set decorators getting to go all out with fun, crazy, they-probably-couldn't-do-it-anywhere-else outfits and sets, to the writers getting to write in absurd things that probably wouldn't happen on any other show, to the actors getting to showcase their random talents because the writers were actually writing FOR THEM. It was a dream come true for everyone. Not to mention, the energy on set was magical.

So many of the cast members were relatively new to the industry so there were no egos, less complaining, and a whole lot of positivity and passion to create something amazing. I literally saw no drama on this set, over the course of like 3 months. You'd think there'd be at least ONE bad apple! But we lucked out. 

My experience with this cast was so awesome. We hang out outside of set, biking down the beach path, attending improv shows, karaoking, etc. Everyone is a character of their own but it makes for a really intriguing and entertaining group.

Our show teaser premiered at the VMAs which started a nice little buzz around the show. I didn't realize what a cult following Heathers has. Like most things amazing, there's both people who are super stoked to see it, and others who are already hating on it because it's different than the original movie. If you aren't aware, Heathers was originally a movie from the 80s starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. It's a dark comedy, similar to Mean Girls, but people die. 

We just had a really cool activation at New York Comic Con. Heathers was all over the bathrooms. It was pretty sweet. I'm really looking forward to all that's to come. We are supposed to premiere on Paramount Network early 2018. I'll keep you posted!!

Check out a teaser clip of my character: 

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Iceland

No better way to show you my travel adventures than to give you a quick insight into my day. Through these quick vlogs I capture moments that stood out to me during my trip... things that made me smile, made me feel happy, things that I wanted to remember. Hope you enjoy :)


Vlogs shot through Snapchat @nikkisoohoo

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

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My Reflection in Mulan

Have you ever thought you knew how something was going to happen? Like you just saw it so vividly in your mind, your body would get the chills because just imagining it felt so right?...

I know my purpose in life is to bring light, love, and inspiration into people’s lives. I’ve made it my life’s mission to be the fire that helps people’s light burn brighter… to give them hope and the strength to fight for their dreams. I know that all I need is a strong platform and a way to reach a large audience and thankfully all my opportunities in entertainment have helped me reach so many… but I’ve been ready to take it to the next level… to really make an impact and explode my radius of inspiration to people all over the world…

I really thought I saw my path line up, but you know what they say… “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan…”

Well, casting is now searching for their lead actress to play Mulan… and of course, she MUST BE FLUENT in Mandarin. I’m not going to lie, my heart hurt and I cried a little knowing that my opportunity to play my dream role would be stunted because my 3rd generation-Chinese American-self doesn’t know how to speak Chinese… but at the end of the day, I want to say how grateful I am that this movie is even being made and how adamant they are about giving Chinese people a chance to tell our story.

Sometimes I wonder who I really am and where I fit in… when I look in the mirror I see my jet-black straight hair, and my almond eyes… I know that I was raised with the Eastern philosophy that nothing means more than “family” and my grandma was literally a picture bride set up in an arranged marriage… yet I know I’m also the girl who’s Chinese family doesn’t speak Chinese, and I’ve grown up watching Western philosophy movies teaching me that I should follow my heart and that I can do and be anything I desire. It almost feels like sometimes I’m too Asian, and then other times I’m not Asian enough. I don’t know... I’m not typical. I don’t fit the box. I’m just ME… Moments like these push me to grow and become better and all I can do is be the best me I can be and trust that what’s right for me will come along.

Until then… I’m going to keep doing what I do… I’ll never stop fighting… I’ll never stop trying… I will continue to be the “light that lit a thousand candles” and be grateful for all that God/ The Universe has given me…

Everything happens for a reason and what’s meant to be, will be…

 

p.s. If you're looking for me, you'll find me in my books... Mandarin lessons here I come ;)

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Browsing Effect movie BTS

One of the things I'm most grateful about this project was that I was cast just as A PERSON. It wasn't an Asian character who does Asian things... she was just a girl, with normal girl problems, living a normal girl life... and I was fortunate to get the opportunity to play that. It's nice to just play "a person." 

I really enjoyed my character Rachel Strauss, who happened to be Jewish, so they said I was adopted. She was flawed in such a real way and I was really able to relate to the struggles she was going through. As a millennial trying to find herself while also trying to "make" herself. She was successful and had everything she wanted in life but still didn't feel fulfilled. On the outside she looked like she had everything together, but on the inside she was a mess.

Experimenting with threesomes, and multiple Tinder dates, this girl was quite a handful. ;)

The Browsing Effect's Facebook Page

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Awaken Arts

Nothing makes my heart more warm than getting to work with the kids through Awaken Arts. 

For years I searched for a non profit that really resonated with me... one that I could give my heart and soul to and know that we were really making a difference. And then I found Awaken Arts. We teach art to at risk youth as a tool for healing and an outlet for expression. I'm now so humbly a board member and have been volunteering for this org for the past 5 years. 

It's literally life changing to get to meet and work with these kids. They have so much potential and I believe that everyone deserves a chance to live their dreams. I'm so proud of the generations of kids that have gone through the program. It makes me so happy to see how far they've gone.

Here's a few stories that have stuck with me through the years...

One of the art projects we do with them is have them draw/paint a picture representing their "past." One kid drew a big blue box with a handful of red polka dots and the #5 with his face on top. We are trained as mentors to ask them what this represents... he said "This is me playing football. I was number 5." And I said, "Was that a happy time for you?" He responded, "Yes." Then I asked him if that was his jersey and if it was polka dotted... and he said, "No, those are all the places I've been shot." I was literally stunned and speechless. He said it so matter of factly as if it was just a normal thing. That was the moment I realized that we come from such different worlds and that I probably had more to learn from these kids than they would probably learn from me.

Another story that really got me was when this kid drew a marijuana leaf, a bottle of alcohol, and a pipe looking thing. I asked him what these represented and he said that he used to be an alcoholic and party all the time and that he was addicted to cocaine before he had come to this facility. I couldn't help myself but ask where in the world he would get cocaine because I was years older than him at the time and had never even seen cocaine in my life... then he said... "Oh, I used to be a drug dealer," as if it was nothing. Even more shocked I asked him how that happened and he again, nonchalantly said, "Well my dad was a drug dealer." That's when it hit me. These kids have never had an opportunity to succeed in life. They were literally set up to fail. It wasn't fair. They deserved more than that.

All these kids at Sunburst Youth Academy, the government run facility that gets them back on track and allows Awaken Arts to do our program with their kids, all of them CHOOSE to be there. They want to turn their lives around and they want to have a better future. I really admire these kids for all they've been through and all they've fought for to have a better life. They are amazing.

If you're ever interested in learning more, go to Awaken Art's website to apply to be a mentor or to donate to the cause. It's a grassroots organization so every little bit is greatly appreciated and helps a whole lot.

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MISS 2059

Nothing is more fun than getting to be a BADASS.

Produced by New Form Digital and available on Verizon's go90 app, this sci-fi comedy is like Miss Congeniality meets Hunger Games. I play Arden Young, Earth's Ambassador who has trained all my life to fight for Earth's place in the galaxy, only to get replaced by my beauty queen sister (played by Anna Akana).

Check out the series HERE

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Tiger Lily in PETER PAN

So excited to be playing "Tiger Lily" in Pasadena Playhouse's production of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, a Pirates Christmas! Dec 9- Jan 3! Come watch!

Starring alongside: Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World), Corey Fogelmanis (Girl Meets World), Auggie Maturo (Girl Meets World), Chrissie Fit (Pitch Perfect 2), Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced), John O'Hurley (Seinfeld), and Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd).

SEE SHOW DATES/ TIMES HERE

p.s. I get cast discounted tickets for my friends and family! Email me if you want ticket reservations for 20% OFF! Just note in the message how many tickets and the specific date and time of the performance you'd like to attend. 

nikkisoohoo@me.com

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Learning to FLY

I recently started hanging out with some amazingly talented calisthenic friends who started teaching me super cool tricks. I love the calisthenic community. Everyone is so nice and welcoming. It feels like a family that just wants to help you learn and grow and have fun with them. I'm so grateful to have been introduced into this world of awesomeness and I can't wait to show you all the cool new tricks I learn! :) 

Follow my Instagram to see what I'm up to!

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Hear My Voice!

   

 

 

I'm so excited to get to be the voice of PRINCESS SAMIRA on Nick Jr.'s new adorable show SHIMMER AND SHINE. This preschool show follows the magical adventures of maternal twin genies who unintentionally create chaos while attempting to grant wishes for their human best friend, Leah. The new series features an emotional-intelligence curriculum that highlights mistakes as an important avenue to learning and doing better next time.

My character is the PRINCESS whom is the most powerful of all the genies in Genie World. She is the keeper of all the gems, and radiates kindness, generosity and sincerity. My role doesn't get introduced until Season 2 so my episodes won't come out until 2016, but check it out and watch some episodes! You can find it online HERE and later this year it'll premiere on TV.

 

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Romeo and Juliet

Your Romeo (played by Ramone DeOcampo) and Juliet (played by ME! hehe)

I believe that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON... and though I also believe that you have the power to create the life you want to live, there are just SOME unexplainable things that seem to happen that are blessings in disguise... opportunities you never even thought you wanted... experiences that are given to you without asking for them... this Romeo and Juliet journey was one of those...

It's kind of crazy how it all happened. I never had an interest in theater before, let alone Shakespeare. Since I had grown up doing film and tv work, I always felt like theater was a very different world and something I wouldn't really like. 

Well it just so happened, that I found myself in the right place at the right time to get this opportunity to play JULIET in Shakespeare Orange County's production of ROMEO and JULIET this summer. I had gone back to my alma mater Orange County School of the Arts to teach a master class, a new program set up through the alumni association. Although I had been a commercial dance major while I was in school there, since I was a professional actor, they asked that I speak to the ACTING conservatory which happened to be headed by Mr. John Walcutt. Not having really having much of a chance to get to know me first, John asked if I'd be interested in auditioning for SOC's production. I told him straight up that I didn't do theater nor Shakespeare. He told me just think about it over the holiday break and we'd touch base again in the new year.

The new year rolled around and he asked if I was still interested. I said I really didn't have any experience in this field. He told me he'd work with me and see how I felt about it after. So I show up on the first day at this beautiful amphitheater in Garden Grove and just think to myself, "Man! How did I get myself into this!" I couldn't understand a line I was saying and when I asked how they mic the set, I was definitely shocked to hear that we weren't going to have mics we'd just have to project our voice over the 400 seat theater. 

John set me up with the co-creative director of the production, Mike Peebler, who so graciously gave me a Shakespeare 101 lesson. I learned that if I did the work to breakdown and understand Shakespeare's text, the words would do the work for me. So that's exactly what I did. It was actually really comforting to know that if I worked hard, I would succeed. So that's exactly what I did. And when I came back to that amphitheater stage a couple weeks later to audition for John again, I must've pulled it off just enough so that he believed in me.

I was so honored to be giving this role of Juliet. I never in a million years thought I'd be here. But this is probably one of the greatest acting opportunities I've ever had. I've learned so much from so many different mentors on the company and at the theater and I've gotten to express myself in a way I've never felt while acting on screen. I've fallen in love with the beauty of Shakespeare's words and have grown so attached to my new theater family. I am so grateful for this opportunity and hope that I will get to experience many more like this. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for teaching me. I am truly grateful.

Find tickets and show dates at: http://shakespeareoc.org/2015-season/2015-romeo-and-juliet/#Box%20Office

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Tag.

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Tag.

Last year I started a passion project called TAG. to start a movement of spreading positivity and kindness around the world. I realized that doing something such as a simple act of kindness towards someone could create this ripple effect of positivity and happiness. When one person did something nice for someone that person was more likely to do something nice for someone else. That could continue on and on and end up sending a massive wave of love, positivity, and kindness into the world. 

I starting making these bracelets so that I could give them away to people as MY simple act of kindness. It was just a small gesture that could put a smile on someone's face, and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed sharing something of mine with someone else who'd appreciate it. I loved giving them a little memory of the friendship we created or had, and that moment we shared together. 

The special thing about these bracelets is that they are all engraved with a unique hashtag so that people can find each other on social media if they want to stay connected. These bracelets are basically friendship bracelets with a modern twist helping people connect with other amazing people in the world.

Check out the movement on our Website: www.passthetag.com

Or on Twitter: @passthetag

Or on Instagram: @passthetag

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BRING THE FUN!

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BRING THE FUN!

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My best friend, Rachel Brooke Smith, and I have started a project called BRING THE FUN where we provide videos, podcasts, and other online material to help people manage stress, raise their personal esteem, and live happy, healthy lives by inspiring all to discover the power of FUN! 

Check out our website: www.letsbringthefun.com

We also speak at schools, to organizations, or private events. For Business Inquiries:

CONTACT US: info@letsbringthefun.com

FOLLOW US: Instagram @bringthefun Twitter @bringthefun

 

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