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"I don't want to tell people what I make. It's a lot more than I ever dreamed of as a kid. I never think about it."
Q: What do you think it will take?
A: Time. Time and persistence. Just more Asian people who are interested in American culture, and want to get into the cultural side of this world rather than computers and physics and stuff like that. I think I played a good role because for the past few years I was the more visible Asian performer and I think it gave young girls a kind of role model showing it's possible to actually reach success doing movies.

Q: Do you think we will reach the point where Asian faces can appear in big-budget movies without people paying much attention to it?
A: Yeah. Black people are doing a lot better lately. They're getting a lot more better roles and they have fought for a long time. Yeah, it's very possible. And I think really America is one of the best places for a person who is not a mainstream person. Scratch--we are the mainstream. But all these racial tension around the world in Europe and Asia. In Asia people are not very accepting of other races. America has been a lot more tolerant and the law has made things possible though a lot of prejudices will not be governed by laws. It's really inside the person. I do see hope.

Q: Is this your home now? Are you an American?
A: I don't know. Physically this is my home, but I do go back to China so many times a year.

Q: What does it feel like when you go back now?
A: I feel like it is also a home. A little less probably. But I've reconciled that I will be a little different from another Chinese walking on the street because I have all these years of American experience. So I have accepted the fact that I have horns, but I still have a home there, my parents are still there, I still have my bed there, my room there. So I could go back there.

Q: Do you still send a big part of your income to family and relatives?
A: Not as much now because they're all doing much better now. Pretty soon, they'll be sending money to me. China's growing very fast.

Q: Speaking of money, you were talking about encouraging other Asian girls and boys to think of themselves as actresses and actors, and part of that is money...
A: There are many ways you can make money. Certain ways will make you happy, certain other ways will make other people happy. But if you go in because there's money in there, you're bound to fail, bound to fail! Q: How is the money if you succeed?
A: I don't want to tell people what I make. It's a lot more than I ever dreamed of as a kid. I never think about it.

Q: Is it six figures?
A: I don't want to talk about it. But it's comfortable enough. It is an extremely competitive business, partially because of the money, but mostly because all the people in it are so passionate. When you feel so strongly about something and other people feel equally strongly, you have to feel stronger about it in order to succeed. Like Joy Luck Club and many of the good movies, Reservoir Dogs, very quality movies that are done with only union rates.

Q: All the actresses in Joy Luck got union wages?
A: Yeah, yeah, because there is a certain love. This is a story they want to tell.

Q: Why aren't you in it?
A: Because I was doing Golden Gate. No, first I was doing Heaven & Earth. When I came back, they were halfway in the movie and almost the day I arrived I started to do Golden Gate which is also a love of mine for which I got union rate.

Q: Is that written and directed by David Henry Hwang? And you're the girl who falls in love with the detective?
A: Yeah. I didn't want people to think I'm not in Joy Luck Club because everybody's getting union rate. It's just not true. It's a story I love very much. I have many friends there. Amy Tan and [director] Wayne [Wang], they're all my friends. I wish I could have been in it, but I was doing other work and for an actor a lot of it is really just love. With that determination you could have made money elsewhere. It's extremely hard. You have to say, I will wither if I don't do it, I'll die if I don't do it. It has to be that big of a determination, that much of a need.

Q: The money may not be the thing that pulls people into it, but it keeps a lot of people from ever considering it, especially Asian young people. Do you make more money than, say, a successful lawyer?
A: No, you won't get it out of me. PAGE 12

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