Q: You were initially pre-med at NYU. A: I wanted to do pre-med. The first semester it really didn't
matter because you took a lot of general education requirements. But right
after the first semester I kind of knew I wasn't cut out for that. I had very
good grades but I somehow wasn't satisfied. Just having good grades and
having it all go to medical school didn't make me happy.
Q: What did it lack? A: I think I needed dramatic excitement. I had started doing
it since I was a kid. I needed stage, music...
Q: Does a part of you need attention, adoration? A: That wasn't a part I admitted to myself. I don't know
whether it was there. Actually, I very much avoid crowds even today.
Q: The dark side of a star's personality. A: Crowds scare me. I function much better on a more
personal level. I don't function very well on a dinner of more than ten. I
can't be myself. I don't know whether that was it. I went to California to
study drama and study film, still with the goal of going back to China. I
stayed for at least four years and then I visited China. I was a little lost. I
was very homesick. I took a risk, I went back to China and realized that I
have actually changed, that China as a whole wasn't what I imagined it to be.
And from that moment on, I'm pretty much sure maybe I'm staying in
America, but the first four or five years I wanted to go back, and I never
planned to do anything acting here, never, until I made up my mind that I
wasn't going to go back. I didn't see acting as a career until very lately
actually. I said, Don't try to say I'm going to go to law school because you're
not going to law school. Even a year ago I was talking about going to law
Q: Law school? What attracted you to law school? A: Because the lawyers I know get to meet a lot of different
people. They solve problems. As a job [it sounded] very interesting. Now I
know it's not. My bachelors is in art, so I cannot get into medical school and
more, but to have a good stable job my parents expected me to to have, the
next thing would be law school.
Q: Would they have preferred that you be a lawyer? A: I think they would have preferred it.
Q: Even now? A: I think so. I just don't lie to myself any more, that's all. All
Asian parents are into your children having a respectable, decent stable job.
Acting was unimaginable to my parents.
Q: How did you get a $2,000 annual stipend from Northridge
if you weren't going to be an actress? A: I was really studying directing, in drama and in film. I
wasn't studying acting.
Q: Didn't they give it to you because of your experience as
an actress? A: No, actually they gave it to me because I am a guest
student from China [who was] going to return. This money was from a fund
donated to the university by various Asian rich people. No, there wasn't
anything said about being an actress at all.
Q: So when you got to Northridge you had to suffer some
more my working as a waitress? A: It was okay.
Q: Wasn't it difficult for someone who was used to being
coddled? A: The work itself wasn't hard. In a way it was fun because I
had never done it before, right?
Q: Which restaurant was it? A: It's in the Valley, called Mandarin Wok, I think. There
were two, one is in Northridge and the other is close to Woodland Hills. It's
on Victory. It's a pretty big one.
Q: How were you as a waitress? A: I wasn't good enough to be a waitress. I was a receptionist
and I only took down takeouts.
Q: You never got promoted to being a waitress? A: Every day there was some mistake I made.
“Even a year ago I was talking about going to
law school. Because the lawyers I know get to meet a lot of different people.
They solve problems. As a job [it sounded] very interesting. Now I know it's not.”