Stay Tuned: Finding Strength Through the Performing Arts
My friend and I rush in, I grab the tongs left on the kitchen table, and from the open garbage can sitting in the middle of the room I pull out an ear. We shriek. Then, we go through this flow two more times, with suggestions given in between takes. This way, we ensure our team has a variety of options for the final cut. Entering a new world and creating realistic characters is half of the fun in acting, but during this week of recording a pilot television episode, I realized what makes up the other half: collaborating with talented, dedicated, and supportive fellow performing artists.
Ever since I started my performing arts career playing the piano at a very young age, I have always felt encouraged by mentors and peers to be my most authentic, creative self. Their support, combined with my gradual success in booking roles in film and television, instilled trust in myself to follow my passions. Whether they were cheering me on during stressful recitals or offering performance techniques and words of wisdom behind the scenes, my community in the arts has inspired me to exercise courage every day and make a positive impact on the world.
One recent experience of venturing out into my passion for social justice sticks out to me as a prominent example of how the performing arts have supercharged my entrepreneurship. Last year, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I witnessed educational disparities for students learning remotely. In response, I founded a national nonprofit organization, Bridging Tech, with my friend at Stanford University. Bridging Tech empowers students affected by homelessness by providing educational opportunities and technology to help them rise from poverty. By immersing myself in the performing arts early on, I developed a collection of skills that would help me lead our team daily:
I fostered empathy through forming stories and characters both in acting and musical performances.
I built up patience and resilience by persisting through failures, refining my craft, and proactively creating opportunities to find success.
I became receptive to constructive criticism and introspection by actively listening and continually taking action for personal improvement.
I discovered the critical balance between charisma and authenticity that influences leadership.
I learned how to truly practice – engaging with critical thinking skills that can be applied universally – to generate progress.
Furthermore, my mentors in the arts have shaped the most fundamental processes of how I think about the world: a mixture of optimism and realism. I now have the tools and mindset to continue to make a difference through social entrepreneurism. My performing arts adventures started years ago, and I want to help provide these transformative experiences for others.
By growing our community at Adventures in Syncopation, we will be able to advocate for increased performing arts opportunities for under-resourced students, accelerate dedicated performing-artists-turned-entrepreneurs, and help dreamers realize their potential by providing the support, skills, and encouragement needed along their journeys toward a brighter future. I hope you will join our adventures.
I now have the tools and mindset to continue to make a difference through social entrepreneurism... I want to help provide these transformative experiences for others.