Who is Ivan Leung? What is your journey?
Ivan Leung is me. I am Ivan Leung. As far as my journey goes, I started my journey as a dancer. I was really depressed when I was in school, and I was searching for an outlet. Dance came into my life, and it really gave me an invigorating release. I think finding that outlet made me search for different types of freedoms, and acting naturally fell into place.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I don’t think I had any inspiration, just more of someone saying I should, and that gave me permission to actually make the jump. While I worked on a print job to pay for my dance classes, I had someone tell me, “hey, you should try acting.” I said, “sure,” and for some reason – that jumpstarted me into going full force. Maybe I’ve always wanted to perform but I didn’t think it was possible until someone that looked like me that was in that profession told me that it was a possibility. Maybe that’s why representation matters.
Do you experience any challenges or barriers as an Asian-American actor?
There are a lot of challenges and barriers as an Asian-American actor. When I first started out, the auditions I personally was getting were more information based. I was auditioning for characters that just spewed out information for the leading characters. I was stereotyped to only audition for just Asian-specific roles, nerd roles, or small co-stars that would say a small quip and leave the scene right away. It made me feel like that was all I was worth.
As an actor who belongs to an underrepresented population, how will you work to create a more equitable industry?
By being the best actor, I can be. To stretch myself as much as possible, so they know that Ivan Leung is indispensable. And most importantly, to speak up. Nothing will change if we assume it will change. We all need to speak up to get conversations going. We cannot assume that everyone will just “get it” or that it’s common sense that the majority will give everyone their fair representation. We all need to respectfully speak up and start conversations.
What was it like to star in the film, “The Tender Bar”?
The Tender Bar was a life-changing experience. I learned how to be a better actor on screen and off screen by learning from the amazing actors, directors, and all the hard-working individuals behind the scenes that made the movie possible.
Why is mental health important? Why should we have more conversations about it?
Mental health is very important. It wasn’t too long ago when even talking about mental health was deemed as weak-minded or a taboo subject. It still is a taboo subject for many people, especially in the Asian/Asian American community. We should have more conversations about mental health so that way of thinking could change, and it would be an easier subject to approach for the majority. Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to say, “hey, I’m having a bad day today. Can we talk about it? / I need a little space to myself right now” instead of taking it out on friends and loved ones?
What keeps you going every day? Who is your main inspiration?
I don’t know what keeps me going every day. Some days I think to myself, “what else can I do that would be as fulfilling?” Some days I feel like I’m just going through the motions, but there are days when I get to do an audition where I go, “that was fun,” and it fuels me to keep going. I’m inspired by my peers/friends and their work ethic. Seeing us all going after the same things makes me feel less lonely.
What is a daily mantra you live by?
“I did the best I could at that very moment” – That got me by MANY times.
What is your advice for people wanting to become an entertainer? What is the first thing they should do?
My best advice is to just start and do it. Just jump in and get going. Take a class and see if you even enjoy it. Form friendships with your classmates and explore if this is the right lane for you. Tell yourself right away that there is no such thing as perfection.
What is your formula for success? What has helped you become a success?
The formula for success is to put the work in. Don’t do what is just asked of you. Don’t just do the bare minimum. Put the work in and keep going.
Any parting thoughts for our audience?
Have more than one outlet, and make sure to take care of yourself. If you need anything – ask/speak up. It is surprising how we forget that we have that power.
Written by PositiveVibes Magazine Staff