One certified holistic nutritionist with a love for potatoes, Martha Stewart, LOST, and Julia Roberts is also Locke & Key star, Genevieve Kang. In this interview, Kang allowed asienne access to her mind as we talked astrology, acting and adrenaline junkie things.
Name: Genevieve Kang
Field: Acting (+ Health & Wellness)
Known for: Locke & Key, The Strain, JETT, Shadowhunters
Star sign: Capricorn sun and moon. Libra rising. Extra earthy.
Life philosophy: What I come back to a lot is: Give yourself permission to succeed sloppily.
Getting to know Genevieve
Unlocking Her Mind:
AM: For those who don’t know, describe a “head key” and what would yours unlock if you had one?
GK: Oooh! The head key basically allows access to your mind.
Mine would probably look like a mixture of a hobby farm – a farm with lots of animals where there’s chaos; then, there would also be a section where it’s very zen and minimalist, and organized and tucked away. An abundance of nature all around.
AM: It sounds like a balance of chaos and zen.
GK: Hopefully, yeah!
AM: What was it like working with Carlton Cuse and were you a fan of LOST?
GK: Yes (laughs)! I didn’t watch LOST when it was on television but several years ago when it was on Netflix, I just binged it. It was one of those shows where I got so into it that I really felt like I knew the characters. Every episode was so emotional for me.
So, meeting Carlton was a bit intimidating. He’s a really lovely person and he’s awesome!
AM: Who were your favorite LOST characters?
GK: I really liked Sawyer and I also really liked Desmond.
AM: You seem to gravitate towards thriller and adventure with your roles in The Strain, JETT, Shadowhunters and now with Locke & Key. Is being adventurous also a part of your life philosophy?
GK: Yes, I’m definitely a fan of thriller and horror content. In terms of how much I consume it, I don’t consume it alone because I’m easily scared. I pick and choose what I’m going to consume, when I’m going to consume it, and with whom.
I know it’s going to be scary and I know it will leave me with nightmares for weeks but there’s something exciting and entertaining about these genres. I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. So, even though it’s scary and I can’t take my eyes off of it, I’m also someone who likes to do things that are going to give me that adrenaline rush.
AM: What got you started with acting that made you think: ‘this is what I want to do‘?
GK: Growing up, I always loved performing. As a kid, I wanted to be the center of attention (laughs). It wasn’t until high school that I did my first musical and I just fell in love with the entire process of being on stage, performing and getting to collaborate with other creatives.
I think the first time I watched a film where I thought, ‘Oh, I want to do that!’ was Pretty Woman. I don’t know what about that film – I just remember Julia Roberts and how she lit up the screen and I thought, ‘I want to do that! I want to make people feel!’ I remember watching it and thinking she makes me feel all these things and she’s just this shining light.
Then, it took many many years for me. For one, I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me on-screen growing up so that was part of why it took me a really long time to really pursue acting full time because I didn’t have those examples that made think, ‘Oh, I could do that too.’
There was a little bit of a block internally for me. [I’ve thought] ‘Oh I can’t do that because I don’t look like her. Can I really do this? Full-time? Can I really make a living off of this? Is there enough work for someone who looks like me?‘ Especially when I first started acting professionally, that was still a struggle.
AM: Going off from that, my next question is actually about Asian representation. From last year’s Crazy Rich to this year’s Parasite, how does that affect your acting choices and also your way of thinking from what you said about not seeing people who look like you on-screen?
GK: I’m going to go back to when we associated the word “Asian” and I said “underrepresented”. With Crazy Rich Asians last year and Parasite this year, it’s so exciting! There’s obviously a lot of shifts being made.
While it took such a long time to get to this point, I think we still have a long way to go.
There’s Awkwafina with The Farewell with her well-deserved recognition and there’s To All The Boys with Lana Condor, who’s adorable! –
– so there is more content and more opportunity but I think there’s still a very long way to go.
It’s important to tell stories that are specific to us and our culture. But I also think – where I struggle is – getting to play roles where it doesn’t matter your ethnicity; where it’s not specifically the culture we’re looking at – nor is it a stereotype – which we’ve had for so many years.
AM: Lastly, would you mind sharing with us your KIKAN BLVD. – its meaning and its significance to you?
GK: It’s a Japanese word translated to mean, “nucleus backbone” or “foundation”.
Before I was acting full time, I was actually working as a holistic nutritionist. I am a certified holistic nutritionist. That is a huge passion of mine. Health and wellness is a big part of my life; coming from some of my own health concerns is how I got to that world. I would host different workshops and mindful eating dinner events.
KIKAN still lives on. It might be something I return to and revisit. It’s not really active right now but essentially the philosophy behind KIKAN and my approach to health and wellness is I believe that everyone has the ability to heal themselves.
It’s about getting back to basics; it’s not just the food we eat or getting enough movement and exercise but it’s all aspects: the environment you’re in, your sleep, your stress, who you’re surrounding yourself with, and your individual inner self-work practices incorporated into your everyday.