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Somewhere Between Podcast
Somewhere Between Podcast

Episode 5 · 2 years ago

Interview: Kira Omans

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Welcome back to another interview episode, where Aimee speaks with fellow Chinese adoptee and 2015 Pacific Miss Asian American, Kira Omans. Kira is also a model, actor, and adoptee advocate, based in L.A. Together they discuss martial arts, her passion for Chinese dance, DNA testing, identity crises, and more! You can find Kira on Instagram @kiraomans 


Hi Guys, I'm amy. Welcome back to another interview episode of adopted, a podcast made by Asian adoptees for Asian adoptees. Today we're joined by a very special guest, Qa Omens Hi. Tell us a little bit about yourself here. I was adopted from China, from Jungshin China, which is southern China, just outside of Guan Jo and the Quandong province. Right now I am living in Los Angeles, California, and I am a full time audiobook narrator and film actor and model out here. That is so exciting and so cool. How did you get into doing all of that stuff? I started acting in high school and have just stuck with it ever since. I went to governor school my junior year, which is a theater intensive and just absolutely fell in love with it and I've been performing since I was very little. I was doing Chinese dance, which was the main way I have stayed in touch with my Chinese culture as an adoptee since I was four years old. So I've been performing since I was pretty little and then just started doing theater in high school and just fell in love with it and have been doing it ever since. That's awesome that you found something that you were passionate about and it's kind of been able to continue in your I think that's really special. Yes, definitely. We you always open with others about your adoption. Are being adopted in general, not always. When I did the Pacific Miss Asian American pageant in two thousand and fifteen, I had intercultural understanding and communication as my platform and that was when I really started to put myself into the adoptee circles and the adoptee community and get to know other people who had similar life experiences to me, and I think that was really when I started to become more comfortable with talking about my adoption story and help be a voice for adoptees. That's really awesome. What inspired you to participate in the pageant? My dance teacher had been trying to get me to do the pageant for a little while and during one of my dance performances, the PR director of the pageant actually saw me perform and came up and recruited me and I got to go to the pageant the year previous to mine and just see all of the girls up there and they were all so talented and smart and well spoken and just were leaders in their community. And so it wasn't my stereotypical idea of what a pageant normally was, which was all like Fuovoo, all about appearances and like all beauty no brains. But these women were really the whole package and I just really wanted to be able to stand up on that stage and to express my own beliefs and just be a role model in my community. Absolutely. Yeah, I think it's easy to get at loss in the mindset of, you know, what we think of pageant is, but really, you know the amount of other things that have to go into it other than just you know the media will point out as it's a lot of guts and a lot of work and I could never do half the things that those girls up there do. So they go absolutely, absolutely. I mean that was the only one I did. There are some girls who do so many of them and I just have so much respect for them. It is really not easy. So yeah, but it was a really fun experience, awesome. Is Adoption something that your family is also, you know, open with discussing with you other people? Yes, definitely. My parents have always been really good about fostering an open communication with my family. My brother is also adopted. He's a Korean adoptee, and so and then I have another I have a younger sister who's my parents biological child, and my parents have always been super open to talking about our adoption stories with us. We knew we were adopted from the get go. It was never a surprise. I mean my parents are also white, so it also yeah, it also would it have made...

...sense for them to hide anything for us. But they also have been really open and communicative and always super transparent with us, which I think is why I'm very well adjusted in talking about my story. Yeah, being honest and for me, being honest and hearing everything, you know, VI from the guy. I never remember a time when I didn't know I was adopted. Again, I also have white parents. That you can't really hide that, but that is just really, I think, key for any parent in general who has adoption is being open and honest with whatever questions, even if they're a little loll I completely agree. That's awesome that your family, you know, really wanted to share that with you. In that idea, I completely agree with that. Yes, what is the reaction you normally get when somebody finds out you're adopted. I think that they usually have questions, or I mean usually the reaction is like Oh, cool, and I'm like I'm sure, I guess. I mean like I guess it's a something different about me. It's not always cool, but I mean usually people have questions. Like where I was adopted from, I have definitely run into, as I'm sure many other adoptees have run into, people who have just too many prying questions and don't seem to realize that it's a very personal experience and so not everyone is super comfortable talking about it. Luckily I am, so I don't tend to feel as uncomfortable when those questions are asked. But I mean, I definitely have encountered people who just feel like they're entitled to know a lot of information that they not they are not necessarily entitled to know. But yeah, for the most part I think it's just mostly curiosity that I encounter. That makes sense, especially since you're a little bit more in the the public like I. I guess people in General feel like they're able to ask those kinds of questions, but especially about something as personal as adoption. It's it's a little, you know, little uncomfortable at times. Maybe exactly exactly, and I mean I've already shared a lot so for some time, for some questions I'm like, I totally understand why someone would feel comfortable asking me that because I've already shared this much. But I think as a general rule it's important that people know that everyone is very different and just because I feel comfortable answering certain questions or talking about certain topics doesn't mean that all adoptees are. And I only can speak for myself. Absolutely that is a great thing to point out, for sure. I know for me my friends, it's also a little bit different when somebody in that adoptee community ask not because I'm we're trying to gatekeeper anything, but right, no, right, there's an idea and this common thread that all adoptees, regardless of, you know, Asian or not, I'm have with each other and it just as they say, it hits different coming from somebody who has, you know, that kind of art of their history and a part of them too. MMM MMM. Have you ever struggled with your identity? Yes, absolutely, I think that growing up I had a typical adoptee identity struggle where I just was too like I looked to Chinese to fit in with American kids, but I was raised in such an American environment that I didn't fit in with other Asian kids, and so it was such conflicting, just a conflicting identity, that I took a long time to really embrace that about myself and just view that as an asset rather than as a deficient just because I think that the world loves to categorize you and make you feel like you need to belong in one place, in one circle, and adoptees just can't do that by nature, just the way that we were raised and international adoptees, the way that we look. So I think that I definitely struggled with just embracing that part of myself and saying,...

...you know, it's okay that I don't fit into one box. I think that makes me more unique and that's a good thing. So I think I definitely struggled when I was younger. I mean I went to a predominantly white elementary and middle school and wasn't surrounded by as much diversity in my daily life. I did Chinese dance and martial arts, so that had a more diverse group, but on a daily basis I wasn't seeing other people that looked like me. There weren't Asian people in mainstream media. A Lott. It was like really special when there was right, like Ulan was our thing, you know, my Audi. Yeah, so I think that because of that I just didn't see any camaraderie and felt very alone and isolated and because of that, had a hard time accepting my culture and had a hard time accepting a lot of different aspects of myself. Thank you for sharing all of that. You know that feeling is something that everybody, especially, you know, us in this unique community, can experience. It's a personal journey, but thank you for sharing that with us. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I think that just in my work in adoption communities, I just I think it's so important that people know that they're not alone and that, even if we don't understand the exact situation, like we've all been we've all been there, we all have similar emotions and can really support each other and lift each other up. Absolutely, I think you know, as many you know, bad or upsetting things are going on with everything going on the world right now. There's also been a lot of love from, you know, especially the Asian adoptee community, with all the all the things happening in the global situation. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Do you have any advice for you know, maybe some young adoptees are just other adoptees experiencing those feelings. What you would what would you say to them? Yes, I think that I would say find adoptee communities online or just connect with other people. I mean, they don't even necessarily have to be adoptees, but I think that the adopte community is so supportive and just here for you, and there are a lot of different outlets that you can look into. I mean even just looking at blogs like dear adoption and overcoming odds and all of these different podcasts like this one, just to hear adoptive voices, know that you're not alone, and to really surround yourself with the community of supportive people so that you feel like a part of something larger than yourself, because I think that that will really help you work through those feelings. It's not an easy journey and I know for myself, like I go back and forth, like right now, I consider myself very well adjusted and very secure with myself, but I mean, especially with everything that's going on in the world, with all the racism towards Asian Americans, it's very easy to feel marginalized and to just feel like you don't belong, and so I think that surrounding yourself with a community of people who will, yes, make sure that you know you do belong here and there are people who care about you, I really think that that will help a lot. Absolutely I couldn't have said about myself. And then, I don't know, we've talked about this before a little bit on the podcast, but there's one big facebook group subtle Asian adoptee traits. I don't know if you're in it as well here, but I am. Well, love that group my honestly like it's my goto favorite group. When I want to, you know, get a good laugh or talk about something personal, it's just, yes, that is found. Yet that's given me a lot of strength with everything going on. Oh same I think that the environment in that group is so great because I think that people feel safe and comfortable commenting and leaving, just...

...posting and getting that support. It's and also, yeah, it's really funny a lot of her time. They're great, great memes. MEMES always on point. It's a great meter of group judgment, at least for me that's like. But how good are the means my friends? Exactly? So I know that you did the dance and the taekwondo correct yes, and you mentioned that those are the ways that you, from a young age, stayed connected with your culture, either any other ways or what drew you to those in particular. When I was little, I really just loved to dance and my parents would take me to a lot of cultural festivals. I think that that's another way that I've kept in touch with my culture. Chinese dance has led me to perform at a lot of great cultural festivals when I lived in Washington DC and there was just so much diversity in the community, and so I think that that really helped me stay in touch with my culture. As far as dance, I saw my dance troupe perform at one of those festivals when I was young that my parents took me to. I was like for and I loved it, and so they went up and found the organizer and enrolled me in the classes and I was I've been doing it ever since. I love it still, and I mean I it's hard to put into words exactly what dancing means to me, especially cultural Chinese dance, but I just loved that from such a young age and my parents really fostered that and I they enrolled me in Chinese school, which I hated at the time. But I mean, like, I have yet to meet an adoptee who was enrolled in Chinese school who was just like, oh, that was the best time because it was like on a Sunday and we all just wanted to play, and so, yeah, I mean my dad was really nice, like in I feel like, in solidarity, also took adult Chinese classes and then I wasn't by myself, but I still hated it. Oh, yeah, and I really yeah, I really regret it now because I'm trying to learn mandarin and it's very difficult and I feel like if I had stuck with it when I was younger, then things would be much easier for me now. But yeah, so they tried to give me a lot of different outlets to connect to my culture. I think dance was really the only thing that really stuck with me, just because it's something I've always been really passionate about. Yeah, especially when you're so young, it's hard to you know, out kids are honest and they'll tell you how it is, that they don't like something, they're not gonna put much effort into it. HMM. I wish that there was some kind of like second chance Chinese School for all US older you know Chinese or adoptees or anybody to you know, I feel like it's such a common thing to hear. I really wish I had listened in Chinese school. I really wish I had gone when I was a kid. We need like second chance Chinese school. Absolutely, oh my goodness, I would love that. That would be amazing. I would totally attend, you know, make it around, zoom with everything else and we'll get it all over the country. Really that would be great. I love that idea. I would so do that. Right I hear of anything, I'll send it your way. Oh yes, please, yes, please, and saying with you awesome. Thank you. When you were doing these things to connect with your culture and everything, did you encounter any struggles or barriers that you felt? I think that my main barrier was just sometimes I felt like such an imposter just where. I don't know, I felt so white just because of my upbringing. End. It wasn't even anything that I think my parents could have done differently. I mean they're white, so they're not going to pretend to be Chinese parents. That doesn't make any sense right, just to make me feel more immersed. But I doing a lot of the activities. I mean, luckily...

...in my dance group there were a fair amount of other adoptees in the troupe and my dance teacher was great. Like there was nothing about that environment that made me feel that was trying to make me feel like I didn't belong there. I think it was just an internal thing where I again felt like an impostor and of my own culture, of my own race, and like I didn't grow up in this environment, I don't really belong here, and I think that just speaks to what we were talking about previously, about not feeling completely one thing or the other, and so I think that that was the main barrier. It was just a mental barrier of like, I don't feel like I belong here, I don't want to do this. I think I just like when I was in middle school, I was thinking that I just wanted to just fully embrace being American and just leave anything to do with China and Chinese culture or anything to do with that behind, and so maybe I would fit in more. And I mean the reality is I just couldn't do that. I mean I look the way that I look and that's always how people are going to see me. So it was definitely a challenging journey and definitely a lot of internal obstacles to overcome. Absolutely, I think that, you know, you speak about feeling like that impostor. I think that's definitely something that we've all felt an experience and even call it, I think, imposter syndrome. Where you m you know you do belong and you this is quite of who we are, but we can't help but feel like that outside er just trying to fit in and something under the late of everybody else. Yes, absolutely. Do you have any advice to fellow adoptees, either young or people, you know, around my age, trying to get into those those cultural connections and, you know, starting up maybe dance or anything else? I think my only advice would just be go for it, go for it with everything you have. I think that passion goes such a long way and the people that run those activities. Whether it's a dance class or, I know my brother took koreer and drumming, whether you're learning and instrument or some other kind of art form or just getting more involved in learning about the history and culture of your birthplace, I just think go for it. I think that those people who run those are usually very accepting, at least in my own experiences. They are just excited that someone else is excited about learning what they know. And I mean I think in general teachers just get excited when their students are excited to learn from them, and so I think that if you just go for it and do your research and just learn what you can and be passionate about what you do, then I think that that will become a really fulfilling and rewarding journey for you. That's awesome. Sometimes I personally, I always think, oh, I want to learn this, but I feel too old, and I think that the advice of just, you know, just try it, go for it. Realistically, I know that learning new things it's something that can happen at any age. So I think that that it's really important to I consider, you know, just yes I'll sack. Absolutely, especially during a time like this, where we're all confined to our homes. Yeah, and just learning is one of the only things we can do. I mean, you can just look things up and just learn it. You can learn so many new skills online or take a class or enroll in a language learning program or anything like that. I mean, I I definitely feel similarly because for some of my activities, I started when I was so young. So in my mind I'm like, Oh, if I wanted to learn this and become an expert, I would have needed to start when I was like for which is only true. Yeah, that's exactly how I feel about pretty much everything I everythink about. Don't joining, I know, because there's just some people who started when they were so young and then it's like, oh, we'll all never catch up to them, and then it's like okay, well, I need to stop comparing myself to people who've been doing this for like twenty years now. So absolutely, I think that that's something that we all part of us is like, you know,...

...intellectually, I know, but like hearing it and just getting those like it is never too late. Don't compare yourself. That is so valuable to hear. Thank you absolutely. I constantly have to remind myself just compare yourself to what you did yesterday and you're on your own journey. There are a million reasons why someone did something then and why you're doing something now and it's just you get if it's really not a fair comparison. So just comparing yourself to yourself is a healthy mindset to have in definitely easier said than done, but just something I need to keep reminding myself and I know that it can be helpful for other people to hear. Absolutely. So you mentioned that you did go to Chinese school. Is there any level of Chinese that you remember, or is it kind of I know for a lot of people it's in one of out the other at this age after it all, yeah, a bit my like I said, my dad attended the classes with me and on the way home together we would just count in Chinese. So when someone would start in that, we just go back and forth and it was always like a contest because neither of US wanted to say scisious sit in Chinese, because all my courting for because that was the hardest one, and so whoever got the even numbers were like. But yeah, so numbers and basic greetings were what I really retained. And at the pageant events they are always like Chinese people love Raffles, and so I was like, I am so good at Raffles, I know my number. Yes, that is so true. Honestly, I know. They're always raffles. It's great and but I picked up a little bit of Chinese just from the events and from having to communicate with people. Are just telling people like I don't speak Chinese in Chinese, things like that, but I have been trying to learn and pick it up again. I'm just not as disciplined self. Students, teacher, Oh, I feel you, young one. I need to make a schedule for myself or something, or maybe get Rosetta Stone or another language learning program. My brother is a prodigy at learning languages. I can't even tell you how many languages he speaks, like already English and Spanish fluently in Chinese and Korean are getting too, almost fluent, and just he speaks a bunch of different languages. So I've been trying to take advantage of his knowledge, but I'm also my brain just does not work like that. It's very like I will always translate foreign languages into English and my mind rather than he's just like just try to start thinking in a foreign language, and I was like I can't do that. So exactly. Yeah, it's definitely difficult. So to long story short, I have not retained a lot of information or a lot of language. Yeah, it's tough too, especially because if you're not using it constantly or regularly, it just even the best people start to lose that and for us who would trying to learn and it's not surrounding us all the time, it's extra barriers to learning entertaining all that. Yes, absolutely, and it just gets harder as you get older, which I keep trying to tell myself. So I just need to do it. Nah, I know, just like that hylabuff meme. Just do it. Yes, yes, have you ever returned to your birth country or how to desire to? I have not returned to China, but I would really like to. I don't have anything in the works right now. I mean obviously not right right now, but yeah, we're all of this happened. Yeah, I hadn't had like a set trip I know of. I don't remember the name of the organization, but some girls from my dance did a trip where it's free for Chinese adoptees to go...

...back. You only have to pay for air fare, but the traveling around China and the tours and things is free for Chinese adoptees. I'll have to look this up later and yeah, it's great. I believe that guests get a discounted rate for the tours and everything. So if you want to bring someone, I believe you can. I really can't remember the name of the organization that did that, but I would really like to do something like that in the future. I just haven't been able to carve out any time for an international trip. I've actually never even traveled outside of the country since I was born or born in China, but it's definitely something I'd like to do just for myself to learn more about the culture that I was born into and just learn more about China in general. But no, I haven't been back and would really like to. Would you want to go back to, you know, like the place you were born, or do you kind of that or just desire to go to China in general? We're both both definitely I know that John Shan really isn't like a huge tourist destination. I mean I looked it up. It's a very pretty city and I definitely would like to go back there. I also know that it's very different from when my parents went to China. It has undergone a lot of construction. Of My parents adopted me in one thousand nine hundred and ninety six. It had so much construction being done and now it looks like a totally different city. They've seen pictures and they were like, Whoa, there's not craydans everywhere or whatever. But yeah, so I definitely want to go back there and then just do some really basic touristy thing. Yeah, I don't know, I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. I know that some people, when they travel, I'm like, I definitely would like that, but I definitely like doing cheesy touristy things like just go see pandas and walk on the Great Wall. All. I know, I'm just like pandas, I meant there. Yeah, it doesn't, but animal, non domesticated like yes, yes, yes, yes, when you said also go to the Great Wall, absolutely, Oh, yes, oh, yeah, you have to. I mean, I just can't imagine being like, Oh, yes, I went to China. No, I didn't see the Great Wall, right, I don't know. Yeah, you can totally have a mix of that, you know, living the local experience, but then also, you know, get in your leg moments and that, you know, in the touristy spot like this. What really it's a great time to be a tourist, at least in terms of like that is, when you go to another country, that is the time to, by definition, be a tourist. Yeah, exactly. I'm like, I'm not trying to convince these people. I'm a local. I'm definitely a tourist and I'm totally fine with just walking around with my camera taking fature but yeah, no, I mean it sounds like a really cool trip. Just I mean I know some adoptees who have been back to their birth countries and just have really enjoyed their time, and I mean just going in with no expectations and then just absorbing all of the sights and sounds and information that you learn. It just sounds really rewarding. Absolutely. And then I'm glad you mentioned that you know, you could bring a guess, well, like a discount because I want, I've definitely always wanted to go with like another adoptee or somebody else who gets that, but also like be my emotional support, because I imagine it's a very you know, as much fun as it can be, it's also very heavy and, you know, tumultuous internally. So having you absolutely both of those worlds, if they can't be combined in the same person, that would be really valuable. Oh, definitely. Yeah, I know I can only imagine and definitely have thought about trying to prepare myself for that. Just I mean it's so weird. Just sometimes I get into a mindset where I'm like, if things hadn't worked out the way they did, I could be in China right now and just living there. So I'm sure that going back there those feelings are going to be heightened by a lot, just like this could be where I live. Yeah, and it's...

...so different from the United States, just culturally, like everything is so, so different. So it's really mindboggling to think about exactly I feel like. I mean of course there's moments and everybody's life where it's like, Oh, if this hack hadn't happened, you know, where are my life now, but I don't. I try to splain this somebody not adopted, but like, I feel like for adoptees, like that moment of like being adopted, that really like that. I can't think of many other life altering decisions that result in such a drastic change. As you know, your parents adopting you. Yes, yes, it really is, just like you said, completely life altering and just blows your mind to think about. I mean because we don't remember, or at least I shouldn't say we, as in everyone, but adoptees who were adopted when they were really little don't remember anything about their birthplace and so all that they know is the environment that they were raised in. And so just to think that we went on this huge life altering, crazy, horrible changing adventure when we were like one or like really little, is is absolutely mindboggling. Exactly the lot to think about. HMM. So, I know from some the videos that you've put out on you youtube channel you've had a little bit of experience with twenty three and me. You tell us a little bit about that? Yes, I did the twenty three and me DNA test. I also did ancestry and National Geographic. But I think that for me, twenty three and me was the most comprehensive word. Gave me the most information that I was interested in learning and it was really interesting. I had never thought about doing something like that and my brother was really into it, so my parents got it for Christmas for all of us and I was just like actually very nervous because I was like if I'm not Chinese, like I felt, what is my life? Yeah, like my life is a lot, and so my parents thought that I might be mixed because of my certain facial features, but I was not. I was like twenty three and me did this weird thing where they changed certain things, because when I first put in the result, it said I was like ninety plus percent Chinese and then the rest was broadly sound the East Asian, but now I'm like seventy eight to eighty percent Chinese and then like they broke it down and I'm like five percent Vietnamese and like two percent tie or something like that, and so it's kind of weird how they've broken it down. Or I just like my results changed and one day and I was very confused. Yeah, but definitely dominantly Chinese and it was really cool, like they have a lot of different features on there. You can I haven't done the health history option, which I was curious about to see what they can learn about learn from your DNA about your health history, because I mean as adoptees we don't know act anything about what runs in our families as far as diseases or things like that, so I'd be curious about that. They also just have a lot of random information and it's very educational. I thought it was a really cool experience and I got to meet a fourth or so cousin through that who is also adopted, so that was really cool. Oh my gosh, yeah, it was. It was really wild when we when she reached out to me, she was like, Oh, we're fourth or so cousins. Like you know how when you do those DNA tests you get a lot of just so many cousins. I usually everyone's very distant. I didn't have any close relatives that were identified, but when she reached out to me I was just like,...

...oh my goodness, and then we found out that we lived two hours away from each other, both adopted. It was just completely wild, but it was a really cool experience to meet her. Yeah, oh I can't even imagine. I mean I know you talked a little bit about your channel, but just here, and you talk about it now too, is just like I can't even imagine the feelings that must have been running through you and her just, you know, having that connection. You guys are both so close and both adopted. That's amazing. Yeah, it was crazy. It just felt like so many things we're alining, and it was really fun talking to her too, because I just felt like after that we were looking for any little thing that we had in common, just like, Oh, we both like the arts, like we both liked the other. It's like, oh, we both like Lomay. Yeah, we are relate. Did you can tell exactly? That's really cool. I mean some of our listeners, as you know. You know it's incredibly difficult to find. We adopted literally anybody who has something even close to being blood Relatedan so just that one person, even though your third or fourth cousins. That's amazing. My heart is full for you guys and my mind is blown. Oh my goodness, I thank you. Yeah, I know it was. It was really, really cool and I definitely hope that other people are able to learn a lot from doing the DNA tests. I know that we were incredibly fortunate to have been able to find each other and even to be able to meet up just that circumstances were crazy and we just ended up living close to each other, but I mean it's yeah, it was. It was a really wonderful experience and thank you. So happy for you guys. Thank you. I know you talked in your queue and a video, I believe, about, you know, the decision to look for your birth parents or how that going. Is that something that you want to talk about a little bit? Sure I for most of my life did not feel a strong desire to know my birth parents or look for them or anything. I had just never felt that need in my heart and just had no desire to even be connected to them remotely, and I think that as I grew up I had a lot of different conflicting emotions about that. Sometimes I really want to I when I first saw the documentary one child nation. Right after that I got really into researching how I would go about a birth parent search and actually a lot of my suspicions were confirmed just because of the situation surrounding my adoption and the very little information that I have, it would be extremely difficult and expensive and involved to even begin a search. Yeah, and so personally I just ended up being like, I don't know if I want to do that, not even just because it would be difficult, but just because I have my life here and don't don't always feel that like sometimes I feel that poll to maybe look and see if I can do some more, but mostly I'm just like very happy with where I am right now and I think that, at least at this point in my life, I the only thing that I would like to do is for them to know that I'm safe and healthy and very happy with where I am and that everything turned out okay, because I just can't even imagine the situation that birth parents are in to give up their child like that, and I know that in China like, there are a lot of political reasons as to why that may have come about and why so many adoptees came to the United States. But I think that, just for myself, the only thing, like I said, that I would want to do is for them to know that everything worked out for me and that I'm not unhappy where I am. But I think that as far as the actual search, again for me. It would be very, very difficult. So I just kind of made peace...

...with the fact that that I'll just be a great unsolved mystery in my life. That totally makes sense. You know, it's a sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow, but it's a realistic pill to kind of think about. HMM. Yes, yes, to switch gears a little bit, I know we talked a little bit before about, you know, your career and everything. What is your favorite part about, you know, being an actress, and then how does that compared to the voice acting and the the audiobooks that you do? I think that my favorite part about being an actress is just the characterization and I feel like whenever I get to play a character, I just get to learn so much about someone else who is it just so many things and that aren't myself, and I love being able to step into someone else's life and someone else's shoes and just learn as much as I can about their life and their situations to be able to portray that character. I think that I mean character psychology and storytelling is something that I've been really connected to since I was really little. I just I've really latched onto stories and now, as I've gotten older. I majored in theater in College, I got my BFA in performing arts, and so it was really cool to be able to study characterization and that aspect of acting. I mean, I also do enjoy the business side, though. I genuinely enjoy going to auditions and interviews and networking events and that side of it too. So I just think that as a career, I enjoy all of the different aspects of it, which is why I think that, like I think that if you're going to go into artistic career, you just have to love it so much, because so many aspects of it are really hard and really difficult to stomach sometimes, and so I just think that that underlying fiery passion is what's going to keep you going in a career like this. But I really love all aspects of it. I think that I get to do a lot of the things that I love about acting in my voice acting as well, but it's just trying to convey so much more through just your voice, which was definitely a learning curve because I was like, Oh, I thought I was sounding really dynamic, but then when I played it back it sounded really flat. So just learning about that tool as an actor that I have. I think has just made me a stronger performer in general when I'm doing film because I have more vocal choices. I think. Yeah, but yeah, I know I'm really fortunate that I just get to perform all the time. I I feel really, really lucky that I've been able to break into that industry and just get to do what I love, because I know that that's a gift and not everyone gets to do that. That's amazing. I've always been really fascinated and interested into voice acting just from exactly what you said. You know, you have to betray everything that you would with your body with just your voice, and I think that's incredible, incredibly challenging, but also incredible when it's done well. Yes, it really isn't I love watching behind the scenes videos of famous voice actors just getting their entire bodies into it to try and just really convey whatever their character is going through. You just their voice. It's really fun and I I just think it's a really fun area of acting to explore or because, I mean I, like I mentioned, I can do it from my house and just I have my own little home studio and I just get out of bed and I can just sit down and start acting and it's great. That's really cool. What has your experience been like as an Asian adoptee...

...in the entertainment and industry? It has been a whirlwind. I think that when I first started out, there was still there were still not as many rules for Asian people in movies and TV. I think that was one of the reasons why I started to move away from theater a little bit, just because I felt that with so many shows that were being produced around me, that diversity wasn't as much of a priority. I think that I'm much more suited to a more modern American audience, just because in certain theater shows that took place in like the Victorian era or where the whole cast is a family, and they're never enough Asian actors in those small communities to make an entire family. Yeah, unfortunately, I mean like when directors are directing those things, they always picked your white people, and so it's it was definitely challenging in that way. So I started to lean more towards film and at the time I think that stereotypes were being played up so much, and so my martial arts skills came in handy. I was like, Oh, I can play that Asian assassin, and I obviously wanted to do more than just that, but I think that that was just a viable way for me to try and break into the industry and then hopefully expand from there, the way some other actors in Hollywood have had to do. Yeah, but then crazy ridge agents came out and my agent, how started submitting me from more than just like bit characters like babysitter or nurse with two lines or like nail technician or something like that, and so I started to see a lot more opportunities after that. I mean I think that I don't know how people outside of the entertainment industry have viewed how much crazier Ach asients has affected the Asian experience in Hollywood, but it has definitely just for me, who's not even like a big name actor, seeing those opportunities and having directors be more open minded to owe anyone of any race can play this role. It doesn't have to be a certain ethnicity, and so just the openmindedness and acceptance of diversity has been so, so huge and I've started getting I mean, I was fortunate enough to work with directors before that happened. That gave me chances to learning, row and become better. But after that movie came out, I just felt like it was so prominent and that I was getting the chance to play a lot more dynamic and complex characters than before. I'm just like well enough right now, with like joy it, just because I feel you're so right. It's just it's hard to put into words the full impact that that movie had on not you know, the entertainment industry, people in general. It it's so real and it's so tangible. It we always joke about, you know, the bamboo ceiling, but it really it shattered that. Yes, yes, and I remember I saw it like early release, opening day, and I bought somebody I was seeing at the time who was not Asian, but he was an adoptee, you know, and I was, you know, we're sitting in a reshed on before hand and I was telling him about this movie and I was just getting more and more excited and all of a sudden, you know, he would make fun of me. Oh, we're going to go see a bomb, calm, but after that conversation I was telling him just how much it meant to me. He just took a second pause and looked at me so sincerely and says, this isn't just a movie for you, this is real and I get it now, and that moment like that is what I wish everybody would see about that movie. It's not just a movie, it's it represents everything for the Asian American community and it just means a lot. So I'm so glad that really truly positively affected you know, your livelihood and just your passions and all of that. Oh yeah,...

I completely agree with you. I mean I think that so many of us have just such special experiences with our first time seeing that movie. I mean I cried so many my cries. Yeah, Oh my God, I mean it was so embarrassing. Like I saw it with my boyfriend and he was like very excited to see it with me because he had read a lot about I mean just the tweets and just the outpouring of social media support this movie was receiving and he had read all that and he's just like, I'm so excited to see this with you, because he knows how important just Asian representation in Hollywood has been to me, and so I is. I the credits. The credit music came on and I just started bawling because I like I was thinking about it afterwards and I was like, oh my goodness, this is so embarrassing, what is going on with me? But it was just hearing a mandarin songs in a mainstream movie theater and just feeling like I had only ever heard that kind of music in those festivals that I would go to, like those false, small, niche communities that I had to actively seek out to feel a part of something, and then just to hear that sound just triggered something in me. Yeah, in a theater where there were all like everyone, like America, was seeing that and it was just a really touching moment. I my heart is like feeling all those emotions again. I exactly right. That is hearing the first thing spoken in that movie in Chinese. I just lost it. My friend looked over to me, like what is I feel like I'm just fooling, don't mind me, and I just yeah, it was totally embarrassing, but also like so it was empowering, it was special. It was yeah, I write there with you. I'm glad I'm not alone. I did the same thing when the trailer for the farewell came on balls just Oh yeah, oh, that was a good one. That one was great. Do you have any recommended sources for adoptees to check out or any adoptee idols that you have? Yeah, I I love, like you mentioned, this subtle Asian adoptee traits is such a great resource, I think, just to I don't know, just to feel like you're part of a community. Like I mentioned before, dear adoption is a really great website where adoptees can submit essays about their relationship with adoption or just their adoption stories, and I think that that's a really great resource just to read more from other people. Overcoming odds is a group that I did some work with for some time and they are all about supporting adoptees and just making sure people don't feel alone and that they have the resources that they need. One of my adoptee idols is Cindy Wilson, and she wrote too much soul and she is just phenomenal. I mean she is a Korean adoptee who was adopted by an African American couple in the south, and so she just has such a cool fusion of cultures and an understanding of the world that is just really, really interesting to read about. I really enjoyed her book and I got to play a character who had a similar experience to her, which was really interesting, and so I had to do a lot of research on her to prepare for that role and I just love the way that she talks about her journey and her storytelling is really cool. So I think that she is someone who is really interesting to research and just to hear more about the adoptee experience from someone who has a really unique one and has a really special journey. Absolutely that is such a unique that is such a new perspective to have. I'll definitely have to check her out a little bit more. It sounds amazing. Yeah, it's great. I mean I just ordered the book online and...

I mean it's super easy to get and it's a really good read. So Nice. I work with a literacy organization, so books, I'm all about it Allso Oh, excellent. Yeah, perfect. Thank you so much for joining us today. Where can people find you on the web? Yeah, my social media is at Kira Omens, so Kira aom ans, on instagram and twitter. You can just look up here Omans on facebook. I have a facebook page. My website is wwwcore Omenscom and I definitely love to hear from you. I really love hearing from adoptees. I get people just dropping into my dms all the time who are adoptees and just want to chat and I'm super down to just meet New People and to learn more about other people. So definitely feel free to shoot me a message. That's awesome. Thank you so much again. It was so exciting to hear from you and just speak with you and here all about your experience. As you know, coming from a lot of different vantage points of being a nation adoptee, of course this was so much fun. I love what you guys are doing. I'm really excited to be part of this and I thank you so much for having me on. Thank you. If anybody else listening is interested in participating in one of our episodes, you can email us at adopted podcast at gmailcom. Can also follow us on our instagram at adopted underscore podcast and stay connected. Will see you guys next week by thank you,.

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