Transcript: Season 2, Episode 8

Chen Tang


Terri Trespicio:
Chen Tang is adept at moving from one world to another. Born in China, he and his family moved to Tennessee when he was a kid. He's bilingual and identifies fully as Chinese and as American, as a southerner specifically. He also moved from business studies to theater studies and from Miami to Boston, which he says was actually the hardest transition of all. He transferred his junior year and graduated with a degree in theater studies in 2010. After a decade of working in the industry, Chen's star is on the rise. You might know him as Yao in Disney's live action remake of Milan and as Hong in the Bruce Lee inspired Cinemax show, Warrior, now in its second season.  What I really about Chen, and I think you will too, is his honesty and humility about everything from whether actors are really that important, his answer no, to colorblind casting too well, why he's so bad at layering. I give you Chen Tang on making it as an actor.

Terri Trespicio:
Here's my big question for you. Here's a question for you Chen. There is no doubt that our country, our culture, our world mythologizes acting and actors, right? They are very high on the level of. Right? A big deal actor. There's just nothing like it. And look, here's the thing that's strange for me as a non-actor, we all grow up thinking we know what acting is because we watch it a lot. What would you say now that you've been doing it for a few years now, would you say that you've learned about the work of acting that you think most people don't know or get wrong?

Chen Tang:
It's funny. There's a couple of things that you said in there that really resonated with me. And number one is I think this, our society especially in America, I would say for the world at large, our society really puts actors or showbiz people on a pedestal. And I would like to just respond with what I think, one of my idols, Spencer Tracy, one of the greatest actors, whoever was in my opinion. I would too echo what he said is, "I don't know why people think actors are so damn important." It's like, I think we're not. Okay. We're not. We love what we do obviously but we're not. I think plumbers are more important to the world.

Terri Trespicio:
The moment your toilet breaks, yes.

Chen Tang:
Yes. Believe me. Believe me you don't need actors, right? Now that does take away from the amount of passion that I have for what I do and the love that I have to it. But I'd like to just lay that out there first. And I think it's important because at the end of the day, that leads me to the next thing that I wanted to say that was the second part of your question, what do you think that the world doesn't really understand about what we do? And I'm one of the first people to admit when I was a child, you would see the movies, you would see TV and stuff. And you'd be like, "Yeah, I can do that." Because it looks so easy and effortless. But that's the point. That is the point of if you're doing it very, very well, you're doing it at a high level, no matter what you're going to going through in this imaginary circumstance situation, you should look like you're not acting at all. And that's good acting.

Terri Trespicio:
It should look like living. It should look like living. And when we watch humans being human, we think I can do that because I do do that. I just don't do it on cue.

Chen Tang:
Yes. And that right there is what you said is something that's really important because it is simple and both simple and difficult at the same time. There's a Zen saying, if only simplicity is not the most difficult of all things. And so for me, what I love, I wish people understood more was, no, this is actually a profession. This is actually a job. And if I were a guitarist or I were a... I used to be a bartender or if I were a plumber, for example, nobody would sit there and give you crap or criticism or advice or thoughts about what you do for a living. But because what we do for a living is supposed to look like just living, everybody feels they can do it.

Chen Tang:
And to a big extent, they are absolutely right. Because I genuinely believe if you are a human being, you have enough talent to be an actor. The thing is, it is also a skill because as you said, it is also something you must do on cue. There's 500 people around you on a set. And you are also having to say something that's written down and that is not you. Right? So to do something on cue and repeatedly, it is a skill.

Terri Trespicio:
It's a grind. I mean, I can look at it in a second and go, "My God." It is a grind like any job. When you see someone on Broadway and you're like, "I just saw this amazing show." And it's like, yeah, that guy and that woman are coming back tomorrow to do it again. And they have to act like they've never done it before. That exhaustion, that's just different but it's also like, "Do you want that job?" It's no different than, "Well, I want to be a doctor because I want to have a white coat and people look up to me." It's like, "Okay, but that's not..." You have to get up at 3:00 in the morning sometimes to do that. So it's a choice and it's a job. And of course it's a very nice job. And if you can make a good living as an actor, I think obviously it's no, one's feeling bad that Chen has to work out really hard.

Chen Tang:
No. Not at all. Not at all. And I would never say that because that is one of those dangers of even approaching this question, because what I don't want people to feel is like, you're putting it on a higher pedestal than it actually is to me. However, I will say to answer your question in a nutshell, I wish people would just see it more of like, "Actually this is a true profession." And it's a skill that can be worked on and practiced and mastered and repeated and maintained and all of the above. Right?

Terri Trespicio:
You really have a craftsman's mindset. And in fact,. You mentioned in another interview, you did Cal Newport's book, So Good They Can't Ignore You. And I was like, "Wait, I know that book. And I just looked for it and I found it." I have bought it years ago and it is so good. 

Chen Tang:
It's so good. It's so good.

Terri Trespicio:
And it's in the title, so good is. But the point of this is this, this is why I bring it up. There's an idea that we are called to do things that I have to figure out what my passion is so then I can go do that thing. And some people do that. They start playing the cello at six years old, they play it for the rest of their lives. That's their thing. But most people don't live that way. And there's a danger as Newport points out and plenty of people do that there's a danger in feeling that you're meant to do something and that you're going to wander the earth trying to find that thing.

Chen Tang:
That's right.

Terri Trespicio:
Do you agree with that?

Chen Tang:
I would agree to an extent and I'll explain why, because in that book, his theory is there's two ways about it, yes. Some people really do. They really find their passion and that's wonderful. But the other side of it is a huge part of the reason we love something and have a passion for something is because we end up being honestly, pretty good at it.

Terri Trespicio:
Exactly. We want that.

Chen Tang:
I mean, it's true. You can't genuinely feel confident about something unless you're actually good at it. And you feel that sense of that good feeling. Right?

Terri Trespicio:
How can I be passionate? How can I be passionate about mountain climbing if I've never climbed a mountain? This idea that we're supposed to find it first do it second is the part where I think we get messed up. You yourself said that you took an acting class because you had to fulfill a requirement. And it was like, "That sounds interesting." You weren't like, "I've always wanted to be a famous actor." That's a losing recipe for going after acting I would think.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. It's hard to answer that because of course we're all human, we have our own allotment of ego. 
of course. But fame is, it's a condition it's not an actual end result. 

Terri Trespicio:
And it's not guaranteed and it might not last.

Chen Tang:
It's not guaranteed. That's right. It's not guaranteed and it has to be something that's actually given to you. And it's a result of something. So to pursue it has no correlation with actually doing our job.

Terri Trespicio:
Right. Because there's people who are famous for doing nothing.

Chen Tang:
Correct. Yeah. Correct. Yeah. Yeah.

Terri Trespicio:
You're saying fame is the relationship between you and the people who receive or acknowledge your work but it's not the same as the craft.

Chen Tang:
It has nothing to do with the craft actually because the idea of saying something like, you know what, if... I'll put it as an example. If I said, I want to be famous and I'm going to pursue fame, I might get fame but you can't actually logically look at that and say, "That will make me a good actor."

Terri Trespicio:
That is not a business plan.

Chen Tang:
But if you say you know what? If I just do my job and I do it really well, and I have some success. That actually could bring exposure and fame and all these things. So one, literally for me, the idea, it only goes one way. Does that make sense?

Terri Trespicio:
Yes. I mean, look. Some of it is luck. Some of it is opportunity. Some of it is talent and talent is a slippery fish because there are people who work really hard and are skilled enough and something opens up whereas there are as you know plenty of talented, hardworking actors who no one will know that they make their living doing it or maybe they don't. So this is what's tricky with any career. We're talking about acting because you're an actor but it could be anything with anyone. When we look at our careers and how we measure success and how we measure whether we should or shouldn't be doing a thing, we automatically look at, what am I good at? But also, am I talented enough? Am I good enough? Now, you have said in every interview I've seen with you, it was not your intention to be a famous actor, it was not even a dream at first to be an actor. You thought you wanted to be a soldier.

Chen Tang:
I did.

Terri Trespicio:
You came from military family, you end up being an actor and then you end up playing a soldier as an actor. That blew my mind.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. I'll put it this way. I've been very, very fortunate and I never try to lose sight of that, of just being grateful for the things that come my way.

Terri Trespicio:
Well, I think I would rather play soldier than be soldier. That is incredibly tough. 

Chen Tang:
I got to tell you. It's still. I try not to regret, but it's probably my one biggest regret that I never did join the military.

Terri Trespicio:
But why? I mean, I know you come from a lineage in military but is that the reason? Talk to me about what the regret comes from. Just curious.

Chen Tang:
I think there's just something. Part of it is undescribable. It's just because it's something that I've always grown up around. The other part really is those experiences, even if I played a soldier, you can't even begin to be there. And I'm very aware of that. It's almost like imagine that you had a childhood dream, no matter what that is. I've got a childhood dream and for some reason you didn't pursue it. For some unexplained reason, it doesn't make logical sense. I still have that sense of like, "I should have tried that. I should have done that."

Terri Trespicio:
And the irony is there's someone who is a career military who says I was wanting to be an actor. We can't win. We have one life.

Chen Tang:
Exactly. Yeah. Exactly.

Terri Trespicio:
We have one life. Let's talk a little bit about achievement since we're talking about career and about what we think we're going to do, what we are apprenticed to do? You were in Mulan. You're in this show Warrior, which is at its second season.  So this is about as successful as you could hope to be like, "Okay, I'm doing things they're recurring. It matters to me." But let me ask you this when it comes to achievement, what feels better? Doing the thing you want to do, being in the midst of doing it or having done a thing you always wanted to do or never thought you could? Is it the act of doing it or is it having done it? 

Chen Tang:
I got to go with my gut after, after because you've gone through it. I'm honest because I have great fear. And just like every other human fears, doubts, worries. The mind is a slippery thing because when you do something that you fear, it is terrifying. It's absolutely terrifying.

Terri Trespicio:
What are you talking about specifically? What are you afraid of?  When you talk about fear, you're saying I have fears. We all have them. But when we're talking about achievement and fear, I feel you're angling towards something. I'm curious.

Chen Tang:
Well, when you say like, well, achievement, but the act of pursuing any type of achievement, any high achievement is already fearful in itself for me. 

Terri Trespicio:
You are like having done it. It's safely behind you.

Chen Tang:
Yes. I am scared of it. After you finish it, it's like trying to climb a very high mountain. You're like, while at the top of the mountain, you feel great. But climbing the mountain, you might not feel so great. But at least you're climbing it. And even though that does feel good, to me finish climbing the mountain feels even better. So that's the honest answer to your question. 

Terri Trespicio:
Yeah. I mean, for me as a writer. I feel the best when I'm in the zone and I'm writing and I have heard from other writers and authors who say right after they finish a book they feel, or maybe a performer after they finish a show, a show closes. There's a sadness there because they're not doing the thing. For me, I like a little bit of the striving because it makes me feel I'm working toward a thing. Whereas I don't know. My guess my fear is what if I do the thing and it ends up being, wasn't a big deal. In the midst of it, it might've felt amazing. But after you're like, "I guess I'd be afraid that it doesn't matter much after."

Chen Tang:
Now that I put my mind into it, yeah, you are right. When I'm in the middle of a shoot, for example, when we were shooting our show in South Africa and you're just on set and you're in the zone and yeah, that's an amazing feeling. You never want it to stop. You really don't want it to stop.

Terri Trespicio:
That is the best.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. That is the best. Let's be real. Of course I want the result and I love the process. There's no black and white here. I enjoy it all. And plus with what we do, I will add this for with what we do, even the act of getting to do the process at this level is still already you're on top of the mountain, because that means you're actually winning.

Terri Trespicio:
It's a long uphill climb. It's just that it feels good if it's what you should be doing. Okay. So now I have a question. If you thought those were hard, I feel this is going to be equally tricky but I'm going to ask it because it was the one thing I was really...

Chen Tang:
Bring it on.

Terri Trespicio:
You are an Asian American actor who's enjoying some fabulous success. And we're all about this explosion, Asian American acting and Asian American writing. Like, yes, we want diversity. Yes, this is good. This is good for everyone. But let's be honest. Does it get tired to always be representing? Yeah. We love the result of having lots of different kinds of people and ethnic backgrounds and all that. But I feel for the person who is representing a community and ethnicity, whatever, it feels unfair to make a person bear that burden all the time. Because let's be honest again, Brad Pitt doesn't have to represent anything nor does Leo or Toby Maguire. Anyway. But you're like, okay, well, he's the... Then they have to put into context. Why can't you just be an actor? Does that get annoying?

Chen Tang:
Yeah. You answered your own question right there.

Terri Trespicio:
I know I ruined it. I should've just let you answer.

Chen Tang:
A thousand percent. And I know it doesn't sound PC or whatever.

Terri Trespicio:
I know. I know it doesn't but I'm going to ask you anyway because.

Chen Tang:
Forget it. Yeah. Forget it. I don't care. I'm going to say it. This is the honest truth of how I feel. I absolutely will hold a torch for my people, for my culture, for who I am. However, number one, I want to hold the torch for being a human being. And that's the biggest thing that does get tiring because when you say this burden quote, unquote of representing, right? I see why people feel they must represent. However, my vision is trying to go to one step past that where it's like, you don't have to represent where I could just be instead of being an Asian American actor, he's just an actor who happens to be Asian American.

Terri Trespicio:
That's right.

Chen Tang:
That's the end game of what this road is. We are currently, I would say and societaly we are in the middle of the road. But what the burden comes from is this idea of representing versus just trying to do what you do and just be visible by being visible, just by being. And so that is why it's for me sometimes it's like, yeah. The fact that someone has to label that as representation is already a burden because you've already put it into a box. And that does get tiring sometimes.

Chen Tang:
And the good thing is I combat that by, and also naturally the way I look at a role or the way I look at my work and what I do whenever I try to play a character, you get to see this character on a piece of paper and see how it hits me. And I try to see the humanity of a person because that's universal to me. And that's actually what fascinates me as an artist, as a human being, as an actor rather than just only a slice of that, which is their culture or their outside package. Does this all make sense?

Terri Trespicio:
Yes. No, I mean, I really appreciate the honest answer because of course you're going to be interviewed and lauded and celebrated not just because you're you and you're good at what you do, but because the people who are Asian-American actors and want to be, are going to say, "Great, you represent us." And that's good. I'm not talking about you not wanting to be connected with the people whom you represent, but by putting that on you from the other direction saying, "You're this actor." It's like, "No, you're an actor."

Chen Tang:
That's right. And for me, in a nutshell, what I'd like to express through my work and through people seeing me on screen is that feeling of when they see a person who looks like them on screen, and then they look a little bit closer, they're like, "Actually that guy doesn't have to be named Johnny Kim or another, whatever his culture is." Hey, what if he's just named Joe McCarthy? It just so happens. And then when they see something like that, that sense of just regular humanness. And if I can do my work with that level of humanity and truth, that to me, is something worth fighting for rather than just representing for the idea of representation. 

Terri Trespicio:
So then my next question is, what are your thoughts on colorblind casting? Because I know it's loaded. Some people say, "Yes, cast, no matter what, just don't look at race at all." And then it's like, okay, but I'm casting a Shakespearian move. You know what I mean? I get that it's a loaded thing and I am no expert on it but I am curious what your thoughts are on it since it's your industry.

Chen Tang:
This question is not a one size fits all question. It depends for me.

Terri Trespicio:
So it's not a yes or no.

Chen Tang:
And I don't mean that to be a cop out because I think it genuinely depends on this story and the world and how you want to express this story and what makes sense for the life of this role. Right? And for example, our job, I believe our job as actors is to do things as truthfully as possible. And if that means what if I have to be from... I don't know, I'm just pulling something out of my ass. If I'm from Jamaica, there are a lot of Jamaican Chinese people but I better be Jamaican. I better be convincingly Jamaican. And I better believe myself that I am who I say I am. And if you can't do that, I don't care what it is.

Terri Trespicio:
Yeah. Exactly. There is a skill. There is the skill part.

Chen Tang:
That is the greater question of does it fit into this thing? And for me, my mind wants to jump to this answer of, yeah, of course I love a color blind casting because... And I'm a genuine believer of like, you know what? You can play everything. Really. If I had put you, if I had taken you as a child and dropped you in China, you would have grown up fully believing that you are Chinese.

Terri Trespicio:
That's right. You're a southerner.

Chen Tang:
I'm a southerner. And that right there because of the sum of those experiences, that's a part of my identity. But I believe in the malleability of the human mind and spirit, you see? So it just depends on what your surroundings were, what things really affect you. So when it comes to that to make a long answer short, I would like to say, I really have to see what the actual freaking project is.

Terri Trespicio:
It depends on the project.

Chen Tang:
It depends on who this human being that you need to be is.

Terri Trespicio:
I mean, ideally, someday it'll go from colorblind. Just like, you'll go from Asian-American actor to actor. Colorblind casting should be called casting.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. We're making this very long narrow road back to the interior. Right?

Terri Trespicio:
Exactly. Well, let's jump back to your Emerson days because you did transfer junior year to Emerson to study acting. And so that was a real shift, right? Because you came from studying. Like, acting is , Wait, wait, I really this. I'm really serious about this. Serious enough to leave Florida and get a winter coat and move to Boston.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. Believe me, that was rough. That first–

Terri Trespicio:
But you say that you adapted.

Chen Tang:
I didn't know how cold it got in Boston because- It was so rough. I had spent my first two years in undergrad at the University of Miami, not even Florida,  South Florida, that is tropics Caribbean weather. And the thickest piece of clothing that I had was a University of Miami sweatshirt. You cannot have anything else. I mean, it's so hot. And so...

Terri Trespicio:
You had a serious shock. You had a shock to your system

Chen Tang:
Yeah. Because I didn't know the concept of layering you see. I was like I didn't to. I've never had to layer in my life. I'm from-

Terri Trespicio:
Layering is a skill.

Chen Tang:
I didn't know no glove game. I didn't have sock game. I didn't have hat game. I didn't know any of this. And it was miserable for me that first because I came in the fall, it was freezing already. 

Terri Trespicio:
They're like, "Who is that new guy? Who is that new guy on the flip-flops who needs to catch up?"

Chen Tang:
My God. I said, this is like Antarctica in that wind tunnel at Emerson. 

Terri Trespicio:
You were not ready. You were not prepared for this because you came from the South, you were used to soft. You went soft and then you came to Boston.

Chen Tang:
I went soft and then I came to Boston and I got schooled and it was bad. And the truth was that, that was a big part of why it was so hard for me that first semester.

Terri Trespicio:
Wait, seriously? That's what was hard, seriously, was it climate change?

Chen Tang:
You think I'm joking? It's not a joke. Weather affects me and I hate the cold. 

Terri Trespicio:
Man. That must have been real hard. You really suffered for your art, Chen. We are really impressed.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. I guess so. Yeah.

Terri Trespicio:
So then tell me about the... Okay. There's a big cultural change. I mean, Boston is just not anywhere else. And you're also shifting now, you were like, "Wait, maybe imma standout in my class in Miami in this class in acting." And then you come there and it's like, I'm assuming you're like, "This is no joke." There's people who have been studying this for years. How is that? Tell me what that's like.

Chen Tang:
I got to tell you, I loved it. I'll be honest.

Terri Trespicio:
Really? You weren't at all scared. You're more afraid of the thermometer than you were of all these serious...

Chen Tang:
By a factor of 10.

Terri Trespicio:
What do you attribute that to? Why? Why was that okay?

Chen Tang:
Number one at Emerson, one of the cool things about our school was everybody's really passionate and they're really themselves. I really liked that. And I was always just drawn to that. I'm like, man, these guys they're really into what they do. And they're really into how they think and how they fit. This is who they are. And that was most many, many people that I met at Emerson when I first arrived was like, it's like, "Well, okay, that's who you are and this is what you do. You are an editor. That is your thing. You've always wanted to do that. And this is what you do." I love that. And I'm so inspired by that. I don't get intimidated by that. It inspires me more than it intimidates me.

Terri Trespicio:
So you were not intimidated. You mixed right into that acting crowd.

Chen Tang:
I wouldn't say I mixed right in because I was still... That is one of the harder things about being a transfer student is because I didn't have those first two years.

Terri Trespicio:
Yeah. Of course. The relationships.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. The relationships. I felt a little bit of an outsider. And plus I'm coming in as the off-campus student...

Terri Trespicio:
You are a commuter.

Chen Tang:
I'm a commuter. Yeah. And plus I was like, "I got to work. Baby boy has got to put food on the table." I got to work.

Terri Trespicio:
What were you doing?

Chen Tang:
I was waiting tables and I was also doing professional auditions  because I wanted to jump. 

Terri Trespicio:
You weren't wasting any time.

Chen Tang:
No. And because I was like, maybe a weird part of me was like, "Man, I ain't got time to waste." And I got to book some stuff so I can make some money.

Terri Trespicio:
Yeah. You went over Boston casting. And you're doing it.

Chen Tang:
Yes. Yeah. CT casting, Boston casting. I was doing industrials. Honestly, I really always wanted to be a professional actor. I wanted to just learn by doing.

Terri Trespicio:
That's really smart. Yes. Is there anything that you learned? Emerson is so unique. It does leave its fingerprint on people in ways that might surprise them. Was there something like obviously learning to act, learning the industry, yes. But is there anything else you'd say, "I learned this at the school that wasn't textbook learning. It wasn't something that everyone learned, but something I learned."

Chen Tang:
I think something that I learned was just-

Terri Trespicio:
Layering.

Chen Tang:
... layering. sock game, hat game. Most of the great work comes when you're warm. And seriously though, one of the interesting things I learned was, there is something to be said about you're off on your own, you're just trying to take care of yourself and you're just trying to make it and there's that joke of being the starving actor, a broke actor and just waiting tables, busing tables, thing like that. And I learned really how to take care of myself very, very, very fast. And even though I have always been an independent person, kid growing up, when you're there, you have to... I was living on the Northshore at the time. I was in the Middleton.

Chen Tang:
With an ex-girlfriend of mine. And long story short, I was just coming in, I was waking up at 5:00 AM every day just to try to make it to 8:00 AM class. And then having to eventually getting my own lease and then all these things, and this is all I'm about 20 years old and just trying to get myself a job and just trying to... Doing all those things while still just trying to be, having a dream and having all these things. I mean, that is a big part of it, quote unquote adulting. I've been adulting since I was 18 so yeah.

Terri Trespicio:
Wait, you had a story you were going to tell me.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. I had that story about how I actually got to get to go to Emerson. Basically I had discovered that I wanted to become an actor down at the University of Miami. And I loved Miami but I wanted to just dive fully into the pool of what I wanted to do. I woke up one day. I was like, you know what? I want to do this for a living. I want to do this professionally. I want to be trained. I want to be surrounded by this. And I thought about transferring. I really did. And I was talking with actually that same ex girlfriend - we met down in Miami when we were both students there and she had wanted to transfer and she was like, "There's this great school where I'm from called Emerson College." And I was like, "That sounds really nice." And they have a film program I was looking into. I looked at the website. I'm like, "That is like... Look at the creativity and look how much I could grow there." And I literally just put it into the universe. I was like, "You know what? I would love to go here. How can I get there?" About a week later, I see in the newspaper, it was literally in a newspaper and was like, "Emerson college is having regional auditions at Miami Beach."

Chen Tang:
And David Krasner was holding auditions there and I signed up, I prepared a monologue. I rehearsed it and worked it and just did my best. And I was like, "My God, this could be the thing that gets me there. This could be the thing." And then, so I went there, went into the hotel lobby, did the whole thing, and did my thing. Acted my piece and David just looks at me and he was like, "Where did you say you're from?" And I was like, "Well, I'm actually going to school here." And he's like, "You want to transfer?" I was like, "Yeah, that would be great." And he just looked at me and he was like, "Well, I think you're very talented. And I'm going to do my very best to get you to Emerson College." Yeah. That's how I was like, "My God, I'm flying on a cloud nine” And then I actually booked that ticket right in. And that was it. And I was like this must be sign from the Universe, you must go.

Terri Trespicio:
I mean, you did put it out there. I'm just saying.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. 

Terri Trespicio:
And he was like, "Chen, I have one question for you. Do you own a coat? Because you can..."

Chen Tang:
Yeah. Do you need to learn about the hat game and the sock game and the layering game.

Terri Trespicio:
So that man was really... If we're lucky, we have a few people in our lives that really change, help change the course of it.

Terri Trespicio:
Well, let me take you to our last question. And it's the one I ask everyone, which is, what do you think it means to make it? Or what does it mean for you to quote make it? And how will you know when you get there?

Chen Tang:
I think making it as a mindset, I really do. I know that sounds fruitfully artsy-fartsy. I think making this a mindset because for me, I feel I've made it every day even when I was starving and broke. And when I moved to New York and it was freezing, and just [inaudible 00:42:10] stamps and stuff, I still knew that I was like, I'm just pursuing my dreams, man. That is making it if you really think about it.

Terri Trespicio:
And if you were to look ahead, someone said, "Guess what? In this year you're going to have this gig. You're going to be on this show." If someone could come into the past and tell you that, would you have said, "I guess that means I'm going to make it." In your mind, was making it, making the rent or was making it, making a career of acting.

Chen Tang:
I think making it for me would be whatever had been in my imagination and my heart to really, really feel full and complete, to achieve that for that to come into existence, that to me was making it. Whatever that might be. There's no judgment about that. If money isn't put into your fame or just doing what you love to do or having a big house, all these things, those are all part of it. And I welcome all of it. And to achieve that, once you achieve that, I have a real belief that then our hearts want to have something else and then you're in the pursuit of making it again.

Terri Trespicio:
So it's an ongoing thing. So I was going to say sounds like you made it Chen.

Chen Tang:
Hey, I'm honestly hesitant to say that sometimes.

Terri Trespicio:
You are. Let me tell you, everyone gets a little squirrely around this question, which is exactly why I ask it. It's okay to own the success. It sounds as if you've made it thus far.

Chen Tang:
I have. 

Terri Trespicio:
And you are going to continue.

Chen Tang:
Thank you for saying that because that is one of the things that I'm working on too, of just being to celebrate our successes as much as to remember our low points and quote unquote failures and whatever. I want to celebrate the successes and really experience pleasure as well as sadness and the good side and the bad side too because that's all a big part of our lives and I'm working on owning that and I'm honestly just, I'm grateful to be where I am. Every day I wake up and I'm just like, I try to get my attitude to say, "I did that. And wow that happened. I'm still in the pursuit." But I'm still like, yeah, what's the next thing? So that's always exciting to me too.

Terri Trespicio:
Still in it and he's got hat game and sock game people.

Chen Tang:
Yeah. I love it. Yeah. One more of those callbacks and that might be it. That might be it.

Terri Trespicio:
How can I know that? You make it so easy. Chen Tang, everybody. Chen thank you so much.

Chen Tang:
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you.