We had the good fortune of connecting with Anisa Khamvongsa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anisa, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is about charging towards uncharted waters regardless of what lies ahead. I know of the phrase “bigger risk, bigger reward” but I’ve come to embrace “any risk, always a reward.” The reward being a lesson learned or more experience gained. Risk is what allowed me to ditch my complacency and transform the way I approach my life and career in comedy. In life, taking risks gave me the gift of discovering more about myself and who I want to be. My mom took a risk as a young woman when she swam across the Mekong River to escape from Laos, which fell under communist rule in the 50s. Despite the uncertainty of her future, she crossed that river and arrived in Thailand without a drop of knowledge of what would come next.
I’ve approached my life in the same way by taking the initiative to be proactive about my mental health. For so long, I felt trapped in a dark storm. I wasn’t doing what I wanted in life and wasn’t confident in who I was. I felt unhappy with everything. I knew about therapy but never really looked into it because I thought I should just tough it out. Once I stopped worrying about how going to therapy would look to the people around me, I reached out. Therapy ignited a small fire inside me and its main purpose was to take care of myself and continue to grow. My therapist recommended Mindfulness, specifically MBSR(Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), early on in our sessions together. I signed up for the next eight week course and spent a good chunk of money on something I didn’t fully know would work.
MBSR transformed the way I approached life and in return it did the same for my career as a comedian! Allowing myself to have experiences that I learn from and being kind to myself really changed my relationship with having a high risk career. I believe that performers and artists take risks everyday. It’s a risk to want to share yourself with the world and let alone try to earn a living doing it. Why would I risk instability, rejection, and heartache for a life and career of struggle? Because it makes me happy! Once I realized that life is whatever you make it, I stopped feeling stuck. I learned to take risks all the time. I get out of my comfort zone often and it feels worth it to see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. I’ve learned to be open to spontaneity and embrace adapting to the present. By taking risks, the confidence and insight inside me is always growing. Being yourself is always high risk, but it always pays off!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’d like to think my delightful flavor and enthusiasm of a young person sets me apart from others. I want to give a positive experience filled with joy and fun. I am most excited about doing more auditions now that I am commercially represented! I got to where I am today by staying true to myself and taking risks. Being part of the comedy community in LA has helped me feel less alone on a journey I feared. My resilience and tenacity helped me overcome the challenges that come with wanting to be a performer. One of the lessons I learned along the way is to not be too precious about anything, do your work and enjoy the present. I want the world to know that comedy can be healing, it was for me. I want to show that using art as a form of therapy can help those that are dog paddling their way through emotional experiences and trauma. In my art, acceptance is always a given.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Andre’s Italian on 3rd street! One of my best friends recently brought me to eat here. Great value, decor, and food since 1963! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to two peers I had the pleasure of writing my first original pilot script with: Rocky Strobel & Cooper Kenward! I also want to shoutout two of my biggest fans: my partner, Ann, and my therapist, Janet!