We had the good fortune of connecting with Anzu Lawson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anzu, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
HAPPINESS is an INSIDE job. I remember filming my first American movie “American Yakuza” opposite Viggo Mortensen (available free on Amazon Prime Video) & Viggo, being the poet that he is, was a man of very few words. One day after we wrapped, he leaned over and said “Don’t let acting… be everything” and slipped away until we filmed our love scene another day. I thought… what an odd thing to say. I was so “green” but I never forgot it. Having been raised by a tough Tiger mom, I ONLY focused on work, sacrificing relationships & vacations in order to “make it” to prove my existence. Many years later, as the Hollywood hustle wore and tore through my dreams in many “dark nights of the soul,” those words would loop in my head like a bad Britney Spears chorus on repeat. Years later, I finally understood what Viggo meant. For we, as humans, are conditioned by media, music & people to put all our power and self-worth outside of ourselves, by seeking approval, love, credits & validation somewhere else. This creates a perpetual loop of speculation and misery, constantly trying to feed the ever-illusive ego in a “compare & despair” mentality. After years of self-medicating, bad behavior & soul searching, I walked into Peet’s coffee on Ventura Blvd and ran into my actor friend Jeff Kober, who happened to be teaching Vedic Meditation. (Most people know it as TM). I was skeptical of course, having tried every modality under the sun to feel better about the unforgiving career path I chose. He gave me a mantra. A tool/meditation that literally saved my sanity and allowed me to connect to the true “Source.” I had an experience of being “other than” my small self trying to get the next imdb credit. I was gifted with “balance” and a new way to move through life without being tormented every day. Now, twice a day (if I’m good) for 20 minutes a day, I get to create balance in my life from within. I get to be reminded that “no job or person” is everything and that I get to be happy, loved & accepted just by being me. I wish everyone this peace; that is always available if we just sit still long enough. I find myself always talking my creative friends off the ledge, reminding them that… there is nothing outside themselves. Thank you Viggo, for your pearl of wisdom and I wish everyone peace, bliss and balance in this every changing “outside circumstance.” Balance & bliss is just a meditation away. If this is something you need, you can go to www.jeffkobermeditation.com and try it for yourself.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a half Asian-American actress/Screenwriter/Stand-Up Comic. Native to Los Angeles but spent half my formative years in Japan as a J-Pop teen star on a Japanese record label. Back in the ’90s, being an Asian actor meant you were either a martial artist, concubine or a one-liner doctor, but NEVER the lead in any tv show or film. I am really happy to see the efforts of inclusivity and diversity happening in Hollywood today, but we still have a very long way to go. I am currently working on a TV project with the Two-time Academy Award/Golden Globe-winning Nick Vallelonga for “GREEN BOOK”, on a passion project of ours that speaks to the disease of ‘racism” in history. Nick & I are both dedicated to telling stories of the underdogs that prevail, shedding light and hope for all of humanity, every reminding future generations that; We are All One. One human race.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would surprise their taste buds with a unique Vegan eatery ala; Monty’s Good Burger, El Cocinero Mexican Al’s burrito or a fancy dinner at Pura Vita (the only Vegan all Italian restaurant in America) and then take them to a Co-ed Korean Spa hidden in Korea Town and then maybe a roller-skating adventure in Venice/Santa Monica Blvd in the day. Comedy shows and Theatres are coming back now after the pandemic, so I would probably hit up the Comedy Chateau on Lankershim Blvd. on a Saturday night or see if the Toledo Show is happening in Weho at that hotel off Santa Monica Blvd. again.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Jeff Kober and his meditation services. www.Jeff-Kober.com
*The Womb – movie *Raul Guzman *The Viking & The Pendulum – movie *Zumi Starre (Headshot)