We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Zhang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, how do you think about risk?
I think not taking a risk is the most dangerous thing in life. Put a frog in a pot of warm water and heat it up, the frog will die without feeling the heat.
After getting my bachelor’s degree in Photography in China. I decided to pursue an acting career when I could easily get a well-paid job as a photographer. And I wanted to take a risky path by applying for American schools for the best education. Without any acting background I came to the United States and auditioned. Now I’m graduating from Calarts as an actor. Life would not take me onto this path if I didn’t choose to take the risks.
So I think taking risks is essential in life, especially for the people who want to shoot for the stars. Risks are challenging, exciting and fun for me. I get motivation from taking risks. And I always choose the path full of risks because that’s how I can climb higher. Taking risks makes me stronger and better, it helps me stay out of my comfort zone.
You live because of the risks, and you die in comfort.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As an actor, I try to live a simple and healthy life because I want to keep my desire at the lowest level and keep my body in the best shape. I try my best to devote all I have to my characters. I don’t judge my characters, instead I hear them, respect them and defend them. I believe in hard work. I work hard without thinking about the rewards. I don’t dream about fame or fortune, all I want is doing art that I like.
It was challenging for me to be an actor here when English is not my first language. I spent a lot of time working on my speech with my instructors. And a good friend of mine helped me open my throat chakra so now I’m not scared of expressing myself in English anymore. There will always be challenges in life and all you need to do is keep your head down and overcome them.
The most important lessons that I learned? Always try new things, shut up and do the work.
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?
Well there is a Japanese Ramen restaurant in Santa Clarita called Masa Ramen and they make really authentic Japanese Ramen. I go there almost every week when I need some comfort. Also One Bite Dumpling in Santa Clarita has really good Chinese food. Real Chinese food, not General Tso’s Chicken. In LA there is a restaurant called Yamashiro Hollywood. It’s on top of the mountain and you can see a beautiful view of LA city from the restaurant. They have good Japanese food and steak. The restaurant itself is beautiful too and I’ve seen movie stars there.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank my parents for supporting me on this unusual path that I’m taking. They refused to let me choose this path because it was too risky and unreal. But eventually they put their faith in me and believed in what their only son believed in. They got my back unconditionally for my far away dream. Their love and support are all I can ask for.