We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Yang and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I used to think about risk like, “What if I take a leap of faith and I fail?” It was always in the negative. Dealing with imposter syndrome and self-doubt, I found it hard to believe the other way around could be true: “What if I take a leap, and I succeed?” And looking back on moments in my life or career, I can’t say definitively that there was a moment that I “made it,” and that leap paid off in perpetuity. In high school, I majored in journalism when a lot of my classmates, particularly my fellow Asian Americans, followed the path to become doctors. And recently, I quit my journalism job to pursue TV writing. These were risks, leaps of faith. I can’t say I’m a successful showrunner, swimming in money. However, I feel creatively fulfilled. I’m excited to write in the morning. I learned a lot from journalism school that I still use in my writing to this day. I’ve scored wins here and there, and written work I’m proud of.

And I’ve realized that every decision you make is a risk, i.e. spending your precious time or money to apply to a job or program, often facing a tiny percent acceptance rate. I’ve applied to hundreds and hundreds of jobs–and it just takes that one yes. And one risk can set the groundwork for rewards you never thought was within reach.

As a natural introvert, I sometimes fear making the first move. But I put myself out there to help facilitate a writers’ group over two years ago, and that group has grown and thrived throughout the pandemic. And now, our group is taking a huge risk to create our own comedy series! We’ve already put in hundreds of hours and it’s been difficult at points, but we’re betting on ourselves. Not to go viral or get rich from it, but to grow as writers, learn to work as part of a team, and support other creatives of color in an industry that’s traditionally shut us out. We’re taking that leap of faith and defining success in our own terms, to mean growth, community, support, and artistic fulfillment.

Not a professional achievement but I’m pretty proud of the Yule log I made for Christmas!

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Whether it’s through journalism, comedy writing, or screenwriting, I focus a lot on Asian-centered stories. As a 1.5-generation immigrant, I felt out of place growing up in Upstate New York, and often couldn’t relate to American Born Chinese nor Chinese international students. Because of that diversity within my own communities, I resented stereotypes about Asian people that portray us as a monolith.

I’ve discussed the “dumb Asian” trope for Teen Vogue and criticized the impact of “Bling Empire” for Entertainment Weekly. As a screenwriter, I’ve written about Asian American misfits in larger-than-life situations (like being mentored by a genie at a Buddhist temple—we’ve all been there, right?).

I’m proud of recent bylines on comedy sites like Reductress and the Lunar Times. I’m excited for what the future holds, especially since there’s no roadmap to follow, or category to fit into in life.

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?
For food: Hunan Chili King in San Gabriel Valley, Oo-Kook Korean BBQ in Koreatown, KazuNori (any of the locations), Tsujita in Sawtelle; I could go on for hours about all the great food in LA. Before the pandemic, going to UCB shows at Franklin was super fun and affordable. Watching a movie at Alamo Drafthouse is a must. As an alternative to Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach, relax at Manhattan Beach or have a bonfire at Dockweiler, instead.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My writing mentors Craig and Minoti, my partner Rogelio, and my mom. And of course, the Bricks & Scones writers’ group (named after the cafe in LA where we had our first meeting)! And now many of us are working on our comedy series, “The Runs,” together. So stay tuned…

Website: rachel-yang.com

Instagram: instagram.com/rachelwyang

Twitter: twitter.com/@_rachelyang

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.