We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandie Cheng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
While I understand why creators and artists shun the traditional 9-5 and corporate lifestyle, I think the creative industry, as it currently is, does not operate so differently from those constraints. We all want to romanticize the freedom and fulfillment that comes with being in a creative career, but we would be fooling ourselves to believe that it is somehow separate from capitalism. Without the experiences I’ve had working in corporate and tech, I don’t think I would have the necessary skills to advocate for myself and work for myself. I don’t think the creative industry exists in some mystical la la land where “pushing the envelope” is celebrated — it is still very traditional, risk-averse, and individualistic — everything, unfortunately, still operates through the white, capitalistic metrics of success. While there is no other industry I’d rather be in, I would caution fellow creatives of color to seek liberation through representation in media and the arts. Through community care, collaboration, and solidarity, I do believe art can be revolutionary, and I very much believe that we can get there together if we recognize what the industry is today.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a writer, producer, and actor — I’m currently producing a comedy called ‘Imposters,’ with my producing-partner-director-extraordinaire Elizabeth Jaeleigh Davis. Getting where I am today was definitely not easy, but I am grateful for all the opportunities that allowed me to learn and grow along the way. It took me a very long time to understand that in order to get anything done, you must advocate yourself — it’s something that I still struggle with, but I practice advocating for myself and my worth almost every single day. As an Asian-American woman, this is a side of ourselves that we are told to store away, to be meek and kind and polite, to not ask for what you want in case you “rock the boat” too much. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go very far in this industry. You may piss a few people off because you are acting outside of their expectations and stereotypes of you — but so be it.
I will always do what it takes to uplift and champion historically marginalized voices. Right now, my production team and cast are an exceptional, talented group of diverse, beautiful people that I will anything to make sure their work is seen and heard. I’ve never been with such an excited team (both in front and behind the camera), who want to bring ‘Imposters’ to life as much as I do.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be where I am today without my community and those who set the precedence for this path. My shoutout goes to all my creators of color who I currently share space with, who are constantly tasked to work twice as hard to get half as much, who challenge me in not settling for anything less than what I am worthy of, and who never forget to pay homage to our ancestors, leaders, activists, and organizers before us. If you are reading this, you know who you all are.
Heidi Gutman Girls and their Cats