Establishing Myself in LA

It’s been awhile now, but I’m here in LA, Lalaland, Hollywood, what have you, and am very excited to see what this move will bring me in terms of my acting career.  As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a performer and I dreamed of being in the movies, and working in Hollywood.  I’m not doing too bad out here so far, as I’ve signed with Stephany Burns at Avalon Artists Group through a friend’s introduction.  The friend I speak of is none other than Kate Boyer, the lovely redhead who played my best friend in the pilot of Those Who Kill on A&E (Fox21).  She has some killer scenes, so look out for the premiere!

I also just heard that another actor I worked with on Those Who Kill, the very talented Omid Abtahi, has been officially cast as Homes in Mockingjay, the next installment in The Hunger Games trilogy.  Congratulations, Omid!

Omid Abtahi, homes, mockingjay, hunger games

Omid Abtahi as Homes

So far, I’ve been on a number of auditions and had a couple holds but nothing solid yet.  I did pick up a featured gig on ABC’s new show Mixology, so you might see me pop up for a quick second in one of the episodes.  I started a Meisner Technique program at the Ruskin School of Acting, which I absolutely love!  I can already feel that I’m growing as an actor under John Ruskin’s guidance.

sanford meisner, meisner, john ruskin

Sanford Meisner (left) with John Ruskin in 1986

I’m looking forward to producing some new projects with some of my classmates, so stay tuned for updates…

In other aspects of life, I’ve got some beauty product recommendations for skin, hair, and health.

SKIN–For a few years, I was having issues with acne on my forehead.  I’d heard a lot of great things about the Clarisonic from several friends but didn’t think too much about it.  Once I got out here, I figured I should invest in one and check out all the hype.  I could write it off, and everyone I knew who used one swore by it.  Well, lo and behold, look at the improvement from before I started to a couple months after.  I had a minor breakout this week but, you can still see a pretty marked difference.  I had some hyperpigmentation from old blemishes and they got rid of them!

Final grade for the Clarisonic:  A  (** These Clarisonic links I included jump to the specific set I ordered off Amazon, but if you want more info on the brush you can pop over to their direct site http://www.clarisonic.com, but it is cheaper to buy it on Amazon!)

clarisonic before and after

My personal results from using the Clarisonic Aria!

 

HAIR–I have pretty long hair now.  All of that hair is pretty old towards the bottom.  Prone to dryness and breakage, as well as split ends, I tried to be extra gentle with it.  I’d been trying a bunch of shampoos and conditioners, ones with argan oil, moroccan blends, you name it.  Nothing was working that well.  Then, since I’d been slowly switching to more natural products for the home anyway, I thought I’d try the “no ‘poo” method.  I mixed up a bottle of the baking soda “shampoo”, and a bottle of the apple cider vinegar “conditioner” with some tangerine and lavender oil to help cancel the pungent smell.  I also got on a schedule of washing my hair only once every 3 or 4 days, and actually brushing it well to help distribute the oils.  It worked alright, my hair was shinier, but every time I worked out and got hot, it was a little stinky from the ACV.  I eventually went through my solutions, and was looking up shampoos for Asian hair and heard a lot about the Shiseido Tsubaki hair treatment line.  A bunch of Asian women gave it rave reviews for their long hair.  I found a set on Amazon and ordered and have since used it just once and I can literally feel a huge difference.  Normally, the ends of my hair feel pretty crispy and straw-like, and with the specially formulated blend of Camellia oil in their line, the Shiseido Tsubaki has already improved the softness of my hair.  It’s still too early to tell since I’ve only tried it once, but I’d say from the results of using it only once and feeling the difference, that I’m going to love this line.

Tentative grade for Shiseido Tsubaki:  A

Shiseido Tsubaki

Shiseido Tsubaki camellia oil hair care

***I’ll try and update with a photo tomorrow after my haircut!****   Here’s the new coif!  It’s styled here, but I got my much needed trim and the ends are nice again.  Thanks to Arch at 9022!

Cindy Chu haircut

My awesome trim/styling by Arch at 9022 Salon in Los Angeles

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindychu/9940780013/&#8221; title=”Found a new hair stylist, Arch at 9022.  Super stoked to find a worthy replacement from my Joshie!  First LA haircut!  He even styled it for me for my audition. ☺️ by cindychu, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7388/9940780013_ae08a0e46a.jpg&#8221; width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Found a new hair stylist, Arch at 9022.  Super stoked to find a worthy replacement from my Joshie!  First LA haircut!  He even styled it for me for my audition. ☺️”></a>

HEALTH–Some of you know I lost a lot of weight last year by following a diet that included mostly just legumes, proteins, and vegetables, and that really helped bring my body back under control.  I was still a bit in denial about the need for working out, as I was so tired from waiting tables all the time, I figured that counted for working out.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t truly cardio and it only worked a few muscles.  Once I came out to LA, I couldn’t escape working out.  Everyone here is so fit!  I am in Venice now, and live fairly close to the beach.  I had no excuse to not go for bike rides or runs with the beach right there.  So I started running and biking and walking more.  I also stopped drinking so much, no more after work beers with the crew, and that definitely helped with losing some bloat and cutting down on carbs.  Then a friend of mine suggested I try a bar class for toning up, and I found one close by, The Bar Method.  I started with their intro month special, $100 for the first 30 days.  I took some before photos, and just 2 weeks in I was starting to see some results in my posture and the lift of my derriere, as well as a flattening of my tummy.  It’s an amazing lifting and toning workout, isometric in nature, and is pretty much a blend of ballet, yoga, and pilates.  I’ve never had well-defined abs before in my life, and I’m getting pretty close to that now!  The Bar Method has changed my body completely.  I can’t wait to see more progress in the next few months.

The difference two years can make… 😀

before and after, bar method, success, bar method results

Little tweaks, or isometrics, can lead to big changes. 😉

bar butt, bar method, before and after, lift and tone

My Bar Butt

cindy chu, bikini, bar method, before and after

I got a bit too excited about my progress and couldn’t decide between these Topshop bikinis, so I got all three! Eh! 🙂

Alright, so I was working out a ton and thought I was eating right, but I wasn’t seeing a big change on the scale.  I had gained a little winter (ahem, beer!!!) weight in Michigan and wanted to lose it, and I knew I was building muscle and toning up, but I was still about the same weight on the scale.  I decided to start using MyFitnessPal to keep track of my calories in and was shocked to realize why I wasn’t losing very much weight was because I was overcompensating when eating, canceling out my progress working out.  I quickly realized I had to downsize my portions and caloric intake to see faster results.  Since joining and in combination with everything else, I’ve lost about 4 pounds, and am down a jean size to 26.  I was kind of at that size last year with all the initial weight loss but that was through diet alone and I didn’t have the toned look I wanted.  This time around, I wanted to do it all right.  I remember a couple months ago there was a pair of jeans I really wanted from Free People but I tried on the right size and as they were  little low-slung, and I still had a bit more middle, they didn’t look very good.  I went back and tried them on a few weeks later and they fit really well and so I got them, and now they’re even a tiny bit loose.  I really can’t say enough about The Bar Method and MyFitnessPal.

Final grades for The Bar Method and MyFitnessPal: A+ all the way!

If you want an easy way to log your weight on MyFitnessPal and have wifi at home, you can get a FitBit Aria scale, (in black OR white!) and link it up with your MyFitnessPal and it will sync it automatically to your account.  The only weird thing about mine is it syncs my weight as .1lb more than it reads on the scale, which is a little weird but other than that, it’s great, and I love the automatic syncing option.

Final grade for the FitBit Aria:  A-

fitbit, aria, scale

My FitBit Aria scale, synced and ready to go!

And in case you want to check out what it’s like at sunset in Venice, which is when I like to go out for a jog, here’s a little clip of tonight’s sunset.  😀  (Couldn’t figure out the Instagram embedding…you’ll have to click through!)

Happy Holidays, now what?

Cindy Chu and Santa Claws Jinxie Cat

A holiday greeting from Jinxie and I to you and yours this beautiful holiday season! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Pittsburgh was wonderful!  I got back home last week from filming on Those Who Kill, and it was great hanging out with my fellow cast mates James D’Arcy (Master and Commander with Russell Crowe), James Morrison (TV show 24, Jarhead, Catch Me If You Can), Chloe Sevigny (Big Love), Omid Abtahi, Ryan O’Nan, and Kate Boyer, along with getting to chat with my director Joe Carnahan (The Grey) about growing up in Michigan and his next project Undying Love, and rehashing scenes from Willard (starring the great Crispin Glover) and What Is It? with Glen Morgan.  I ran into a couple production people I’d met in Michigan, too.  My costumer Tony also worked on Red Dawn, and one of our craft services peeps was on LOL (starring Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore).  Small world getting smaller.

While having the weekend off, the actors got together and watched some work from a couple of us, including Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, nominated multiple times for Best Original Song in the Oscars (listen to the soundtrack), and Showing Up, an interview style documentary about auditions that can be a very meaningful watch for more than just actors, really, but anyone who has dreams he/she wants to pursue and is afraid to try.  It was all very inspiring for me to be amongst these working actors and film professionals who are doing what they love, and making a living at it.  A few conversations with them about the perks of moving to LA got my internal clock ticking again.  It’s something I’ve been talking about for as long as I remember but I keep holding off, citing money as a reason.  Another reason is to get myself a little bit more into the niche market here in the Midwest and East Coast as THE young Asian actress to hire, but it’s still a matter of do I want to hit the big time, because if I do, I will need to make the move at some point.  When we Skyped last night, my sister said if I didn’t do by June 2013 she’d be very disappointed in me.  So, maybe LA this next year?  So many things to think about as we enter the post-Mayan calendar.  Looks like I’ve got to make some huge New Year’s resolutions…

For now, I will have to wait and see if Those Who Kill’s pilot gets approval once it’s edited, and then we’d all get to watch it on A&E.  If not, it was a grand experience working with the team.  Still waiting to hear back on an audition time for a big project I really want to land but all in good time.

Happy Holidays to you all!  Remember to enjoy life and follow your dreams!

xoxo,

Cindy

PS: Our family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, but my second brother Mike and I are home enjoying family time with the parents.  Mike has been shooting on a Canon 5D for awhile, which is a full-sensor camera, while I’ve been shooting on a Nikon D7000 which is awesome, but a cropped sensor, and everyone in the film/commercial world I know uses Canons…  I was checking out Canons yesterday and IF I COULD, I’d love to upgrade to the Canon 5d Mark II one day, with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens one day…Maybe next Christmas, a gift for myself if I can kick ass at the whole acting career this year!  It’s okay to get yourself Christmas presents, right?  😛  (All my siblings and I invested in a new 40 inch flat screen for our parents this year.  A huge upgrade from their little 20 inch old-school big box TV…which my mama wants to keep for some reason…)

Cindy Chu Enjoying a mug of coffee at Zenith Antiques in Shadyside, Pittsburgh

Cindy Chu Enjoying a mug of coffee at Zenith Antiques in Shadyside, Pittsburgh

 

The First Presbytarian Church near my hotel, the Omni William Penn

The First Presbytarian Church near my hotel, the Omni William Penn in Pittsburgh

The first coconut I ever cracked

The first coconut I ever cracked

Our honey wagon for Those Who Kill

Our honey wagon for Those Who Kill

One of the dining rooms at Zenith Antiques, Shadyside, Pittsburgh

One of the dining rooms at Zenith Antiques, Shadyside, Pittsburgh

Those Who Kill basecamp Pittsburgh

Those Who Kill basecamp Pittsburgh

Cindy Chu's little dressing room

My little dressing room on Those Who Kill!

Little theater in Pittsburgh, the Harris

Little theater in Pittsburgh, the Harris, where I watched Holy Motors