Photography Joshua Shultz
Stylist Franzy Staedter
Hair Stylist Hasblady Guzman
Hair Assistant Montana Tsai
Make Up Whitney Mervine
By Leslie Wong
Born in the large state of Texas, this gorgeous 5’4” beauty is no stranger to the camera. Arden Cho, also known as KIRA on MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” is making herself known in most entertainment circles, separating her from the rest of the ladies in young Hollywood. Known for her work on Tomb raider, Arden isn’t only known for her acting, but she’s also a published recording artist with a voice to make you swoon. Previously crowned Miss Korea Chicago, Arden is a hard-working inspiration to young Asian Americans and continues to make strides for the Asian community. Bellus Magazine got the opportunity to sit down with this pretty lady to get her take on working in Hollywood:
Bellus Magazine (BM): Tell us how you got started in the business?
Arden Cho (AC): I started studying theater at University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign. That eventually led me to working on independent films. After graduating college I moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time.
BM: Had you always wanted to be an actress?
AC: Not always, when I was young I wanted to be a singer, but I had terrible stage fright. Acting eventually became a passion for me because I could perform, which I loved, but not as myself. It was refreshing and challenging at the same time. Stretching myself to be vulnerable in acting also led me to overcome my fear of singing in public.
BM: What projects are you currently working on?
AC: I’m filming an episode of Castle this week and working on my music. Next week we’ll be going back into production for Teen Wolf.
BM: Do you like the character Kira, which you’re playing on Teen Wolf?
AC: I absolutely love her! Kira is so fun to play. It’s a dream role for me.
BM: What do you they have in-store for Kira?
AC: They’ve got some romance and action in store for her. We’ve seen a little bit so far, but there is definitely a lot more to come.
BM: What it like working with the cast?
AC: It’s amazing — everyone is so talented and different. All the actors bring something unique to the table and it’s been a great learning experience working with them.
BM: What are the challenges of being an Asian American woman in this industry?
AC: Honestly, there aren’t many opportunities for Asian American women, so that’s a disadvantage. Usually the roles available are “sexy” characters. I’ve had a couple of those, but I’ve turned down more than I’ve taken. I found some of the roles were not the direction I wanted for my career. I think in the past couple years it’s definitely has improved and gotten much better. It’s great to see so many talented Asian American women and men with empowering characters on network television!
BM: Do you think you are pigeonholed because of your ethnicity?
AC: Sometimes, but I think it’s definitely getting better.
BM: Do you think the industry is changing to allow for more opportunities for minorities?
AC: Every day, especially as we have more and more writers, directors and producers that are minorities. They can bring the stories they know to life.
BM: How often are you going out for the roles you want and not some stereotypical role?
AC: All the time! I have an amazing agent and team that gets me into auditions for roles that I want. Even if the breakdown says “caucasian, 20’s girl etc etc,” they still get me into the auditions if all the other characteristics fit. Ultimately if it just won’t work because I’m “Asian” then it is what it is. I’m still thankful for the opportunity to at least audition and be in the room.
BM: What do you think you can do in your position to change stereotypes?
AC: Just be myself. I was born and raised in Texas, went to high school in Minnesota, and college in Illinois. I think I’m as “American” as it gets. Sure I’m still Asian American, Korean American, but at the end of the day I’m no different than anyone else in America. People are slowly starting to understand. Especially with my character Kira on Teen Wolf, it’s great to see the writers making her just a normal high school girl. She does have a few supernatural powers, but overall she’s very normal and not stereotypical.
BM: Where do you see yourself and your career in 5-10 years? Will you still be acting?
AC: I hope so. I’d love to be a series regular on a show like Castle, Law and Order SVU, Rizzoli and Isles. It would be great to work on a detective show and on some films as well.
BM: You sing as well? What has your experience been like as a recording artist?
AC: Yes mostly for fun, but last year I released my first EP album on iTunes! It’s been really encouraging because my fans have been very supportive of my music. I’m still working on it every day and I hope to release a full-length album this year. My favorite part of music has been being able to connect with my fans, touring universities, and meeting everyone face to face. It’s amazing!
BM: What kind of advice would you give others who are trying to act or sing?
AC: If you love it, go for it, but only if you absolutely love it. It’s a tough industry emotionally and mentally, but if performing is what brings you joy then work hard to be the best actor or singer you can be. Believe in yourself and put your heart into it.
Check out the behind the scenes video from the Bellus Magazine Photo shoot with Arden Cho…