HER JOURNEY | Genevieve Kang

My name is: Genevieve Kang
I grew up in: Kamloops, BC
I currently reside in: Vancouver, BC
I make a living by: Acting
I'm passionate about: Connecting with others (and Japanese sweet potatoes)
My astrological sign is: Capricorn Sun + Moon, Libra Rising
Current mantra: If I can’t see myself, no one will.

Genevieve in the Hera II Necklace

Briefly describe your childhood – the city you grew up in, hobbies?

I grew up in Kamloops, a smaller city in the interior of British Columbia. It’s a lot of forest, but also desert. Winters always brought a great deal of snow, summers were hot and dry. I’m the youngest of four. My father is Chinese and my mother is Portuguese. My childhood was full and diverse spending time with family and honouring the cultural traditions of both my Asian and European ancestries was a big part of my upbringing. So was academia and athletics. I participated in a lot of different sports growing up, most with little personal interest. Instead, I was consumed by my love for creating. I would spend hours drawing, painting, sculpting, crafting, and playing pretend, often by myself. I also loved designing and sketching floor plans, which is a calming hobby I maintain to this day. If I wasn’t acting, I might be an architect.

When did you first discover your love for acting?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dressing up in costumes, writing stories, and putting on one-woman shows for audiences (aka my family). But it wasn’t until age 14, when I performed in a high school production of The Wizard of Oz, that I truly fell in love with acting. 

Genevieve for Abel Wear

Did you always have the innate confidence to act or perform in front of an audience? Or did that build over time?

I was naturally very shy and reserved as a kid. However, performing in front of an audience gave me an outlet to express myself in ways I wasn’t able to otherwise. It provided a safe space to be vulnerable and explore aspects of myself, and to be seen in a way that wasn’t available to me when I wasn’t performing. Many actors will say that their work is a form of escapism from self. For me, acting is a deeper exploration of self.

What is it about the art of acting that you are most passionate about?

Connection. How meaningful connection requires us to be present. Whether I’m acting in a scene alone or with another actor, I’m always seeking to connect — to the text, to my environment, to myself, to another person. As an audience member, I’m intrigued by a performance when I feel in some way connected to what I’m consuming. I’m moved when I’m able to experience a sense of community, relationship, or belonging. The art of acting and of storytelling has the power to make people feel less alone.

Genevieve for Abel Wear

Can you name a few actors or artists that have inspired you?

I adore actress/writer/director Greta Gerwig, as well as Diane Keaton and Laura Dern. Major girl crushes. I also really admire Natalie Portman and Alicia Vikander. All of these women have such immense talent and incredible bodies of work. Outside of my industry, I’m a longtime fan of two artists who I believe also influence your work: Georgia O’Keeffe and Isamu Noguchi. Both artists express shapes and imagery of natural beauty, forms of ease and playfulness. As I mentioned, I’m also interested in architecture. I’m most drawn to minimalist, organic, and elemental details of Scandinavian and Japanese design. Yo Shimada, Frank Lloyd Wright, and various Danish and Swedish architects, whose work I’m still discovering, are all wonderfully inspirational to me. Whatever the medium — film, painting, sculpture, architecture — I always come back to this notion of connection. To others, to nature, to ourselves. There is strength in the vulnerability of truthful connection, which is what I find each of these artists is so well at articulating.

The career path of an artist can be a challenging one, full of ebb and flow. What is a significant challenge you’ve faced along your path, and how did you navigate and learn from it?

A significant challenge for me has been attempting to understand how more difficult chapters within my personal life can negatively impact my work versus other times when such experiences have actually helped to fuel my artistry. I’ve had a number of moments in my career where I’ve had to take a step back and pause, because personal matters were affecting how I was showing up to my work. Other times, I’ve been able to use my work as a means by which to actually process and express some of what I’m going through in real life. Currently and new to my experience, I’m undergoing a great deal of personal change and transformation, while at the same time I feel as though I’m being invited to uplevel or bring more to my work. This is terrifying for me, simply because it’s the unknown. Needless to say, I don’t want to give a non-answer but I have yet to distinguish a blueprint or clear set of instructions for how to overcome what, I suppose, many might refer to as an artistic block. My experiences so far feel very independent of one another and circumstantial. Messy and undefined. 


Genevieve in the Vida Necklace

Creative pursuits always involve constant self-discovery along the way. Throughout your journey as an actor, what have you discovered about yourself?

My best work happens when I trust myself. This is true about my work as an actor and in my personal life. For my acting, this looks like showing up to set with the ability to trust in my preparation, to let go and relinquish control, and to be open to collaborating with others. When I’m trusting myself —  both on and off set —  I experience less inner resistance. I’m able to exist in a state of surrender and flow. I’m not saying this is easy or that I’ve come anywhere close to the mastery of this process, but it is a great lesson that acting continues to teach me. 

You’re currently acting on Netflix’s Locke & Key, now in its second season – which is absolutely incredible! What has been one of your favourite moments on set, to-date?

We filmed part of season one last year in Nova Scotia. There were some exterior shots we did in the woods and outside of some caves at the edge of a cliff. It was a few really long cold night shoots (and a lot of mosquitoes, which I’ll never miss), but there was something about those particular scenes and being on location, with the Atlantic waves crashing against the rocks below us, that made the whole experience kind of magical. Sometimes when I’m at work, I’ll have moments where it just hits me how lucky I am to get to do what I love. Even with the long hours in the cold rain during those night shoots, that was one of those moments. 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone with aspirations to be an actor and is just entering the industry?

Discover your ‘why’ and define your non-negotiables, revisit them often. The industry can be really brutal and full of rejection. It can also be an environment where others like to categorize and project onto you their idea of who you are. So it’s important to determine your values as an artist and as part of a business. Also, be okay with your ‘why’ changing. Surround yourself with a network of people who support your vision. Get out of your own way and get to work. That’s more than one piece of advice, but they’re all equally important!

I deeply admire how you use your platform to advocate for causes you believe in and support. (This isn’t a question, I just wanted to share that. THANK YOU for being you, and for using your voice in such inspiring ways).

Thank you so much. I think if you have a public platform of any kind, it’s important — and dare I say, you have a responsibility — to vocalize what it is you’re passionate about. The world needs you. 

Genevieve is an ambassador for The One Movement, an organization that
recently launched 
reusable water bottles that support the removal of ocean
plastic, and build homes for the homeless.

Who is a hero in your life?

Wow, what a question. I admire a lot of people in my life for different reasons. My parents are probably the most hardworking, committed, and selfless people I know. I don’t think they’ve ever taken a day off in their lives. Their dedication and drive is inspiring. Then I have my incredible friends, who are artists and entrepreneurs. They’re my heroes for taking a risk and going after something that society might name frivolous, but that for them is their passion and art. It takes a lot of courage to pursue what we love when the world around us consists of systems that are built to break us down rather than to support us. Any of my friends who have chosen to step outside of the box and risk failure are truly inspirational to me.

Name one thing, upcoming, that you’re excited for, personally or professionally?

Walks along the Sea Wall in Vancouver. I’m currently in Toronto filming season two of Locke & Key and the lake just doesn’t compare to the medicine of that salty Pacific Ocean.

What current rituals or activities of self-care bring you the most joy and peace of mind?

The slowness and uncertainty of this year has reminded me about the important practice and appreciation of finding micro meditations in my everyday life, as opposed to completing a checklist of self-care practices on autopilot. It’s easy for me to create routine and follow instructions. In contrast, I find it much more challenging to simply be present and lean into the moment. Therefore, I really took advantage of the time and space allowance gifted to me this year to tune in as often as possible throughout my day; to ask myself what I need in the moment versus defaulting to a pre-programmed practice or behaviour. This could be as simple as choosing to take a walk along the ocean instead of doing the yoga practice I had planned. It could be napping, because my body is calling for rest. It could be laying on my living room floor and cuddling my cat as an afternoon moment of bliss. It could be substituting my morning matcha with golden milk. Rituals can be beautiful and are a key part of who I am, but more importantly is my evolving capacity for being intentional about what those rituals look like with each day. For me, it’s a practice for embracing fluidity and change. What works for me today might not work for me tomorrow.

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