Interview With Kenny Ridwan | I can
The only person that can close the gap between the desire to succeed in what you want and actually succeeding, is you. Whether you believe in hard work, or in being persistent in seeing the right opportunity, by taking your own inner power in your hands, you will align with the idea of ‘I can.’ Then, you will feel your way through to realize that things are always working out for you.
The talented and passionate young actor Kenny Ridwan, who can be seen on Season 6 of ABC’s hit series “The Goldbergs” says,
“(…) Things that are truly out of your control you should not be worried about them. I honestly believe that when you want something that is in your reach, you are your only impediment.”
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Kenny Ridwan?
I am a student, actor, and writer. I enjoy playing chess, watching movies, and telling dad jokes. I’m also a dog guy and I have an appreciation for a good book. Wow, I just realized I described a fun uncle (laughs).
- You began your acting career at a very early age. What amazes you the most about the process of becoming someone else?
I started when I was 11. I still remember I told my mom and stepdad I wanted to be Asian Tom Cruise. I still can’t believe they believed that pitch, but they supported me all the way. I think the most amazing thing about the process is the ability to place yourself in the thought process of someone else. Of course, it’s an acting technique, but it also helps you step into the shoes of other people in non-acting situations. It’s a little bit like a positive feedback loop. Sometimes I get an audition and I’m like: “Wow, I know someone exactly like this,” and I almost base the character on them. On the other hand, I’ve met people who remind me of a character I’ve played, and it helps me relate with them on a personal level.
- There are many talents that are putting in a lot of hard work to make it in the entertainment industry but not all of them succeed. If the effort is not enough, what do you think is the formula then?
I think entertainment is like any other industry, success is when hard work and luck meet. When I first started acting, I was frankly terrible. I didn’t even know I needed to memorize my lines. I was in classes for about a year before I booked anything. If I’m being honest, I have blind faith in hard work. I believe that if you put in the work in classes and for auditions, success will come. For me, it’s just based on how long you’re willing to wait for the right opportunity.
- How do you embrace a situation during an audition if it didn’t go as you thought it would?
My first network test was exactly one of those situations. For those that don’t know, a network test is usually the final step before you book the role, so I was very nervous. I was also 14 and pretty inexperienced. I really wanted the role, so I practiced the scene neurotically until I thought I had it down. I walked into the room and David Schwimmer was sitting right in front of me. I was like “Oh s***, that’s Ross from Friends.” I was super starstruck, I just flubbed the scene. He gave me a second chance and I just flubbed again. Surprise – I didn’t get the role. Today, I’m grateful for those mistakes because I learned that moving on from a bad audition is the best thing that you can do. There is always another opportunity.
- You currently can be seen as Dave Kim on Season 6 of ABC’s hit series “The Goldbergs” where you joined the cast of its first season. It seems that you almost grew up with the show. How do you feel you have evolved as a person and how has it affected your character?
Well, I was 14 when I started on the show, and now I’m almost 20. I definitely grew up on the show; Sean and I just talked about how our formative years are all basically documented. I don’t think I can briefly sum up the differences between pubescent Kenny and me now. I think I can really just say that I’m much more mature and I definitely care a lot less about what other people think about me. Dave Kim is definitely on that journey with me. If anything, he has helped me out on my own journey. His unwavering confidence to say/do exactly what’s on his mind has helped me develop into the person I am today.
- One of Dave Kim’s characteristics is him wearing a turtleneck. We’ve heard that in the beginning it was uncomfortable for you and now you look forward to wearing it. How did you refocus your attitude to loving it?
Stockholm syndrome. No (laughs), I just like acting and I love the cast and crew of The Goldbergs, so I think I connected the turtleneck with the love I have for the craft and for the people.
- The cast of the “The Goldbergs” is absolutely amazing. How does the relationship between the team members during the creative process influence the show’s final result?
We’re really a big family. Whether it’s Lew [Schneider] giving me life advice, Hayley [Orrantia] giving me love advice, or Wendi [Mclendon-Covey] just being a wonderful person, we just get along so well. It’s a really comfortable environment, and I think that there is an aspect of working for one another. I think this selflessness and family environment really facilitates the creative process for us.
- What was the most amusing moment for you so far during the filming of “The Goldbergs?”
We had a Phantom of The Opera episode, and I had to sing a song as the Phantom. I can’t sing for my life, but I went to a recording studio and I sang my heart out. It actually sounded good!…… Autotune is magical.
- Given the opportunity to write a role for yourself, what kind of character would it be? Please elaborate.
I think I would play a superhero with my family dynamic. I basically grew up in a half-American half-Chinese household, and I don’t think that story has been told yet. The superpower would be mind-reading, however, the character struggles with the burden of knowing what everyone is thinking.
- You currently divide your time between New York, where you study creative writing, and Los Angeles to film “The Goldbergs.” How do you balance your energy between your personal life and your professional requirements?
Columbia is a pretty demanding school and the flying schedule I have is also demanding. I basically fly to LA on Thursday nights, work on Fridays, then fly back to NY on Saturday. If I’m being honest, it all comes down to hard work and priorities. I skip out on being a college hooligan sometimes, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be proud of myself if I knew I didn’t put all my effort into succeeding.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How does joy during the creation process affect your own experience, and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
Acting is joy for me. Every part of it. Learning new techniques, telling a joke perfectly, being able to introspect and draw on emotions, etc. Although I love acting, I also love writing and learning. I’ve always been kind of a nerd. By being able to fly back and forth and get a Columbia degree, I really am pursuing both my dreams simultaneously.
- When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
I believe this to be true, however, I also subscribe to Stoic philosophy. Things that are truly out of your control you should not be worried about them. I honestly believe that when you want something that is in your reach, you are your only impediment.