Interview with Sydney Viengluang | Living with Joy and Happiness
Our beliefs are composed of thought patterns that we, all humans, have been picking up from our environment since we were born. Those beliefs carry emotions that let us know at every moment, how what we think makes us feel, projecting our own expectations of the world we are experiencing. Since any positive emotion is a state of being, it’s not conditioned to what we do or have, hence we always can find it within ourselves.
Actress Sydney Viengluang who shines as Dr. Sun Mei on SYFY’s series Z Nation says,
“(…) When you live with joy and happiness, that energy permeates your being, and when your energy is positive, I believe it attracts positive things. (…)”
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Sydney Viengluang?
Hi, my name is Sydney. I’m a Lao American actress living in Los Angeles. I hope that with my platform, I can contribute to Asian American representation through TV/film roles and shine a light on our community and continue to tell our stories.
- What was your path of becoming conscious, I am an actor?
I didn’t know I wanted to be an actor until after college. Growing up, I always knew that my life had a bigger purpose than myself. I didn’t know what that purpose was until I took my first acting class, and something was awakened inside of me that told me that I finally found my gift. I realized that I had been given a gift to be emotionally available and to access those emotions easily and to be able to use that gift to bring characters to life. That’s when I knew that my calling was to be an actor.
- The entertainment industry is considered to be very competitive, some talents thrive while other talents don’t. In your experience, how do your beliefs influence the process of going from competitive to a creative mindset?
Yes, it’s very competitive and can be daunting, but I think what keeps me going is having and knowing my purpose in life. I think having strong intentions of why I do what I do keeps me going and focused on the bigger picture and keeps me on my path. When times get tough, I go back to my intention in life. I also think creating and producing my own projects keeps me creatively fulfilled during those down times.
- How do you stay authentic when playing in becoming someone else?
When I take on a role, it all begins with finding the humanity of the character– who this person is, what drives them, and why are they the way they are. Finding a way to connect to the character personally helps. That is why I’m a strong proponent of living a well-balanced life as an actor so that you have all the experiences of a human being to bring to a character’s authenticity.
- Have you ever felt blending with a character in such a way, that is flowing through you and from you? If so, please describe that moment.
The last character I played, Sun Mei on Z Nation, was the most I felt connected to a character. When I read her character description I knew that “I’m her and she’s me.” I knew that I could bring her to life.
- During season three, you have joined the cast of SYFY’s series Z Nation as Dr. Sun Mei. Why do you think your character instantly became a fan favorite?
I think Sun Mei became a fan favorite because a lot of the fans are young women and the show is very female-driven. They love to see a strong, smart, badass woman that is capable of representing themselves… let alone an Asian one. I think a lot of female audiences crave those type of characters and storylines.
- How does Dr. Sui Mei deal with the challenge of being responsible for finding the cure of the zombie virus to save humanity?
Going back to life intentions and what drives oneself, I think Sun Mei knows that it’s her calling and that it’s her purpose to find the cure, so that’s what keeps her going: to save humanity with her gifts as a scientist, even in the dark apocalypse. It’s what drives her to stay alive and continue working on a possible cure.
- Z Nation has recently aired the last episode of the fifth season in December. How do you feel Dr. Sui Mei has evolved over the previous three seasons?
I think over the past three seasons, she has gotten used to seeing all the horrible things in the apocalypse, so she’s a bit more jaded and not so surprised at humanity and the world. In a way, she’s a lot more laid back.
- Z Nation is an apocalyptic zombie series. Why do you think the audience is driven to this kind of stories? What does it represent?
I think audiences love apocalypse stories because ultimately, it’s about the basic need to survive, and in those stories, people have to find each other and collectively work together for survival. One has to become a tribe, a family, in order to survive. And within those stories, you get stories of human connection, trials and tribulations, struggle, but ultimately resilience. It’s the basic story of humankind since the dawn of time.
- What fascinates you most of being part of the cast of Z Nation?
I love Z Nation because it’s a fun show to be on. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Also, I love being a part of a very diverse cast, ranging from different races, ages, sexualities, and backgrounds. Even though it can be a violent show, there’s something for everyone, hence why a lot of families watch the show together.
- TV shows and Films tell stories that can connect with the audience. What kind of character would you like to play and what kind of story would you want to be part of at this moment?
I just want to continue to play strong, capable, complex, three-dimensional women, and hopefully show the world what Asian Americans can do and how many more diverse stories there are to still tell from our perspective. I would like to tell more immigrant stories that resonate with me. I would like to see more Asian men and women as protagonists of our own stories.
- Are you involved in any charity organization or humanitarian cause you would like to mention?
Yes, please check out Legacies of War, an organization raising awareness and funds for the removal of the millions of cluster bombs still left in Laos during the Vietnam War era. I’m also heavily involved in an advocacy group called Laos Angeles, a Lao organization/community advocating for Lao representation in mainstream media.
- How does your life experience and your personal growth are nourishing who you are?
I think coming from my background as a refugee immigrant and growing up poor, I’ve never taken anything for granted. To be able to do what I do, living in a great city, being healthy, and living my dreams, it’s all I can really ask for. I believe every day is a blessing and that gratitude nourishes me every day. Everything else is just icing on the cake, so to speak.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
When you live with joy and happiness, that energy permeates your being, and when your energy is positive, I believe it attracts positive things. It’s the Law of Attraction. I believe I’ve been able to manifest things because of the joy and gratitude mindset I choose to practice each day. From that, creatively, anything is possible.
- When you hear: You can be, do and have anything you want, words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
My take is that if you truly set your mind to something that aligns with your intentions and your true self, you can manifest whatever you want in this physical world. The only limitations are the ones that you have imposed on yourself in your mind. Life is what you make of it and it comes down to having a positive mindset.