Interview with SHERRY COLA | LIFE IS FUN
Sometimes we take life too seriously. As we pay more attention to life events that are not as pleasant, we could miss celebrating beautiful moments that we can always find around us. Being aware of how we feel will trigger our power to consciously find our own way to transition to those emotions that feel best to us. Life is supposed to be fun. What could be better than a big smile and a daily dose of a good laugh?
Sherry Cola, the talented actress and comedian who can be seen as Alice in Freeform’s new TV show Good Trouble, a spinoff of The Fosters, agrees, “Move forward, not backward. I get to do what I love and that’s a blessing. It’s supposed to be fun! No complaints.“
We believe that you will definitely enjoy this interview with Sherry, which will let you sense her honesty, authenticity and her fun way of seeing life.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Sherry Cola?
Let’s spice it up with a haiku!
“I make you giggle,
So proud of my Shanghai mom,
Acting is the jam.”
- Do you remember the moment you felt, I want to be a comedian?
I watched Ellen DeGeneres’ HBO special Here and Now back in 2000 and it made a hell of an impact. I learned so much. “Oh, this is how you set up a joke? You make the audience think one thing, then you hit them with a punchline that goes in another direction? Cut to laughter and applause?” Mind-blown.
I remember watching Margaret Cho’s stand-up as well. She was beyond inspiring. She was saying stuff that no one expected to hear, especially coming out of an Asian woman’s mouth. I think I always wanted to be a comedian. In high school, I hosted talent shows and made funny videos, but back then, it didn’t register as a potential career. Better late than never!
- Radio was the beginning of your career in the entertainment industry, followed by stand-up comedy and finally landing your first role as an actor. How have those transitions allowed for the possibility to express your personality?
I had a show on Cal State Fullerton’s campus radio station for almost four years, and I continued to pursue it after I graduated. It’s cool to have people “tune-in” to what you have to say. It was a solid way to dip my toe into entertainment. Not many people know this, but my dad was an on-air personality at a couple of popular Chinese AM stations – so I’d say radio’s in my blood. Stand-up and acting are more performative, but it’s still in the lane of having a platform and being able to use your voice. There’s a certain responsibility and honor, being behind the microphone. It makes sense that I’m passionate about all three.
- The entertainment industry is becoming more open to new talents from different cultural backgrounds. Do you think that is because the audience is longing for more diverse characters on screen or because the mindset of professionals within the industry is changing as well?
Both! The industry is finally catching up to the fact that different cultures deserve to be taken seriously as entertainers, and as people with stories to tell. Audiences are beginning to realize what was missing. It’s long overdue. Now it’s clear that we’re worthy, and we’re relatable as human beings. The more we see it, the more it becomes impossible to ignore. I’m excited for what’s to come. We’re here to stay!
- Connecting with the audience through radio must be quite different than being in front of them in person, on stage. How would you describe that moment you are on stage and words come out freely flowing from you?
I’m low key nervous 24/7, but once I get up there and start talking, it feels like home. I love looking out in front of me, and seeing those beautiful faces, smiling ear to ear. I enjoy feeding off their vibe. Sure, there are some rough nights – but most of the time when I get off stage, I’m on cloud nine. It sometimes feels scary on stage, but it’s all in our head! People tell me, “You’re such a natural up there!” I’m like, “Seriously? I almost threw up twice.”
How can a comedian, besides making people laugh, which is already positive, inspire the audience’s awareness of a more accepting and open society?
Of course, it’s all jokes, but the coolest thing about being a stand-up comedian is luring people into a new perspective. In the next 15 minutes or so, we have their full attention to essentially change their minds and allow them to look at something through our eyes. Whether it be hilariously teaching the audience about a foreign country, or comparing a relationship to a glazed donut – the truth is, you have to be smart to be funny. We have more power than we think. Through the art of jester, we’re very capable of making a positive difference in the world. It’s just a matter of doing it!
- Why do you think your first character Lil’ Tasty on the web-series Luber connected so well with the viewers and immediately went viral?
Aside from her just saying the most darn things, Lil’ Tasty was a hit because she was a breath of fresh air. She wasn’t your “stereotypical” Asian girl. People did double-takes to find out who this adorable creature was. They wanted more. Appealing to the huge demographic of basketball fans and hip-hop heads also contributed to her popularity. She was sweet and optimistic. Her freestyle raps were unpredictable. Her obsession with Kobe Bryant was charming. Somehow the stars aligned and she went viral. Millions of views. People wanted to be her friend. People dressed up as her for Halloween! She’s a dear part of me. I’m definitely keeping her alive, so stay tuned! You haven’t seen the last of Lil’ Tasty.
- In the new Freeform’s TV show Good Trouble, you shine as Alice, a first-generation Asian-American who manages an apartment complex. How does it feel to you being part of this project?
It means everything for me to portray Alice. A first-generation Asian American lesbian, struggling with coming out to her parents? This belongs on the screen. The idea that this character was specifically created because someone felt like her experience and point-of-view mattered. I gotta give props to the creators – Peter, Bradley, and Joanna. I’m grateful that Alice even exists. The fact that I get to be her is the cherry on top.
- What characteristics in Alice’s personality resonate with you personally?
We’re both softies! She’s super apologetic and puts everyone above herself, and I can be a people-pleaser. She’s pretty awkward, which I totally get. Even though I try to play it cool in social settings, I’m usually freaking out on the inside. I play back interactions with other people, in my head, constantly. HELP.
- Have you experienced a funny and memorable moment on set while filming Good Trouble? If so, please share it with us.
We have countless inside jokes and memories on set. In one episode, all of us go out on a birthday scavenger hunt and we have an obnoxious eating contest. I mean, enough said. We’ll never look at hot wings the same again.
- On the film front, you recently wrapped production on the Untitled Drake Doremus Project. What can you tell us about this experience?
Working with the brilliant Drake Doremus was such a treat. Opposite Shailene Woodley! What is life? I loved being able to stretch my limits and explore my dramatic side. It’s such a raw and honest film, with an amazing cast. I can’t wait for people to see it.
- We, human beings, sometimes take life too seriously. What do you say to yourself when you have experienced a contrasting event and you want to return to your peaceful inner-self?
I have a tendency to dwell, so I have to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. Focus on today, not yesterday. Move forward, not backward. I get to do what I love and that’s a blessing. It’s supposed to be fun! No complaints.
- How much do you love where you are at this moment and how do you envision where you want to be in the future?
I pinch myself at least once a day. I can’t believe I get to make people laugh, and make people cry. It’s dope to actually be a fan of the show I’m on. I’m taking it all in.
As for the future, I have high hopes, I really do. Everyone has a unique path. My vision board is overflowing with goals that I’m putting out into the universe. I’m ready.
- 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?
To me, the definition of “Joy” is exceeding my mom’s expectations and making her proud. We moved to this country from China when I was 3, and honestly, we’re both pleasantly surprised at the things I’ve accomplished.
I’ve been digging into my spiritual side, which in a sense, is influenced by my mom. The majority of my family is Buddhist and I grew up going to temples. I believed in it, but never actively practiced. Recently, I started visiting temples on my own and praying. I discovered how vital it is for me to have a positive energy giving me strength. It’s nice to feel like there’s someone on your side, rooting for you. Having that within me helps my creative process, for sure. It keeps me going.
- When you hear: You can be, do and have anything you want, words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
The only person in your way is you! I can’t go a day without quoting Mean Girls, but “The limit does not exist!” Go for it!