Michelle Krusiec: Acclaimed Actor, Writer, and Director Talks About Dealing with Institutional Racism and her Sources of Inspiration

Felicia Lin
5 min readMar 29, 2024

Last September I had the pleasure of interviewing actor, writer and director Michelle Krusiec. Her IMDB page displays an impressive list of acting roles dating back to 1992.

We talked about the different phases of her career starting with her one-woman show, Made in Taiwan, which earned her much critical acclaim. She wrote, directed and acted in it in her 20s. Then there was her first main character role in a feature film, Saving Face, a film that put her on my radar and so many others’ in 2004. In 2020 she portrayed the legendary Anna May Wong in the Netflix series Hollywood. Stepping into that role helped her to rethink the institutionalized racism that she’s experienced as an actor. Michelle also talked about her directorial projects, and expressed her thoughts on the SAG-AFTRA strike, and so much more.

[LISTEN to the Complete Episode HERE on APPLE PODCASTS or SPOTIFY]

March is Women’s History Month and so we thought this would be the perfect time to release the first episode of the Trailblazing Taiwanese Women’s series sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association, which was founded in 1988. To learn more about NATWA visit their website: www.natwa.com

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • How she got on the path of acting
  • The stereotypical Asian roles she took on early in her career
  • The struggles she’s faced in her acting career
  • How playing the role of Anna May Wong helped her to rethink the institutional racism that she’s faced as an actor
  • Her first leading role in a feature film (Saving Face)
  • How she grew up she didn’t see many people who looked like her on television and longed to change that
  • How Michelle prepared for her role in Saving Face by going to Taiwan to learn Mandarin
  • How Michelle prepared for her role as Anna May Wong in the Netflix series Hollywood
  • Michelle’s directing projects
  • Michelle’s one woman show Made in Taiwan and how it opened doors for her and got her a deal with ABC TV
  • How anti-Asian hate became more prevalent during the pandemic but was around long before
  • Her upbringing and how it impacted her early career
  • Michelle’s Washington Post op ed piece
  • How a fortune teller impacted Michelle’s adoption
  • The connection between Made in Taiwan and Michelle’s short film, Bite
  • Michelle’s short film Nian
  • Michelle’s thoughts on motherhood and parenthood
  • The writing/directing projects that Michelle is working on
  • Michelle’s thoughts on the SAG-AFTRA strike
  • Michelle’s support for SB 805, a bill that supported funding for nonprofit theaters
  • How Michelle was affected by the BLM (Black Lives Matter) demonstrations that arose during the pandemic
  • Michelle’s advice to others who want to pursue acting or directing
  • Michelle’s connection to Taiwan

Related Links:

Michelle Krusiec: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0472891/

https://www.michellekrusiecdirects.com/about

http://www.michellekrusiec.com/writer/

Michell Krusiec’s Washington Post Op Ed:

https://www.thelily.com/i-play-anna-may-wong-in-hollywood-her-invisibility-as-an-asian-american-actress-mirrors-my-own/

Ryan Murphy And Michelle Krusiec On “Being Seen” In ‘Hollywood’, Giving Anna May Wong And Marginalized Acting Legends The Spotlight They Deserved: https://deadline.com/2020/04/ryan-murphy-michelle-krusiec-hollywood-netflix-anna-may-wong-talk-inclusivity-of-hollywood-giving-anna-may-wong-diversity-inclusion-representation-1202919964/

Saving Face: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384504/?ref_=nm_flmg_t_68_act

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saving_Face_(2004_film)

Alice Wu: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1226108/

Made in Taiwan: https://www.madeintaiwanshow.com/presskit.html

https://www.youtube.com/madeintaiwanshow

Margaret Cho: https://margaretcho.com/

All-American Girl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-American_Girl_(TV_series)

Margaret Cho on the genesis of All-American Girl — TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews: https://youtu.be/drm6dM5NoD8?si=ogNThmJ4nsn0cmnk

Bite: https://www.michellekrusiecdirects.com/projects/biteshortfilm

Nian: https://www.michellekrusiecdirects.com/projects/nian

Get Out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Out

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5052448/

Jungian archetypes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_archetypes

https://conorneill.com/2018/04/21/understanding-personality-the-12-jungian-archetypes/

John Boyega: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boyega

Peilin Kuo On Indie Film Making and the Life of Anna May Wong (Episode 241):

Peter Yang Zhao and Steven Lee Fight to Stop Asian Hate Crimes (Episode 125):

Fight to Stop Asian Hate Crimes Part 2: Peter Yang Zhao and Sergeant Steven Lee (Episode 128):

https://talkingtaiwan.com/fight-to-stop-asian-hate-crimes-part-2-peter-yang-zhao-sergeant-steven-lee-ep-128/

Richard Chen: The History of Social Injustice and Discrimination Toward Asian Americans (Episode 130):

What to Do if You Are the Target of Asian Hate, Part One (Episode 132):

What to Do if You Are the Target of Asian Hate, Part Two (Episode 133):

LISTEN to Episode 279: Michelle Krusiec: Acclaimed Actor, Writer, and Director Talks About Dealing with Institutional Racism and her Sources of Inspiration HERE

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Felicia Lin

Felicia Lin is the producer and host of Talking Taiwan, the longest running Taiwan-related podcast, and Golden Crane Podcast Award Winner.