Irene Tsu is a renowned actress, gifted watercolor artist, and writer. She has worked in the film and television industry for over five decades and is considered to be one of the first Asian-American actresses to break-through Hollywood’s rigid diversity barriers. Over the years, Irene has graced the big and small screen alongside some legendary stars including Elvis Presley, Jeff Bridges, Bette Midler, and many more. She recently published a memoir titled “A Water Color Dream: The Many Lives of Irene Tsu,” which chronicles her rise in Hollywood while helping to break barriers for Asian Americans.
This is an episode to listen as Irene shares what it was like being an Asian American actress in Hollywood during those rigid times. She also shares her confidence tips and the struggles she faced as an Asian woman forging her own path over five decades ago.
Irene Tsu is a renowned actress, gifted watercolor artist, and writer.
Irene is of Chinese descent.
Favorite Self Confidence Quote
With self confidence it’s love is at the basis.
Definition of Self Confidence
Self confidence is not something one can buy or even study for, it comes with time. To experience and discover what you are good at doing. Once you figure that out even a little bit, you then can practice excelling at whatever it is. Once you get good at something, that is what gives you the confidence.
Her Life Before the Discovery of Self Confidence
Being in the Chinese culture, Irene never received compliments from her parents as a child since it was seen as being spoiled. Instead of receiving compliments, her parents talked down. She had a typical Chinese upbringing.
The “AHA” Moment
Irene’s first moment of confidence was in a school production of Finian’s Rainbow. She played a deaf-mute in the productions, which worked well for her because her English was still not very good at this time. It made her realize that she was capable of doing something other than what her parents tell her.
Candidly, there is not one specific moment but rather a collective group of experiences and revelations that led to Irene’s discovery of self-confidence. Many of those experiences happened when she was working as an actress in Hollywood and crossing over to roles that were not originally written for Asian actresses.
Her Life After the Discovery of Self Confidence
During this time, Irene was still working as an actress in Hollywood, however, she was much more at ease with her abilities, skills, and assets as an actress, which came with a lot of time and learning along the way. This period of her life also led her to motherhood and branching out into a new professional field: real estate.