Sydney Viengluang is among the next wave of actresses emerging in Hollywood, and her career has quickly encompassed a unique mix of work. The talented, young, actress has appeared on shows like Scorpion, Jane the Virgin, and has locked in a major role in one of SyFy's highest-rated, scripted programs: Z Nation.
PopCultureNow.com spoke with her and discussed not only acting success but her humanitarian goals for the future.
Unlike many millenials in the industry her drive to be in front of the camera came after she broke in behind the scenes.
"I've been acting for seven years and I moved out here from Wichita, Kansas to be on the business side of entertainment," she said. "So I got my degree in international business and my masters in economics and thought I was going to work for a big studio and run a studio one day.
"After I got my first job at a studio it was about a year later that I knew it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. After a year behind the accounting desk, I took my first acting class and fell in love with it and the rest is history."
Viengluang is carving out a career on the acting side of the entertainment industry, but has found it hard to pinpoint various Asian-american actresses to emulate. To counteract this, she models herself after humanitarian Angelina Jolie and admires her work across the board.
"Being an Asian-american actress, sadly, I did not have a lot of role models or people I could really see on the screen or look up to. Outside of Asian-american actors, I look up to people who aren't just fully about their acting career," she said. "I like up to actors like Angelina Jolie. She is acting. She is directing. She is producing. She has done a lot of humanitarian work. I hope to do that one day when I have the platform to do so."
Her breakthrough role, to date, has come with a group of blood-sucking zombies on Z Nation.
Coincidentally, it was something she already had familiarity with.
"I don't know what it is about me and zombies," she said. "I got the audition because I booked a role from Isle of the Dead with Joey Lawrence - a zombie action movie - I shot that last November and the casting director knew me from there. So when the Sun Mei character came up for Z Nation season three, he read the description and from what he told me he knew I was perfect for the role. Then he brought me in to audition. I put myself on tape. They called me back in for a producer session and booked the role and didn't think I did. A couple weeks later the manager called me to tell me I got the role. I was excited of course because it is an awesome role on such an awesome show. The cast is great. The crew is great. I had a blast."
It is important to understand what shows and movies other actors and actresses enjoy.
It reveals a lot about their acting style and how they see their future in the industry. Needless to say, Viengluang chose quite well with selections from both Netflix and HBO.
"Anything that HBO makes or produces I am always onboard," she said. "Game of Thrones, Westworld right now. I've seen three episodes and it is awesome. It looks beautiful. All the actors on there are solid. I would love to be on that show so if you have any connections with HBO.