Long story short:
I love to create with music, words, stories, and action. I’m also passionate about sustainability, environmental justice and diverse representation in media. Born in San Francisco, grew up and based in New York, and graduated from Yale University in 2019.
Short story long:
My grandmother was born and raised in New Haven. On her side of the family, I’m a 6th generation Chinese American. One of my grandfathers, fleeing war, lived in the US as an “illegal” paper son, and the other was “legal,” but detained at the age of 10 on Angel Island and separated from his family for months while he was interrogated. Both buried their stories deep in their hearts. When I was born, my paper son grandfather, surname Wong, didn’t want me to have his real family name, Chin, because he feared it would jeopardize our family. My parents, though, believed it was important to give me and my brother our original name back. They taught me to take pride in our long and storied American history, as well as our Chinese culture. Growing up in a mostly first-gen immigrant area of New York, though, I was often the odd one out. As a result, I always had to question “where I’m from” and “where my [American] parents are from,” and that sparked a lifelong interest in connecting with others of different cultural backgrounds via storytelling.
As a kid, I loved martial arts, which I learned from my dad. I devoured kung fu movies, practicing, choreographing, and performing whenever I could. That led me to fencing, which I competed in nationally for ten years. My other passion was music. After two years of piano lessons, I competed in (and won) high school-wide Battles of the Bands. In the process, I taught myself piano, guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, and vocals. My younger brother, Devin Chin, a musical genius, taught himself—and then me—electronic music production. Over the years, I wrote dozens of songs, some earnest, some absolute jokes, and did all kinds of performances in college (spoken word to stunt doubling), but only had admired theater from afar until the beginning of my senior year at Yale.
That’s when Illegal was born. It was a whirlwind—my composing and storytelling found a home, and by the end of the year I’d fallen in love with the process of writing, choreographing, producing and performing musical theater. My castmates said this opportunity I created meant so much to them, as they’d never heard their stories told this way–that changed me. Also, I was shook when real theater pros told me Illegal was fire and “gave them hope” for the future. With their enthusiastic encouragement, I decided I want to keep carving out a space for untold stories and diverse performers to shine, by making collaborative entertainment full of humor and heart. Thanks to Illegal, I was mentored by professors Elise Morrison and Dan Egan, and studied libretto writing under Marsha Norman.
Keep your ears peeled for more stories! Some friends and I are cooking up The Knights of Eli: A Fencing Rom-Dramedy Musical. I’m also working on a sequel to Illegal about Kee Lin as she sets out teaching kung fu in America’s West.
I also teach—hit me up! I can help you unleash your musical creativity, free from the constraints of sheets, hours of technical practice, etc. Also contact me if you want fencing or college essay coaching.
- BS degree with Distinction, Yale University 2019; Environmental and Energy Studies
- 4-year NCAA athlete on fencing team (epee)
- Yale Tsai CITY Arts and Media Innovation Award
- Yale Creative Performing Arts Award
- Pauli Murray Class of 2019 Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award