Portrait By Violet Meyners Photography
What is your hope for The Blueprint?
That the holistic approach we establish at The Blueprint becomes the standard for training and enrichment of the emerging artist everywhere. That our BIPOC artists will be nurtured and inspired to bring themselves so fully in the work that they in turn empower those coming up behind them. And that they become leaders & innovators in the industry and community.
Who do you do this for?
For all the young BIPOC artists and students I’ve encountered, especially young Asian Americans, who, like me, struggled to see themselves or their stories reflected in the arts and the world at large, let alone believe it was possible for them to pursue a fulfilling and successful life in the arts.
What is one hope you have for
the future of our industry?
That BIPOC voices and narratives that are still underrepresented will be valued and elevated, that they will be fully integrated into the fabric of storytelling in the industry. And that the BIPOC actors and artists involved will be fully supported and neither tokenized nor asked to do double duty as unofficial (& unpaid) EDI educators for white audiences.
Who are 3 BIPOC artists that inspire you and your work?
Chay Yew, Rosa Joshi, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
What advice do you have for emerging BIPOC artists?
Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. The worst that can happen is you’re told no. But you’ll never know until you speak up, take up your space, and not apologize for your presence. Take the risk, take the leap, take the chance on yourself. And always look for your community, to lean on and to lift up.
Jessica Ko (she/her/hers) is a Los Angeles-based actor and artist who has worked in New York and regionally for several years. She was an acting company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 3 seasons, with notable roles as Rosalind in As You Like It, the lead Dou Yi in the US premiere of Snow in Midsummer by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Shapeshifter in the world premiere of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo by Jiehae Park, and Princess Katherine/Boy/Montjoy in Henry V. Other notable regional credits include working at Cleveland Play House, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Company, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Bread Loaf Theatre Ensemble. In New York, she has worked at the Flea Theater, The Hearth, Urban Stages, Gallery Players, and co-founded her own company, Random Access Theatre, which partnered with Brooklyn Bridge Park to bring free Shakespeare to its outdoor programming. Television credits include national commercials for Chase, Yoplait, and Lowes. She earned her MFA in Acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep, where she was also a voice and speech teaching assistant.