Felicia Chang


I am a performer. I never conformed to the “Asian standards”—doctor, lawyer, engineer—of my immigrant community. I remember feeling ashamed when my mom reluctantly shared my intention to pursue a career in musical theater with her WeChat group. When word got around, I became the talk of the town. Mothers gossiped about me to their children exclaiming, “Felicia is foolish. All she wants is to chase stardom, an empty and risky dream.” However, I’ve realized that no one can discredit my experiences onstage because I am not defined by anyone’s expectations other than my own. I want to pursue musical theater because I’m able to bring topics I am passionate about to a larger audience. For example, I want to show kids aspiring to pursue a career in musical theatre that they can be proud of their Asian heritage and that they don’t have to conform to any stereotypes.

By pursuing musical theatre at Carnegie Mellon University as the Class of 2025, I hope to defy presumptions made about me through this all-encompassing craft of storytelling. I don’t want to be defined by a grade I receive or a salary I earn. The successes of Lea Salonga and Eva Noblezada are proof that being Asian American need never be an inhibiting factor for me. When I began doing musical theatre, being onstage was the space I used to defy the box that others put me in, a place where my voice was heard. I cannot wait to wear my identity out proudly in the entertainment industry. My goal in college is to strengthen my storytelling skills so I can impact people of many communities. I want to build connections with people all across the industry and be a part of the professional world as soon as I graduate. Beyond college, I hope to not only perform but write stories from my own experiences that will promote and spread diversity.

As Kim in Miss Saigon says, “you can be who you want to be,” and I am ready to define just that.


How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?

Every year, I perform at the Taiwanese American Cultural Festival in San Francisco to spread awareness about my culture. My country is slowly vanishing from world maps, often identified as a part of China. My mom’s native language, Hakka, is on the verge of becoming extinct. My identity of being Taiwanese American might as well be Chinese American, but I refuse to let it disappear. As the daughter of an activist, I follow in my mom’s footsteps. She founded the Fremont Taiwan School in 2007 to educate future generations about our identity. Through performing traditional Taiwanese songs and dance, our goal is to spread and cultivate knowledge about our culture throughout the Bay Area.

Although there is a huge Taiwanese community at my school, not many people have experienced Taiwanese customs. Through recreating traditional pieces, I became a principal soloist, dancing and singing in the Junior Taiwanese American Student Association (JTASA) at my school. By performing with those who identify as Taiwanese and those who don’t, my mission is to create inclusion and help everyone better understand our culture. Many of my friends who are not Taiwanese now ask me about the traditional dances we perform during school events. By educating people across the Bay Area about Taiwanese culture through JTASA and Fremont Taiwan School, a larger community has emerged with first generations and second generations coming together to preserve our traditions and culture for future Taiwanese Americans to experience.


If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?

I once was denied a part in a musical when the director could not find people who “looked like me” to play my “parents”. I am a proud Taiwanese American and yet the color of my skin, something that I did not choose, defines my experiences and opportunities. I want to pursue musical theatre because I want to prove that excellence isn’t determined by race but by work ethic and determination. In previous musicals, I’ve been the only person of color. Living in a predominately Asian area, it surprised me that there weren’t more people of color doing theatre. Unfortunately, pursuing a career in the arts is seen as a disgrace to many people in my community. We should normalize pursuing whichever career you choose. I want to show kids aspiring to pursue a career in musical theatre that they can be proud of their cultural identity and don’t have to conform to its stereotypes.


What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

The future of Taiwanese America looks like people who stand together. On media, we will have more representation and younger generations of Taiwanese Americans will see people who similarly identify as them in every occupation and path. I hope that everyone can see the importance of sharing our culture, whether that be traditions, language, or even through food!


Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?

Going to the night markets with my family.


Favorite Taiwanese food?

Ai Yu

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