Asian artist brings a taste of her culture to the US market

Asian artist Zoe Lau will make all of you and all of your wanderlust goals green with envy, having worked all over the world. Originally from Hong Kong, she moved to Singapore at an early age but moved back to Hong Kong shortly after when she was given the opportunity to study at an International school and be immersed in many different cultures. This was the first trace of her affection for exploration. She continued to immerse herself in different cultures when she moved to the UK to study at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, previously known as Central School of Speech and Drama. Zoe was not done exploring though. The top market for entertainment in the world was cultivated in New York City and Zoe had her sights set on it. She moved to NYC three years ago and has made leaps and bounds both as an artist and also in aiding our market in diversification, something we need to make significant strides in soon.

When Zoe moved to NYC, she studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute all the while doing short films and independent plays and whatever else she could get her hands on. "I was ambitious in wanting to build my resume up," Lau told me. Thanks to that ambition, it seems Zoe had a given herself a coveted leg up in the industry upon graduation. She told me that she didn't have any local connections, so her only option was to work as much as possible and as well as possible to build those relationships which she seemed to have a knack for. Zoe said that even from her first project which was a small NYU student film, she made relationships with other young and promising artists that would bring her back for more work in the future or recommend her to their colleagues. This is how she pieced together her flourishing career brick by brick.

Zoe Lau

Since entering the professional industry several years ago, Zoe has racked up a number of accomplishments. The greatest accomplishment; however, has been getting to share her culture with our audience in the US. It is apparent that the US is still behind in diversifying their media and entertainment. While we did do better last year for our black community during Oscar season after an embarrassing lack of diversity the season prior, it is still apparent that there is work to be done, especially for the asian community. Recently, the national tour of The Little Mermaid has received criticisms from audiences because their Ariel is of asian descent. Diane Huey spoke out about this saying, "I want to believe in a world where racism and bigotry no longer exists. I want to believe that we can truly have equality in this world ― and the arts are a damn good place to start."

Zoe Lau as Princess Kaguya

Zoe tells me that she has been fortunate in casting. One of her favorite projects was a new play reading at Columbia University that soon later moved to the prestigious Roundabout Theater's new play reading series. The play written by Anchuli Felicia King welcomed diversity and did not use tokenism or diversify for the sake of diversity like we see so often. In addition, she's been fortunate to bring to life asian characters in stories that bring asian culture to a Western audience. She was fortunate to go on tour in Maine with Theatre at Monmouth, playing the lead in the education theatre work The Tale of Princess Kaguya which is a Japanese folk tale from the 10th Century that encourages audiences to conserve the Earth and not take what we have for granted.

The National Black Calendar

Perhaps her favorite project; however, was an Off-Broadway show called Comfort Women. Comfort Women touched on a tragic historical happening that we don't really talk about in Western culture. The show follows young women in Japan during World War II who were taken as sex slaves. Zoe told me that though the play was really heavy, she felt like she was doing really important work by telling this story to a modern Western audience and to Asian American people who may have not heard about this part of their people's history.

There's no slowing down in Zoe's success. She told me that she'll be working with Anchuli Felicia King again on another new work this month and has a few other projects in development. Over the next six months, Zoe will be working with a media company in China to bring Broadway to the Chinese market and introduce them to the lifestyle of an actress in New York City by showing them a glimpse into her life of auditioning, rehearsing, and performing. She says that she hopes that it inspires others with the same dreams as her to take the leap of faith and go after them and in turn helps to bridge the gap between mainstreamed Western popular entertainment and Asian culture.

Follow Zoe Lau on Twitter | Instagram


Anie Delgado is a contributor to Journiest and is an actress and musician based in NYC. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @anie_delgado and on Facebook and check out her music on Spotify.


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How Prima Helped Me Improve My Daily Routine

Primas hemp products helped my create new habits

The last few months of working from home and barely leaving my apartment have been tough. Everyone seems to be improving themselves during quarantine but I was just trying to adjust to the new isolated way of living.

Now that the hardest part is hopefully behind us, I'm ready for some self-improvement. After months of WFH followed by binge-watching Netflix and binge-eating junk till 2 am, I've got to make a few changes. I took some advice from my sister who told me to pick three areas I'd like to makeover and then form new habits to help me achieve my goals.

She also suggested that I try hemp. She's been in love with all of Primas products for the last month and claims they've made a huge difference in how balanced she feels throughout the day. She said that Prima's hemp stands out from other brands because it's the highest quality hemp and rigorously tested to ensure potency and purity. But I was all about the new habits, so I ignored that advice.

Here are the three new habits I've added to my daily routine:

  1. Make time for me!

This one may seem silly after nearly three months stuck in the house alone, but what I mean is quality time for me. I needed to integrate activities that are mentally and physically constructive. I heard yoga was great for your mind and body and with so many tutorials on youtube, I added 20 minutes of yoga before breakfast to my morning routine.

2. Exercise

I don't like gyms and that's never going to change. So I needed to refresh my exercise options. I love being outdoors so I added an evening walk weeknights and long hikes on the weekends. The fresh air clears my head after a long day and I can start hitting those 10K steps we're meant to do every day!

3. Less Screentime

This isn't just for kids! I realized I was on my work laptop all day, and when I wasn't looking at that screen I was watching TV on my phone. My eyes were never getting a break and neither was my head. I had to limit the crazy amount of time I was spending on my phone. I got a free app that alerts me when I'm on it too long, like an alarm that kicks me off. Then I ordered some novels to read instead of scrolling through Instagram and Twitter in bed. Now I read a few chapters and nod off.

My new habits took a while to get used to, but after two weeks of constantly reminding myself, they're part of my routine that I'm just loving. I'm definitely sleeping better and feel more motivated in the morning. However, I still felt like there was something missing. And my aching neck started to get worse. I thought the yoga would help but once the afternoon hit, my namaste had completely vanish-tayed and my neck was in bits by bedtime! I even sorted out my home office with a new chair and keyboards so I wouldn't be bending it so much all day but I think the damage was done.

That's when my sister jumped in and reminded me that I should try Prima's hemp products. For my neck? I still doubted that was the solution. But when she promised me Primas R+R recovery cream would help my neck, with her husband also vouching for it I gave it a go.

Once it arrived at my door I tried it every night a week for bed. The first night I felt a little difference but I just put that down to the cooling effect of the menthol. I was surprised hemp was just one ingredient among so many really amazing ones such as menthol, eucalyptus, and marula oil. Along with the botanicals tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint which are great to encourage total relaxation. While on their site, I couldn't believe the variety of hemp products they have.

By the end of the week, I really felt the magic of Primas R+R cream and it has become the most important part of my nighttime routine. I forget what it was like to have neck discomfort thanks to Prima.

I loved it so much that I couldn't help treating myself to their award-winning Night Magic Serum. I can't wait for my glowy skin!!

I never imagined I'd become a hemp fan, but Prima is the perfect piece to complete my revamped wellness routine that makes me more mindful and balanced. I'm so glad my sister introduced me to Prima, it's my new favorite habit that I will be keeping!

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What's Up with All These Fireworks?

New Yorkers have been hearing constant explosions throughout the night. Is it a conspiracy?

If you live in a large metropolitan area like New York City, Black Lives Matter protests likely aren't the only things you hear making noise in the streets.

In the past couple of weeks, as Black Lives Matter supporters march in memory of George Floyd and countless other Black people killed by police, the sounds of fireworks can be heard virtually every weekend. More than just your average Fourth of July shindig, these explosions often trail into the wee hours of the morning.


According to Gothamist, there were 6,385 total "311" complaints about fireworks in New York City from June 1 to June 19—up from 27 during the same time period last year. "This is not the simple firecrackers and little small toy-type rockets, but it was very elaborate," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told Gothamist. "That in itself is raising a high level of concern with me... When you see the large displays along Brooklyn and in Manhattan, Upper Manhattan, you're seeing extremely sophisticated type fireworks displays that can be extremely dangerous in the hands of the wrong people."

Anything more powerful than a sparkler is illegal in New York, but that hasn't stopped regular folks from buying the type of fireworks you'd see in a professional display. But who is buying these fireworks, and what are they trying to accomplish? There are some wild theories.

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows nypost.com

As author Robert Jones, Jr. pointed out in a lengthy Twitter thread, antics by "bored Black and brown kids" tends to be the general assumption made by most mainstream media. "My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces; an attack meant to disorient and destabilize the #BlackLivesMatter movement," Jones wrote.

One goal Jones proposed was that white people were the ones setting off the constant fireworks in an attempt to "stoke tensions between Black and Brown peoples." Many have voiced their frustrations online about the sheer volume of the fireworks they hear, and a shared annoyance is growing.

Another motive Jones proposed was that the fireworks are being used as a desensitization method to acclimate citizens to the sounds of the blasts—which often sound like gunshots. "When they start using their real artillery on us we won't know the difference," Jones wrote. "It's meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it's about to become."

Police don't seem too concerned. The New York Post shared a video this week of fireworks being set off behind an NYPD precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. No officers appear to deter them. A similar video in Harlem, Manhattan also shows a flock of police cars—none of which seem to mind the explosions.


Another video shows what appears to be Brooklyn firefighters setting off fireworks:

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn nypost.com


Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was forming a task force to combat the illegal fireworks. "Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public nuisance," he said. "We're cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep."


But if over 6,000 complaints have been made about fireworks to seemingly no avail, it seems a task force won't merit much of an improvement.

Many seem to agree with the theory that inconspicuous government officials have been offering fireworks to Black children, newly on summer vacation and hungry for ways to ease their quarantine boredom. As with many issues going on in America, these constant fireworks will probably be just another way for the government to further discriminate against marginalized groups.

At least we can always rely on memes to spread the good word.

I don't know about you guys, but working from home has taken a serious toll on me. It started off really well. I was sticking to my usual routine as much as possible, but I've been slowly becoming less and less productive.

I noticed my sleep schedule had completely changed. I was rolling out of bed a few minutes before I was due to start work, and sometimes even working from my bed. I ate lunch at the desk and worked straight through my scheduled breaks. I was sleepier throughout the day, unable to focus as much, and just feeling less motivated overall.

So I looked into what I could do that would help me out of my slump. I tried a few things. Some were so simple I never thought they'd make much of a difference, and some I wouldn't have thought of at all, but now I'm back feeling more productive than ever.

Here are my three tips for working from home:

1. Get up early

Yes, it seems so simple. But it's super important to stick to a normal routine if you can. Not only do I get up early, but I shower every morning and cook myself a nutritious breakfast before I start work. This definitely helped me feel more energized and motivated throughout the day.

2. Have a designated workspace

This is important because it separates your work from your home. Our homes are associated with relaxing, so designating a space that will be used only for work will help you concentrate on work while you're in that space. I also found that doing this helped me actually take appropriate breaks. When I left the space I was in relax mode, and once I came back, I was ready to work again.

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3. CBD supplements

When looking into ways to improve my focus and sleeping patterns, I came across an article about CBD supplements, specifically a brand called Prima. I'd never bought into the whole CBD craze, but when I read that you can try Prima's Rest Easy, Go-To, and Brain Fuel elixirs by purchasing their Trifecta for just $26 with shipping, I thought why not?

The elixirs are powders that you can mix into any beverage. The Prima Trifecta has a few samples of all three. The Brain Fuel elixir is to be taken in the morning, so I mixed it into my coffee, and I was awake and alert and able to throw myself into my working day.

Their Go-To elixir should be taken around noon. My daily midday productivity crash had gotten so much worse while working at home, but taking this elixir helped keep me sharp through the remainder of my work day.

The Rest Easy elixir is taken at night to help you get a good sleep. Since I started taking this my sleep schedule has greatly improved. It was so much easier to get up early again. It left me feeling well rested and ready to start my day.

I never realized how much simple things, like setting out a specific workspace, and getting up early would help me escape my unproductive rut. I wasn't expecting Prima's CBD supplements to help as much as they did, but they definitely had the biggest impact for me.

After trying the Prima Trifecta, I ended up buying the full size of all three elixirs. If you're having problems with sleep, focus, and productivity like I was, I'd recommend ordering the Prima Trifecta.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.