Today, we are interviewing Lisa Lam. She is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA), who left her full-time career to pursue acting/modeling. She is currently running for Maxim's next cover girl. Let's get inspired by her journey!
How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
Growing up, I had always wanted to be an actor and model, but I never thought I could actually do those things since I didn't look like the actors/models I saw in the media at the time. There were barely any Asian role models in the industry, so I came to accept that it wasn't a viable career option. I mean, it's not like I could go after roles if they didn't exist in the first place.
I pushed down my desires to follow my dreams for years, and instead, became a Certified Public Accountant. To be honest, the reasons for choosing this career path were purely quantitative – job stability, the potential for growth, the ability to amass personal wealth, etc. I wasn't happy, but at least I looked good on paper, right?
While accounting can be a fulfilling career to some, it wasn't for me. It took me years to realize that there is more to life than just looking good on paper.
Last year, I took the plunge and left my established career and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my lifelong passions of acting and modeling. It's been tough, but I finally feel like I am living my life's purpose.
Who are your role models?
My role models include Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey. Both are brilliant women who are highly revered in their fields.
What I especially love about Mindy, though, is that she made people make space for her at the table, and she didn't change herself to do it. And now, because of her, Asian women around the world have one more role model to look up to. She is a strong and beautiful woman that inspires me in my journey.
Please tell us about your Story
I am currently in the running for Maxim's next cover girl. I want to make a difference in mainstream media, mainly in terms of Asian representation, and share our version of the American experience. I want people to realize that there is a wide range of people who identify as Asian, and we all have different histories, and I want to be a part of sharing all of our stories.
What's your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is living a life that isn't authentic. All my life, I was told there were certain things I had to achieve before I would be seen as “successful”. I accomplished many of those things, including graduating from a good college, getting a career with a top CPA firm, getting my CPA license, etc. – but I placed too much of my self-worth on making other people proud. It took a lot of introspection to realize that I have to do what I love in order to love myself from the inside out.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
When things get tough, what keeps me going is my strong support system. I want to take the time to thank my friends and family for believing in me and loving me.
Any message for our readers
My message to readers would be: “Believe in yourself.” I think a lot of people hear this a lot, but they don't actually do it (myself included). It can be hard, but if you're not going to take the chance on yourself, you can't expect other people to.
How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me through instagram.
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