Interview with Jacqueline Kim: Artist, Actress, Asian American Geek Girl Icon

Interview with Jacqueline Kim: Artist, Actress, Asian American Geek Girl Icon

Guest Post by Sarah Kuhn

In 2015, I wrote my very first piece for Angry Asian Man — The Final Frontier: Captain Demora Sulu. The piece was all about how I've been obsessed with Demora, Starfleet ensign and daughter of Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), ever since she appeared in Star Trek: Generations, and how I felt like it was finally possible to dream of a future where an Asian lady captains her own starship. (And hey, that future came true! Big, beautiful shout-out to Michelle Yeoh's Philippa Georgiou!)

Four years later, thanks to LA's extremely interconnected Asian American creative community, Jacqueline Kim — the actress who brought Demora to life so memorably — read my piece. (Yes, I died.) And then we met in person. (Yes, I died all over again.)

It's hard to put into words what it means to sit across from the woman who played two of the most iconic Asian female characters in the geeky franchises of my youth. In addition to embodying Demora, Kim made a big impression in the epic Xena: Warrior Princess two-parter "The Debt" as Lao Ma — the ruler, telekinetic, and general badass who becomes Xena's mentor. More recently, she delved into an indie brand of sci-fi with Advantageous, a Sundance hit about a woman contemplating transferring her consciousness into a younger body in order to give her daughter a better life.

But when I tell her I truly believe she inspired a generation of Asian American geek girls, she seems surprised.

"What an amazing thing," she muses. "I totally identify with being a geek girl."

Kim doesn't do much acting anymore — these days, she's a multi-disciplinary artist with a wide range of passions that she speaks about with thoughtful eloquence. But next week, she'll be returning to her roots as a guest of the Official 2019 Star Trek Las Vegas Convention — only her second Trek con ever.

In honor of this momentous occasion, she sat down with me to talk about Demora's legacy, Asian moms, and how she expresses her own geekiness.

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