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12.09.2016

Angry Reader of the Week: Jenapher Zheng

"I have become the person I needed 9 years ago."


Photo Credit: Russell Pikus

Hello, good people of the internet. It is time, once again, to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Jenapher Zheng.


Who are you?

The name on my birth certificate is Jenapher Zheng though I've used Jennifer as my legal name growing up. Since pursuing acting professionally, I've decided to go back to using Jenapher as a way to reclaim my roots symbolically, especially now that I have a much stronger sense of self.

What are you?

All existential quandaries aside, I am an American-born Chinese daughter of immigrants who speaks Mandarin to her parents, English to the rest of the world, and in the Third Person when talking about herself.

What I am today is a direct product of my education -- UC Riverside taught me that what can be taught about the world is never immune to questioning, that I had a burning desire to push beyond the mentality conditioned into me by my upbringing and find revelation through constant metamorphosis. CalArts allowed me to embrace my pain and overcome it, to express myself powerfully, and to see myself honestly and know that I am enough.

I have become the person I needed 9 years ago.

Where are you?

In my very affordable master-bedroom of an apartment near Sun Valley, where it is either dead silent or blasting Mexican NorteƱo.

Where are you from?

Alhambra, California. Where Asian-Americans are the majority and kids go through the agonizing process of reconciling a rigid Asian upbringing with a very American desire to find their true selves.

What do you do?

I am an actor, which is my main passion. I am currently in previous Angry Reader of the Week Leah Nanako Winkler's play Kentucky at the East West Players where I play Sylvie the Cat, sad ex-best-friend Nicole, and a multi-instrumentalist Bridesmaid. Apparently I also shamelessly self-promote.

I am a writer. But I tend not to sell my writing because it holds more value to me when I can offer it for free. I try to tell the truth as often as possible.

I am a generative artist -- I made a live-action video game theatre piece where audience interaction determines the plot, I make visual art, I've collaborated on music, movement pieces, and interactive experiences. My favorite pastime is getting new ideas for things to make.

I am an activist, and I know this because I feel I'm never doing enough to further progressivism. The work of an activist never ends.

What are you all about?

Empathy.

What makes you angry?

When people disregard the well-being of others for want of selfish gain.

Corporate greed and the monetary chokehold on our American government, our middle and working class citizens, and students who pursue higher education.

The national tendency to demean, stereotype, and oppress people of color, women, Muslims, and LGBTQ.

Cognitive dissonance, when it prevents someone from seeing another person's perspective.

When people don't admit that they're wrong.

When people turn a blind eye to social issues because it doesn't concern them or is too uncomfortable to think about.

Ghosting.