Edward Hong

Class of 2009

Majors: Asian American Studies and Theatre
Current position: Actor
Location: Los Angeles, California

A liberal arts education is essential to a student’s understanding of the world around them. The classes, extracurricular activities and organizations that I had the opportunity to get involved with would not have been possible had I not gone to William & Mary.

The William & Mary environment and the diversity of its programs, cultural organizations, activities, students and faculty all contributed to my decision to become an actor. As the first student to graduate with a self-designed major in Asian American studies, along with a second major in theatre, I was very involved in the Filipino-American Student Organization (FASA), the South Asian Student Association (SASA), film and media opportunities at Swem Library and the Department of Theatre. I also co-founded the International Performance Arts eXchange (IPAX), an organization that creates diverse performing spaces for minority voices. They all provided me with different avenues and viewpoints that helped me understand why I wanted to become an actor.

A defining moment for me was during a theatre production I was in my junior year. It incorporated 40 students from all different backgrounds, and being in that production helped me see that it is possible to be an actor of color and still make it in the industry. Every single show was sold out because people wanted to watch something that wasn’t so mainstream. It was a huge confidence booster for me and showed me that my voice has a place and a reason. Being a part of something so diverse and wonderful would not have been possible had I not been in a liberal arts environment.

My younger self would have never believed the success I have been able to find as an actor in Hollywood. I’ve had the opportunity to be in commercials, movies and appear in several television shows including New Girl, General Hospital and Devious Maids. The biggest highlight of my career so far has been a role in a theatre production titled “Vietgone.” The show was about refugees in Arkansas after the Vietnam war. They flew me out to Arkansas, gave me housing and we did six shows per week for four weeks. I don’t think I would have ever been able to do something on that scale without my theatre degree from William & Mary.