Resurrection Sunday

I know Easter has become a very commercialized holiday, but for me today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the reason we are able to live. Thank you Jesus for this life and for setting us free. Though I fall short and I am sinful, I am able to live because Jesus died for my sins. If you're not a believer I hope you search for truth because even though you don't know him, he still died so that you could live. He doesn't ask anything of you except for you to know and love him. No matter where you are in your life, know that God loves and cherishes you.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3: 16-17

One of my most favorite things about church is worship. It's when I can be intimate and connect with God on a personal level. People have asked me why I sing Christian songs, but why do we sing at all? We sing love songs to share our feelings, fun songs to dance, etc and essentially Christian music is the same. They're love songs to God. I've realized many people don't know what it means to worship. Especially if you're not familiar with church, singing praise, or worshiping through music can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. 

Worship is basically the act of showing love and respect for God whether it be through song or prayer. For me, it's just how I feel closer to God. Here are some songs that I want to share with you today as we remember Jesus. If you're not Christian, that's okay, I hope you can still enjoy the music. God Bless you. 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received

And You've won my heart
Yes You've won my heart
Now I can

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

Stuck in Syracuse

I found out yesterday that some of my friends who've never shown any interest in my work, YouTube channel or Teenwolf have been enjoying my blog! I find that oddly comforting. One friend said growing up is a beautiful thing to witness... I guess I am sharing my growth and life with you here on a much more intimate level.

Random, I know, but thanks for reading old friends and new. 

I'm stuck at the Syracuse airport at the moment because our flight keeps getting delayed. First it was 10 minutes, then 30, now it's an hour and a half. I don't mind the delay, I just wish they would have told us from the beginning it was going to be an hour and a half instead of teasing us along the way.

I know some people might like that feeling of thinking it's going to happen soon, but it drives me nuts. 

I honestly prefer when a restaurant says the wait is 40 minutes and it turns out to be only 20. It's like a pleasant surprise! Or when a friend says they'll be 30 minutes late but they're only 20 minutes late. I always feel like that's way better than a friend saying, hey sorry, I'm running 5 minutes late. Then 10 minutes later they say So sorry, 5 more minutes, so much traffic. This has happened to me where I waited at a restaurant for a friend who ended up being 45 minutes late but basically said 5 minutes 5 or 6 times in the duration of that time. Of course the best option is - being on time. But it happens, life happens. 

Honestly, delays happen all the time so it's not that big of a deal. I fly so often I've experienced it all. Being stuck at the airport all day isn't fun but it definitely happens. The thing that irritates me is that it looks like I'm going to miss my connecting flight in Chicago and all other flights to Los Angeles today are sold out. I really wanted to go home and see Chewy, but is it bad that I got excited I get to eat Portillos and Pot Belly's in Chicago? 

I was just there a few days ago but 2-3 days just isn't enough. I barely got to eat all of my favorite foods while I was in Chicago! 

I know I said I was only posting videos on Tuesday's and Friday's but now I'm going to do my best to post on Sunday's as well! I just love sharing what I'm working on and it's too hard to be patient. Here's one of the videos I shot in Chicago this week! 

I love Coldplay, their music is so nostalgic for me. When I heard Corinne Bailey Rae's version of it, it was another level of excitement for this song. I knew I had to cover it. 

I got to work with Ann Chung on this one (I talked about her in my vlog before, she's the amazing singer who also has been giving me voice lessons). She arranged all the harmonies for me and taught me how to do it! I'm naturally not very good at harmonies, I barely hear them, so it's really hard for me to do it on my own. I'm so thankful she helped me on this one because I think it adds something special to the song! 

It was also great to work with Touacha again. Incase you don't remember him, we worked together last year on my single called Take it Off.  

Anyways, I hope you're having a good Sunday. If not, just think, you could be sitting at the airport twiddling your thumbs waiting all day like me. Go out and get some sun, enjoy the day! 

Instagram life vs Real life

I flew into Syracuse yesterday for my talk today. The city welcomed me with wind & snow so I stayed in the hotel last night. Figured I'd grab some wine at the hotel bar and ended up with a pretty funny encounter.

I was in my typical attire - hoodie, sweats and no make up. Traveling with my assistant so we were keeping it low key.

It was a fairly quiet hotel bar. No more than 4 guests. Most the evening was just us and the bartender.

Towards the end of the night, the bartender asked if I was Arden Cho, his boss had texted him asking to confirm because she had suspicions it was me. I laughed, said yes, then of course we started chatting about work, life, etc. Later one of the other customers chimed in because he was surprised he had found me on instagram.

Wow it's so cool you can have a disguise in real life vs instagram. You look so different. I laughed and said, yes, I don't have my face on. I guess I never considered it a disguise because this is my norm, but it's funny to see the other perspective. I often hear things like - wow, you're SO short in real life or you look SO different. It definitely makes me a bit uneasy and insecure but I realize it's also a perspective. Maybe it's a gift that I look different in different environments and scenarios. But I know I usually feel like I'm invisible - which is probably what you wouldn't expect to hear from me. 

I guess sometimes I don't even realize how far instagram is from the reality. I use it mostly as my highlight reel or sharing my work. Also sharing moments from my life that I think are instagram worthy. I guess it definitely is no longer a reality. I'm not trying to be fake or hide who I am but I feel like I can't share everything or post too much because of the "instagram asthetic". I guess that's why I started this blog. I can be more authentic here. I feel safer on this platform and less judged. My instagram page isn't even aesthetically pleasing, I try to be because it's part of my job but I honestly have no clue how some people make their pages look so perfect. 

I also don't share certain parts of my life, like some of my close friends and their families or loved ones if they're not comfortable with the exposure. Not everyone signs up for this lifestlye or lack of privacy.

Anyways, this made me think instagram is really misleading, social media is also so deceiving. I fall victim to scrolling through and seeing other pages, feeling envious, jealous and sad. But then I know my page might have to same result for others. Which isn't my intent at all. Most of my posts are images from photoshoots where I have a team of people making me look way better than I do in real life.

Instagram is like a live photo album or a memory book of my work. It's not the reality. So I hope you can take it for what it is. If it's affected you negatively, I'm sorry. It's something I hope I can look back at when I'm 60 and tell my kids - mom used to be kind of cool.

All Photography by Luke Rieke
Make Up & Hair by Sara Tagaloa
Wardrobe Styling by Katie Qian
Assisted by Eunice Lee

My not so little, little brother

It's been a crazy week of travels so I haven't been able to write much this week, but I'm excited to share what I've been up to. You'll see a lot of it in future videos! I finished up a few shoots in Chicago and I'm headed out to New York in the morning. See you Saturday

I'm also happy to share my little brother is making his writing debut on network TV tonight on NBC's Chicago Med 9/8c! Tune in and go show him some love!

Look how tiny and adorable he was! I'll probably always call him my little brother but I guess he's not so little anymore. Crazy how we both ended up in the same industry when no one in our family was in entertainment. He was initially a bio & pre-med major so I like to think he followed in my footsteps. Oh, my dear parents, they worry for us so much. I have my B.A. in Psychology but I haven't used it in 10 years and my brother graduated in Film Studies and Screenwriting. We're definitely all in. No back up plan. That's the only way it works!

One thing you might not know about us is that my brother and I are both pretty prideful. We like to do things on our own merits and we don't like to ask for help. We also rarely compliment each other. I'm the strict older sister and he's the free spirited punk that never listens. He never said this to me but he apparently told my older cousin that he went into writing because he saw how difficult it was for me book work because there were barely any roles written for Asian American women. I'm a broken record when it comes to talking about how desperately we need more Asian American writers, directors, creators and talent. I guess he did hear me after all. Anyways, I'm proud of you, Jason! Excited to see how 2017 unfolds for the Cho family.  

I have quite a few talks at Universities coming up, will be updating you shortly with the dates and times. 

#ThatsHarassment

Sigal Avin wrote and directed this amazing series of 6 short films. Each film provides an incredibly authentic window into the reality of what women go through every single day. It's not the violent sexual harassment we're used to reading about but the gray area. These stories make my stomach curl and it's painful to watch but it does exactly what she intended to do with her work.

You should definitely take the time to watch all 6 but I'll share the 3 I found to be most powerful and relatable to me. 

Honestly, until the last couple years, there were countless moments that I experienced harassment and didn't even know it was wrong. 

I knew it felt terrible and I hated it but I was made to feel like it was normal. Or that it was okay because they were just joking. Now when I open up and share stories to the people I'm close with, the first thing they say is - you should have reported it.

But many of those times I felt like if I said anything, it wouldn't have made a difference. I wasn't raped and a violent crime didn't occur. When I was propositioned by a director I left the meeting and of course, didn't get the part. When I was groped by a coworker I would ask him to stop but it would happen again and again. To him vulgar sexual remarks and ass slapping was harmless flirting - don't be so up tight. Room full of people watching it happen and no one said anything to stop him. Felt a lot like that defenseless model in - The Photographer. 

These films may not be exact scenarios of what I've experienced but extremely close, the result and feeling is the same. Feeling demoralized, shamed, worthless, dirty, powerless... it happens in minutes and lasts a lifetime. I love this campaign and I hope you'll share it as well because your sister, your mother or your daughter might not know #ThatsHarassment.

Read what Sigval Avin, David Schwimmer and the rest of the cast have to say in Cosmopolitan about their New Campaign to Fight Sexual Harassment

It's never too late to learn

When I was younger I felt like I knew so much but the older I get I feel like I don't know anything at all. No matter how much you know, there is an infinite amount of things that you don't know.

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." - Socrates. 

I'm always trying to stay in tune with what's happening around the world but it's hard to believe everything you hear these days. The media creates news that is often faulty or biased. The information we receive is so curated and everyone is trying to be first with whatever story may be viral.

Can I see what's out there, what is actually happening in this world? How can we really know from behind our computer screens? 

I envy those who can just drop everything and travel the world. Learning and absorbing all the different cultures.  

If I could rewind back to college and do it again there are so many things I would change. When I was in school I was in such a hurry to graduate and become an adult. I wish someone told me back then to slow down. 

I wish I could go back to the time when my only responsibilities were to go to class and to learn. It's such a privilege to be able to learn and get an education. I think a lot of people take that for granted, I know I did. 

Luckily it's never too late to learn, it just gets a little busier as we get older. I try to learn something new every day. I'm still discovering my voice and learning how to sing as I shared a few weeks ago. 

Search for answers, seek the truth. You can't learn anything if you think you already know. If you open your mind and realize that you may be wrong or mistaken, you might be ready to learn.

All Photography by Luke Rieke
Make Up & Hair by Sara Tagaloa
Wardrobe Styling by Katie Qian
Assisted by Eunice Lee

Just keep swimming

Sometimes you just gotta keep on swimming, like Dory from Finding Nemo. Don't give up. Even when you feel discouraged and exhausted. Just a little hope and strength can go a long way. There are a lot of moments I feel like giving up as well, you're not alone. These days I'm trying to fill my life with more positives, this industry can be so discouraging. But I'm trying to focus on the positives and have a better attitude. Nothing good comes from holding onto past mistakes and focusing on the negatives in your life. Brush it off and move on. It's going to be okay. 

I'm actually quite forgetful like Dory, people still joke and say I remind them of Dory. But I'm definitely not as happy go lucky as she is. I wish I could have more of her carefree energy and attitude. I wonder if that can be learned or if it's just a personality trait you're born with. 

Music always makes me feel better. Especially groovy songs like this make me want to dance and smile. I love recording music for you guys and sharing the songs I love. Music is the voice of my soul. Hope you enjoy. 

Get that Vitamin D!

If you're feeling blue go outside and get some Vitamin D, sunshine always cheers me up! I walk Chewy 3-4 times a day, that's at least an hour of sunlight and it does wonders for me. Couple times a week we go for a hike as well. I'm more energetic during the days and I sleep better at night. Whenever I'm feeling sluggish a brisk walk outside always does the trick. 

Here I am trying to tie a high pony without a mirror, how'd I do?  

Photos by the amazing Robby M this is one of my favorite every day looks from a fun shoot we had in Downtown LA, video shot by Eunice coming soon on my channel

Kisses! Now get off your phone or computer and go get some sun!! 

Sweater: Pam & Gela Lace up (size P)
Watch: Leonard & Church Varick 
Sunnies: Perverse Sunglasses
Jeans: Nobody Geo Skinny (size 26)

We should stop saying Beauty is Pain

I know everyone's heard it and said it. I'm guilty of saying it. Especially on days when I have to wear crazy heels to events and my feet are basically bleeding minutes after putting them on. If I didn't have a stylist forcing me to wear heels, I'd show up to the red carpet in sneakers. Would that be such a crime? Probably. When it comes to heels - beauty is pain. But why do we do this to ourselves? Is it because we feel the need to conform to a society that says you have to do xyz to be beautiful? Is our worth only based on our physical attributes? 

If we took a survey asking people what they thought was beautiful I don't think the answers would be high heels, waxing, corsets, face lifts, false lashes, eyebrow threading, excessive dieting etc... 

If beauty is pain, we're implying that beauty is achieved by suffering and overcoming uncomfortable steps to become beautiful. When in reality, beauty is within and beauty is unique to every individual. Why are we suffering to fit a mold that isn't who we are? 

Even Drake says, Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin' with no make-up on, that's when you're the prettiest.. But in all realness, it's great to get dolled up every once in a while and rock those killer heels but don't do that to your body every day. 

Seriously, I'm not saying throw away your heels, skinny jeans and make up. I have a collection of heels I love. I actually like looking at them more than wearing them. They're works of art. But it's about balance. It's nice to feel pretty, last week my girlfriends and I decided we would spend an hour getting ready - curling our hair, putting make up on, heels, fancy clothes and go out for a nice dinner. We actually had a lot of fun, it didn't feel painful. But at the end of they night oh boy did my feet hurt. My friend gave up on her shoes after dinner. I believe she was barefoot on the way home. We laughed and said, "lets just stick to sweats & sneakers next week".

You're beautiful with a naked smile and you don't need long eyelashes to see a sparkle in your eyes. Accept and love yourself for who you are, bare and natural. Knowing who you are will give you the confidence that glows beauty and joy from the inside.

I covered this song Try by Colbie Caillat last year because she's saying exactly what I want to say to all of you. You're beautiful just the way you are.  

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away

Share this with a friend who might need a reminder that she or he is beautiful. What makes you feel beautiful? Comment below. 

Do you have three faces?

Someone recently told me that everyone has three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are. I found this to be fascinating because I always thought I was just an open book. 

I'm fairly open & honest about my life unless it involves someone else. Respecting the privacy of those I care for is really important to me. I'm also not good at hiding my emotions or lying. If I don't like something or someone you'll see it written all over my face. On the flip side, if I like something, I won't be able to hide my excitement. I either LOVE it or HATE it, no room for the in-between.

Lets take food for example, if it's a hot dish, I like it sizzling hot and if it's a cold dish, I like it ice cold. I hate anything that's lukewarm. This reflects a lot in my life as well. I'm passionate about the things I do and the things I love. So that intensity really excites me and lukewarmness is the exact opposite. I consider it lazy to have a lukewarm attitude towards life. If you're going to do something, do it! Do it with all your heart and be great! Revelation 3:15-17

Now that I think about it, I'm fairly closed off in big public settings or work environments, mainly because it's intimidating and terrifying. I can come off a bit standoffish if I'm feeling uncomfortable. It's an INFP (Myers-Briggs) thing, we're constantly misunderstood. I'll elaborate on INFP struggles on another blog post. I also act a lot tougher than I am to those I'm not as close with. But my friends know I'm pretty sensitive and a total softie. I put less of a face on with my friends so they get to see the real arden. I'm awkward, clumsy, insecure, shy, incredibly forgetful - borderline needing professional help and I talk way too fast. Mainly because if I talk slowly mid sentence I'll forget what I was saying and completely lose my train of thought. Does this happen to anyone else?

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I feel like my closest friends see it all. They've seen me ugly cry, they've seen me heartbroken, they've seen me angry and much more. I'm really open with my close friends because I believe your friendships can only be as deep as you allow them to be. If you want real intimate friendships you've got to be vulnerable and open up. Friendships are hard work and you need to invest your time into them but they're so essential to a healthy life. I'm so thankful for my friends that are my community and my family. They keep me accountable and grounded, I don't know what I'd do without them. 

Whenever I dress like this I have a few friends who love to tease me. You look like a boy. But what's wrong with that? Why do guys get all the cool clothes? This is a mans jacket from the mens section but I love it! I can wear this, eat two pizzas and no one would know. All about comfort baby!

I just bought this cap and I'm in LOVE. I usually wear a black cap but since the weather's getting warmer I feel like this off-white colored cap is very fitting for the season. It's become a new favorite. I love hats and covering half my face, it oddly makes me feel safe. Maybe I do have three faces after all. There are definitely times when I feel the safest alone. But I still identify with all three faces, they all make me who I am. 

When you're fixing your hair but it almost looks like dancing. Photography by Robby M