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Bruin to Bruin: Ashley Liao

Photo credit: Helen Quach

By Lauren Miller

Feb. 19, 2024 8:12 p.m.

This new podcast series features conversations with exceptional members of the UCLA community. In this episode, Podcasts contributor Lauren Miller sits down with recent UCLA graduate Ashley Liao, star of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” They discuss Ashley’s acting career, and Ashley shares advice on how to balance school and a busy schedule.

Lauren Miller: Hello and welcome to Bruin to Bruin. On this show, we sit down with accomplished members of the UCLA community. My name is Lauren Miller, and I’m a podcast contributor at the Daily Bruin. Today, I’m interviewing a special guest, Ashley Liao. Ashley Liao is a recent graduate from the UCLA communications program and a former classmate of mine. Ashley Liao is an accomplished Taiwanese American actress. She’s worked with many big production studios such as Netflix, Lionsgate, Apple TV, Disney+, DreamWorks and Amazon Studios. Her recent big project, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is out. Ashley, thank you so much for joining. And welcome to the show. I’m so excited to speak with you. I miss you so much in classes like this. It’s so good to see you get you in the studio. And we’re really excited. So we’re going to start off with the first question. So, actually reflecting on your early days of starting your career, what was your very first theater production? And following this question, what inspired you to pursue a career in acting?

Ashley Liao: Yeah, I know; I started out acting by doing community musical theater. And it’s really funny because my mom actually kind of forced me to audition. You know, some parents put their kids in gymnastics or like soccer because they have too much energy. My mom put me into theater because I was too dramatic. And yeah, I started out doing that. And I did two productions, I was Violet and then Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. And then I was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. And I just, I really fell in love with the idea of, like, after a certain point, it didn’t feel like I had lined it just felt like the right thing to say. And I really fell in love with just the work that kind of goes into it, like the collaborative effort that, like theater and like performing arts kind of gives you. I don’t think I really knew that I wanted this to be my job until fairly recently. You know, this industry is so lucrative and volatile. And I’m, even now, that’s why I wanted to get like my education, because you never know in this industry. So I don’t think it was until maybe like 2020 or 2019 that I really was like, Yeah, this is something that I think I could do full time and be kind of good at. But yeah, when I started this at 10, I really didn’t think that it would get this far. So I don’t really know that I could say at ten years old that I wanted to be an actress, but I knew that it’s something that I wanted to at least give it my best.

LM: And a quick question, too. So who were you? Dorothy is where you started. I was Dorothy, and I was in the production of The Wizard of Oz. And I was Dorothy. So it was like the most lines I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And how are you good with memorization? Were you pretty good?

AL: Pretty good. Honestly, I think that was one of the big kickers for you. I was like, Oh, wow, this is not as hard as I thought it was going to be in a good way. Like I really enjoyed it. And memorizing lines is kind of one of my favorite things now. Do you still keep in touch with the cast from back then? No. Oh, my gosh, we all kind of went our separate ways. I think like it was. I mean, I know a few people still that were like my age, like I keep in contact with but yeah, just like my small hometown, you know? And was it a local production that you’re doing? Okay. It was like Orange County, a small town.

LM: Wow. That’s awesome. So moving on. From that, I have another question. So correct me if I’m wrong with the date, but it’s 2015. I believe you were casted as Lola Wong. It’s true. In the spin-off TV of the show Fuller House. And how old were you when you were starting? In the first season of Fuller House?

AL: I think I was 13. When I first started at Fuller House. I remember getting the audition like a week after my family, and I got back from a trip, and I was really tired. But I remember I was like, Oh my gosh, I like I feel like I look totally different. Yeah, I got that audition, and I didn’t even really know how big Fuller House was going to be and what a launching point it would be in my career. Yeah, I just had the best. I had the best time getting to work as a kid next to living legends like John Stamos, you know? Yeah, no, that’s amazing.

LM: So from that experience, as a childhood actress, how would you say that that show impacts your development into adulthood and really into your career?

AL: Oh, my gosh, I think about this all the time. I have no idea what kind of person I would be if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been in this industry longer than I have been, like, I almost don’t really remember anything from before it kind of in a good way, bad way. Like, I’m so immensely grateful. I feel like my job, and my profession has given me a lot of good skills to just use even outside of the entertainment industry. And so, yeah, that’s why it’s not just studying communication here too. It kind of all ties into itself with a beautiful bow.

LM: Amazing. And then now you were telling me that your parents and your mom kind of pushed you into acting? Right, so what would you say? She’s been very supportive of your acting career journey, and how has her presence in your life really influenced your career choices?

AL: Oh my gosh, my parents are the most supportive people that I know. And I genuinely don’t think that I would have had the opportunities if not for the fact that my mom was driving me to auditions and looking into what online high school was best for her daughter at 15. And stuff like that, you know. And so when I think about my job and my career and where I am today, like I wouldn’t be here without the sacrifices that my family has made, most notably my grandma, who would pick up my brothers from school when I have auditions and stuff like that, and yeah, my family has always been very, very supportive, which is surprising, you know, coming from like an Asian American kind of background and like a very medical family, for them to be like, No, you should go follow your dreams, because that’s why we persevered and why we struggled so much was to be able to give our kids opportunity. And so yeah, no, I am thankful to be able to have that opportunity because it’s taken me quite far.

LM: Wow, amazing. And now the next question that I have for you, so for the Hunger Games and including Love in Taipei, both of these projects, I remember you telling me in class how they were filmed abroad. And you were saying how much you loved filming abroad and just exploring the new destinations. So, what was your favorite location that you filmed abroad? And what was your favorite part of working abroad?

AL: I’m really lucky. I’ve gotten to travel quite a bit for work and gotten to know Vancouver and Toronto and, Taipei, and Berlin very well because of it. I really loved my time in Berlin; we filmed the Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes there. I was there for seven weeks. And it was just the weather was beautiful, you know, every single weekend, we would go to the farmer’s markets and like the flea markets together as a cast. And it was just, I mean, you juxtapose that with the fact that, like, filming love, and Taipei, we had a lot of night shoots. And so you get there at 7 pm, you don’t really get out to like 7 am. And so there were days like that, where like we get done at two o’clock in the morning, and I’m like, Alright, let’s hit the club. Like, I’m ready. My mom is there too. By the way, you know, my mom and I went clubbing in Taiwan. Oh, my gosh, whiskey. I cannot tolerate it, is what I learned. But yeah, I mean, I just can’t believe you know, how I’ve gotten to travel and being Taiwanese American, you know, getting to go back to Taiwan and like, see my family during the peak of COVID lockdown. They’re just like, What are you doing here? Right. And I’m like, This is my job. And they’re like, that’s like a real thing. Like, you’re not just saying, Oh, you’re an actress. I do actually work. I’m like, yes. So I’m immensely grateful that, you know, my work has brought me back to my people in my heart. And I’m just so excited to see where it leads me next.

LM: So you said your family is from Taipei? Correct? My dad’s side of the family. So, were they able to come visit you on the set?

AL: No, no one on set. Very strict. I was getting COVID tested like three times a week where they’re touching my literal brain. But I was able to see them in between and on my off time, and I got to go down to the south of Taiwan as well. And that was just. It was a lovely time. Wow.

LM: So you got to travel around the country?

AL: Yes. Yeah, it was. I mean, we went to different parts of Taiwan because we’re filming in different parts as well. So I mean, I have family in the south. So I went down there to see family once I was done. So, like, after we got done filming. I stayed for an extra two weeks, I think.

LM: Wow. So how long in total were you there? You said seven weeks.

AL: I was in Taiwan, I think two and a half months. Wow.

LM: And you just stayed all over the country.

AL: I mean, we were mostly in Taipei, and then we filmed in a place called Dome. So I come down to, I believe, yeah, which is a little bit more coastal. And then like Gushan was just like down at the south, which is where my family’s at. Sorry, I’m getting a phone call from my manager.

LM: No worries.

AL: Always on the clock.

LM: Yes, exactly. So, um, how many shooting locations did you guys go to in Love in Taipei?

AL: Oh, that’s what we did a lot. I think a lot of the filming that we did, unless it was indoors, was like, actually on set. And so it was the dead of winter from what I believe and there’s a lot of rain in the film. And so I was soaking wet. You know, actors always like, oh my gosh, like, this is the hardest thing I’ve had to film, and emotionally, This is it. Like that’s hard. But I think the hardest thing for me as an actor is not necessarily controlling my emotions, but when it’s cold out, not shivering, because it’s like, how do I combat what my body literally wants to do? Right. So things like that. We’re like when I’m cold. I think those are probably my hardest scenes to do.

LM: Yeah, absolutely. How low was the temperature?

AL: It wasn’t like freezing, but I was soaking wet. You know? Yeah, under the rain machine for a minute to get soaking wet. And I’m just like, Oh man, I’m like on the floor. It’s like, I feel really uncomfortable. Yeah, I’m just like, alright, this is my job. We’re doing this for the next 12 hours, you guys.

LM: Oh, my goodness. Now. So, moving on to the Hunger Games. So, in your recent project, you play Clemensia so what attracted you to the role? And did you experience any challenges while playing Clemensia?

AL: I mean, I think the first thing that attracted me was obviously the fact that it’s a part of the Hunger Games franchise, and I’ve been a fan of, you know, Francis Lawrence, our director work for so long. I’m a firm believer that Catching Fire is one of the best movies ever made. I mean, the audition hit my inbox, and I was like, There’s no way that they’re going to be sorting through 5,000 girls and choose little me. But no, I sent in my audition. I got a call back on Zoom where I got to meet our director Francis, and then from there, they called me, and they’re like, Hey, you got the job. And I was like, why? And so yeah, next thing you know, I was on a flight to London technically, as I was doing reshoots for Love in Taipei. So I literally went from LAX to London, stayed there for three days, did reshoots, and then flew out to Germany from there.

LM: Oh my god. So, this was while you were finishing up your project in Love in Taipei?

AL: Yes. So we did reshoots for Love in Taipei. Not actually in Taipei, but in Leeds in the U.K., right. England, England. British. Yes, yeah. No. And you can’t do that when you’re there is what I’ve learned because everyone there has an accent, and they think like, you’re just being mean. Yes. I’ll be like, I was so funny. You know? Yeah. So it was it was quite a culture shock in that sense.

LM: Wow. Okay, so where were you? So what were you doing in London? Exactly. So were you filming? Were you filming some new shots like The Hunger Games? You said you had to meet the director?

AL: No. So I was in London doing reshoots for Love in Taipei. So with Ross and Chelsea and Nico. We all flew out there. We did reshoots for three or four days. And then, I immediately flew to Germany to film the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It was back to back. That’s why I took a quarter off, too, because I was like, I’m so busy. I can’t do this. Right. Like, when I was actually filming Love in Taipei, I was still finishing up a class and so it was actually Professor Jim Newton’s class. OK, so I woke up at, like, two in the morning, Taipei time, and took my final. Oh my god, I submitted it, and then went back to sleep and woke up to work like the next day at like 6 in the morning. So yeah, it definitely you know, when people are like, how do you do it? I’m like, No, it hasn’t been that hard. It has been quite difficult. When I think about it.

LM: Oh, my goodness. So, my next question, when you’re playing Clemensia, how do you think Clemensia has influenced Ashley’s personality traits?

AL: Clemescia is so much the same and so different from who I think I actually am. And also from like, these other characters that I played, Clemencia is very confident; she’s very sure of herself. And she’s not afraid to necessarily be wrong, if it means holding her pride and stuff like that, versus like, ever. And she’s, she’s figuring out what she wants. And she’s right. Oh, and, you know, but in terms of how Clemencia has kind of affected me, I think that I’ve taken a lot of her confidence with me, and it’s something that I’ve kind of been working on, especially now, is like, you know how my identity is like an Asian American woman like in this industry, you know, how can I be more confident? How can I bring some comments? Yeah, kind of into that. Yeah.

LM: And would you say that’s been your favorite role you’ve played so far?

AL: I would say. So I just think that, you know, we had such grand sets. And it was such a large, large film. I mean, it was a blockbuster film, and it was made so personal and intimate when I was working on it when there were days when I was just Viola Davis and Tom and me and our cast and crew. And yeah, I mean, this very larger-than-life film became so real on days like that, where I’m just like, I can’t, I can’t believe that you know, they chose me.

LM: Wow, amazing. Now, I want to talk a little — I want you to talk a little bit about the U-N-F-O gala.

AL: The UNFO Gala.

LM: Yes, thank you. Sorry. I want you to tell our listeners, about your experience attending that Gala, and about what the goals of that gala is, and what type of activities the night consists of.

AL: So, the Unforgettable Gala or the UNFO Gala for short. We just celebrate every 20 years, 21 years of celebrating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in business and the industry of entertainment and sports, and it was my second time attending in December, I believe last December, and it’s just honestly it feels like a big family reunion because I think when you’re an Asian American, Pacific Islander like in this industry, it’s a very small group of us, and we’re still really trying to pave the way and so it’s it really is so phenomenal, incredible to get to be next to people like Sandra Oh, and like Daniel Dae Kim and people like that, who really trail-blaze the way for like modern Asian American actors, but when I think about like, who really set the ground as I think of Anna May Wong, who you know, was one of the very first Asian American actresses in Hollywood, and like what that means for me being this far along, and yeah, it really is so fun we’re like eating the whole night, and it’s I mean you name it there’s like a Ke Huy Quan from Everything Everywhere All At Once walked past I mean I was like oh, I don’t usually fan girl but I was like I love you so yeah, I tried to keep my cool out of that because everyone that I look up to is just in that room and there’s such power there.

LM: And how was working with Ross Butler?

AL: Oh my gosh, Ross is like the most incredible guy. He is always keeping busy. He’s like he was learning Arabic really? We were there, and wow. Artists too. He was like doing charcoal, like, you know drawings of lotus flowers. He’s just, oh my god, generous and really genuinely like I’m so glad I got to work with him and like Nico as well. I’m like, oh my gosh, like two phenomenal, phenomenal people and ever now has to choose between Hawkeye 1 and Hawkeye 2, you know I know tops are live for me yeah, I’m so I saw Ross, you know, at the UNFO gala this year too. And it’s good to see you and Chelsea as well. Yeah.

LM: Okay, that’s awesome. So I would like to ask you this too. So, how do you prepare for this gala? And is it common to experience any anxiety before these events? And if so, how did you deal with it? Because I’m sure you know it’s this is a lot like how did you deal with it?

AL: You know, it’s definitely gotten better over the years. I think that, like my very first red carpet ever, there are still photos of the I don’t know who let me walk out the house like that at 13 years old. There’s a photo and Getty Images of me at the Fuller House premiere, and that was my very first red carpet ever. Right, I didn’t know how to pose, didn’t I think I threw in some mascara and was like, let’s go, let’s do it. This mascara and I was like, let’s do it. I’m wearing a dress that my grandma made like it was, you know there are days like that I’m just like wow like look at how far I’ve come now compared to like the UNFO gala where I had like styling and glam and like how to wake up at like noon for like a 7 pm thing like it was just it was a whole big whole day then but I like to see kind of the progression of this little girl at 13 who like had dreams and didn’t know how to pose or stand on a carpet versus you know, the most recent photos of me on the network where you look beautiful she looks kind of put together you know so yeah.

LM: Wow, So you start from 12, and what does it consist of like the routine? I’m very I’m curious.

AL: You know so I usually wake up I take a shower I blow dry my hair brush my teeth and then I’m usually on my way to my managers place so hair and makeup glamor team will meet me there and then the day before two days before that actually I’m trying on different dresses to see which one I want to wear and then we get it altered by our my wonderful taylor, Travis, yes my wonderful tailor Travis who works with my stylists Brian Miller and yeah we you know get hair and makeup done I’m sipping on a diet coke and eating whatever I can before we get there and then you know we get to the carpet I meet my publicist there and we’re just we walk in try not to tense up too much.

LM: Have you ever like fallen because? I feel like that would be my worst fear like to trip.

AL: I know it’s horrible because Getty Images also has videos now, like people will video you walking down the drain so they catch every single live video of me walking down the Hunger Games red carpet. I’m wearing these like six inch red bottoms and a very long dresses. I’m trying not to trip. So yeah, I’ve almost tripped before, but thank goodness. None for real.

LM: Okay, you’re, like, not yet. So I also was wondering, Ashley, so, last quarter so you graduated, you know last quarter from the fall was your last quarter here and now you’ve officially graduated, so when you were a full-time UCLA student and actress, you were taking on a lot of responsibilities, a lot. So I was wondering, do you have any advice for UCLA students about how to manage their time, like time management balance?

AL: Yeah, you know, for me, I find that like, I like taking a shower first thing in the morning when I have something to do. It kind of wakes me up a little bit. Um, unfortunately, I probably don’t have the most healthy study habits, to be honest with you. Like, maybe don’t pull an all-nighter.

LM: How many all-nighters did you pull?

AL: To be honest, I don’t even. I can’t even count how many there were, but you know, just that’s just college, like right mom always told me like you’re gonna miss this when you’re out, and I didn’t really believe her but I kind of miss, I miss learning, and I miss like having to keep my brain active. So, in terms of time management, I like to write out a 24-hour day plan. I have a thing I’ll print out that’s like the day and 24 hours, and I’ll try to keep to that. That’s how you know the issues really hit the fan because I’m like, what beyond the 24-hour clock room,

LM: How religiously do you follow that 24-hour plan?

AL: Pretty religiously. Like when I’m able to keep on top of my work and stuff. So, I’d like to write down all the readings I have to do at the right time with the study guide. And I’m like, I need to start writing, like, page one of this paper that’s due on Friday and stuff like that pretty religiously. I’d say, yeah, it’s done me pretty good.

LM: It’s like the Bible.

AL: Yeah, literally, the Bible.

LM: So, Ashley, you thrived at a competitive institution, UCLA; I remember you had an incredible GPA, and you are always on top of it.

AL: A 3.983 will be the end of me.

LM: So, you know, since you thrive in a competitive institution like UCLA and in a competitive industry, what advice would you give to students in navigating a competitive environment and want to stand out?

AL: I think one of the things that made me want to be better, both in my professional and educational life, was just applying it to my actual life and making it really personal because I think it can get really overwhelming, especially in school, just be like, Oh, I have this assignment that’s due. But, you know, for me, I found that in my studies and communication, like so much of it tied into my actual work and entertainment, as well as just wanting to be a better communicator overall. Yeah, I think that in order to stay kind of motivated and stuff like that, we can’t compare ourselves to other people. I think Albert Camus wrote a great quote where he’s like, you know, to be happy when we must not be too concerned with others. And so I’ve kind of tried to stop looking at what other people are doing, and like congratulating them on their success, of course, but just like, I don’t know, I think I’m trying to focus more on me and like, what I think makes me really original. And what makes you, of course, really original and special? I think that’s really our strong point, too. And also kindness. I think being kind gets you a lot further than anything else. And it sounds really cliche and stuff to say that, but I think for me in my life, being kind and genuinely kind has gotten me a lot further than being talented.

LM: And I think a big point when you were saying this is, I feel like in this competitive environment, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others, you know, and you’re like, Oh, should I? You’re like, trying to figure out, you know, how do I stand out? Should I follow the crowd? Should I do this? Should I do that? And it’s hard. You know, it’s almost like trying to, you know, trying to figure yourself out, and you know, what makes you stand out.

AL: I mean, that’s still something that I’m figuring out now. Because, you know, when you’re at school, like you’re still only like, in your 20s, you’re like, I’m still figuring it out. Like, I’m still figuring it out too, and I think that’s like, something that’s really good to be like honest about is, like, it may look like my life is completely together on social media, because, you know, I am partially at fault for that for only posting the highlights of my life. But, you know, behind the scenes, my days are difficult sometimes. And I think one of the best things I did last year was getting medicated for anxiety and depression and just realizing that like being on medication doesn’t make me different. It doesn’t make me weak. It just helps me get through the day. Because, like life shouldn’t be a struggle is when I’m realized right here it doesn’t have to be a struggle, even though I feel like I’ve been struggling for so long. Yeah, that’s what I mean; I don’t know where the question is going with this. But yeah, that’s just kind of what my current brain has been thinking.

LM: And were you diagnosed last year, if you don’t mind me asking?

AL: I wasn’t even really diagnosed, to be honest with you. My mom’s a psychiatrist. So Okay, gotcha. Like you, you need, you need this. And I was like, Yes. She’s like, it works for me, it’ll work for you.

LM: And, like, so how was it like doing self-care? How did you manage on your self-care routine? And how did you balance that?

AL: So you know, there are some days where I’m just so stressed, like, there were days where I was working, where I was just so burnt out, and so tired, like, all I could do was just cry on my bathroom floor. Like, you know, beyond compare, and it’s horrible. Because it’s like, this thing that I love, so much demand so much of you at all times it you know, you have to be on, and you have to be, you know, professional all times, like, you know, you’re working 17 hour, I’ve worked 17 hour days before, you know, and by the end of that you’re just like, I want to go home and cry. Wake up and do it all again tomorrow. And so, I love my job so much. And I’m in such a privileged position to be able to say this, but like it really is work at the end of the day. You know, I might only be working for three months, you know, on a movie, but like it’s, you know, 17 and a half to 12-hour days all day, right? Plus school, juggling that as well.

LM: I remember when we were having lunch together, and you’re like, I have to go to a red carpet. I’m going to miss class.

AL: Missing class is great to go to a red carpet event, right? But you have to make it all up later.

LM: So what would you say, so far as now that you’ve graduated, have you thought about continuing your education, or what are your thoughts about that right now?

AL: Yeah, you know, I’ve always wanted to go to law school. I don’t really know what I would do with my with my, you know, constitutional law degree, but it’s something that, like, I think I’ve always wanted to do, and so if there’s time for it, I’d love to be able to go to law school and get my JD, but I might just play a lawyer on television instead. That’s easier.

LM: So, what law school particularly interests you?

AL: Oh, I’ve always wanted to go to Stanford Law. Yeah, it’s the pinnacle for me. You know, UCLA is a good law program, too. I have not taken my LSAT or my GRE but I got good vibes and good grades.

LM: And so my next question for you is, so what big projects are you working on now? Or upcoming? Or if you’re allowed to say, of course.

AL: You know, I’m reading a lot of scripts. I’m just running. I’ve got meetings and things like that. It is unfortunately very slow right now. But that’s good. I think, you know, you need it to be able to have a bit of time off, but I also just miss it so much. Right, hungry to work and right, ready to ready for them to ship me off somewhere else and have a new adventure for three months. Right?

LM: So okay, so you’re reading a few new scripts

AL: You know, I’m always working is the weird thing. Like I got a phone call from my manager. I’m, like, always on call. Like, I take phone calls in class. I get work phone calls at like one in the morning.

LM: And when was your first interview? Was it thirteen or Fourteen?

AL: I think my very first interview was probably like, on that Fuller House carpet. I had no idea what to do or what to say. But I think we’ve come quite a long way since then.

LM: So, how do you prepare for questions? Have you ever had a question that someone’s asked you that’s just like, completely thrown you off? And you’re like, like, how do you respond to that?

AL: I’m really thankful that we have things called media training right down with publicists and they kind of go through all the scenarios of like, what questions could be asked and what kind of, you know, responses to give and things like that? I’ve been really lucky thus far. And I don’t think I’ve had to, like, quote, unquote, dance around a whole lot of questions. I think. I’ve been very honest. And my question answering in my career, which I’m thankful for, it’s always something that, like, is my first thought. And I’m trying to be more like myself nowadays. Yeah, I think the number one thing that I do when I get the question is, like, people ask, and I just, I immediately start thinking of, like, bullet points of notable moments or, you know, certain phrases that I’ve kind of kept as like, not like default answers, but there are definitely certain things where like, Oh, I need to mention this and this and this. Yeah, it’s my checklist.

LM: But honestly, too, like, since you’ve had the media training, like how, how long? Is it like the media training? Like, what do they make you do? What are the different things that they make you do, like for practice.

AL: They’ll run through like hypothetical situations of, like, oh, you get asked this question. And some of them are, like, obviously very invasive, and things like that, and just how to deal with that and let people have their privacy.

LM: And I have to say because you’ve had that. I mean, you were such a wonderful, like a public speaker, especially in class. So I think sometimes, too, it’s so like, sometimes I get like that, like, oh, it can be anxious, like speaking up in class. And I feel like you’ve done it so beautifully.

AL: I just sit in the front row, man. Like, I can see that well, like I need glasses. My vision is not bad enough for that though.

LM: So, do you still keep in touch with any UCLA professors?

AL: Most of them. Yeah, I know quite a few of them back and forth about just like what is going on in life? And, like, what new articles I’ve read that they might find interesting, because I’m still always learning, like, I’m still using my UCLA database library and looking.

LM: How long do you get access to that?

AL: I don’t know. And I know, you think what the tuition we paid be forever. But unfortunately, I think they kick you off at some point.

LM: So, what resources would you say for UCLA students that they have to use in order for them to help in their career journey?

AL: Yeah, I think in terms of like, formal resources, like meet with your counselor, obviously; I mean, as a transfer student, I didn’t necessarily know going into it, that there was a unit cap on, you know, Latin Honors, and so I didn’t find that out until literally, I graduated and talk to the CAC and was like, they’re like, You didn’t hit the unit requirement, I’m like, with that GPA and they’re like, You didn’t hit and I was like, so no Latin Honors, and they’re like, no Latin Honors and I was like, This sounds like discrimination. But you know, things like that. Like definitely talk to your counselor. If you’re a transfer student, make sure you know what you have to do in order to hit that because I’m tired of people not knowing stuff like that when it’s broad information or not really broad information because you have to dig for it. But in terms of like resources, I think your peers are your best resource and getting to know each other and not being afraid to like to have bad ideas with each other and you know, especially in the Comm department like we’re such a collaborative major I think and yeah, that’s really been my greatest strength is like you know, it’s how we met so yeah. Your classmates and make a genuine to I think that you know, professors try really hard to like encourage you to talk to your classmates, but just do it. I think that your world becomes bigger, and your social network becomes bigger. And as a result, you have more access to the world.

LM: No, absolutely. And as someone who’s an incredible public speaker like you, and for someone who is, you know, who’s in the UCLA who’s a UCLA student, and is very shy, especially speaking up in class, like what recommendations as far as public speaking, would you recommend that are a great help?

AL: You know, slowing down has been something that I’ve been trying to do, so like hearing myself say what I want to say in my head before it comes out of my mouth is a really good one. Kind of just like replaying that scenario. Like if you have a question, you’re like, waiting and waiting and waiting to like, write it down for a second so that you don’t forget it. And then, when the professor comes to circle back for questions, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask because I guarantee you, like someone else definitely have that same question. Yeah. And if not, then you know what? At least you’re getting your question answered. Why is that such a bad thing?

LM: Exactly. And also to, kind of to follow up with that question, what about approaching professors, because I know a lot of students are I’ve talked about this with my friends. And they’re like, I can’t believe when you go to office hours and talk to them, it’s really scary. Like, how do you have any tips of how to like, ease that anxiety and just to be more personable and connect, because you’re so good at connecting with people?

AL: You know, on my very first days of class, I always make sure to introduce myself to my professors, whether it’s before or after my first class, and I thank them, I tell them why I’m taking the class very briefly. And then I leave and then, you know, I try to schedule my office hours before midterms just to be able to show face and, like, have them see that it’s like, I’m not just here because I need help, but also because we are each other’s greatest resources. And yeah, get ahead of it early. And don’t be afraid to schedule office hours, even if you don’t necessarily have an academic question, because I think that the connections that I’ve made with professors at UCLA are going to be ones that have gonna last a lifetime.

LM: Well, Ashley, thank you so much for being here. I have missed you so much. It’s like so good to see your face and your smile, just your presence. I really missed you. And I’m sure I know everyone else has missed you in the classes. Everyone’s like, where’s Ashley?

AL: Thank you so much.

LM: So, alright everyone, this is Bruin to Bruin and this is brought to you by the Daily Bruin Podcasts. You can listen to this show and all Daily Bruin podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud, and the audio and transcript is available at dailybruin.com. I’m Lauren Miller. Thank you for listening.

AL: And I’m Ashley Liao. Thanks for listening.

AL and LM: Bye-bye, everybody!

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