This is one actress you don’t want to keep on the down Low.
Mallory Low is quickly gaining momentum as an up and coming Asian American actress you should know about. She is a seasoned Hollywood vet who is only getting better and better. Currently you can catch her co-starring in the NBC show Marry Me, as well as the hit ABC show How to Get Away With Murder, starring Academy Award Winner Viola Davis. If that wasn’t enough, the tenacious young actress is currently writing, directing, and producing her own YouTube comedy series called Starving Actor Problems, as well as releasing an EP album later this year entitled This Is Mallory. Lucky for us, Mallory was generous enough to take some time out of her busy schedule, and let Amped Asia and our readers get to know the rising star a bit better.
Photos by Jiyeah Kim.
Amped Asia: So Mal we understand you are quite the busy bee as of late, what projects are you currently focusing on?
Mallory Low: Well Right now I am focusing on my music and my web series, that I developed Starving Actor Problems.
So singer, actress, writer, director. Is there anything you can’t do?
Ha ha, I don’t know about that, well I can’t juggle; I know that I definitely can’t juggle.
Well despite not mastering the circus arts, you seem to be doing really well with acting and singing. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the entertainment industry?
Well I got started in the industry around 6-7 years old; I started with commercials and kind of went on from there. It’s funny I actually got my first agent when I was around that age by singing my ABCS to her, after which she signed me and has been my agent ever since. It’s funny because she actually also nicknamed me “wild woman”, “Tasmanian devil”, and “wild thing” after that, and it kind of stuck.
Really? Wild woman? Tazmanian devil? Is there a crazy party girl side we don’t know about? Do you often spin in a circle furiously? How did you earn a nickname like that?
Ha ha, no I’m kind of an L7 square actually.
“L7 square?” What does that mean? Is this a math joke?
Basically I’m a non-partier, if you can believe that.
I can’t, but I don’t want to unleash the fury of “wild thing” so000 moving on… as an up and coming actress, and more importantly Asian American actress can you share with our readers any obstacles, if any, you face as an Asian American actress?
Oh yeah, well I don’t know if I would necessarily say there were any obstacles, but definitely challenges and things I can learn from them. One thing I will say is I think that a lot of Asian American actors and actresses get typecast; as the nerdy best friend, the geeky book smart sidekick who should also know how to do martial arts. Things like that. But I think as time goes on its getting much better. I think society and the world; they’re getting more and more used to seeing lead Asian American actors and actresses.
So kind of the elephant in the room, but do you mind if we ask what is your ethnic background?
Ha ha yes you can ask. I am Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian and Filipino, ha ha yeah it’s a lot. I am kind of an Asian mutt. So it kind of depends on the role I am going out for…
Can you elaborate on that? Do you think that being an Asian American has helped or hindered you as an actress or singer?
Well it’s kind of a double edged sword, yes and no answer. I think it can kind of limit like, when let’s say casting is wanting the stereotypical porcelain skinned demure Japanese look, well obviously I have darker skin, so appearance wise it can be limited. But also it can make me different. It can work both ways. It affects me more as an actress, but as a singer I think it actually makes me a little bit more different. Because I have what is considered a soulful voice, and it is not what most people are expecting, which is kind of cool, so I can surprise people with it. So in that case I can use it to my advantage actually.
Speaking of singing we understand that you have a new EP album coming out..
Well it’s called This Is Mallory. The EP album consists of 5 songs that I wrote and co-produced. The genre is pretty much soul, R&B mixed in with some jazz and pop vibes as well. Hopefully by the beginning of this New Year it will be released on Itunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and I will be selling it out of the trunk of my car. Ha ha.
Nice mix-tape style!
I think it’s a good idea, worked well for 50 cent, speaking of which who were your influences as a singer?
Definitely a lot of the R&B divas, I grew up with a lot of old school R&B. Aretha Franklin, her voice is amazing obviously, Etta James, I love her, and Christina Aguilera.
Is this your first EP album, what made you decide to put out an album?
Yes it is, yes. I’ve written these songs, and I’ve been writing since I was like 10 years old. So I figured I love music so why not share it with the world?
Were there any obstacles or specific goals you were going go with this album?
I definitely wanted to keep it soulful, I know that. I tried to stay away from the electronic beats and stuff like that.
A little more stripped down? Like less over produced like most of the music out there now right? *CoughKe$shacough*
Ha ha! Exactly. Stripped down. I like real live instrumentation. I’m a sucker for electric guitar solos and real drums and fills. It gives the music more of a live feel to it. And everything like that. So that’s what I wanted to keep on this album, the real musicality. I wanted to keep it soulful.
So we can’t expect like a Mallory dubstep track then huh? No Skrillex remix?
Ha ha! Unless Skrillex wants to do a remix, then absolutely we can we can expect one!
So we have the music covered, but I am curious, currently you are about to be co-starring in some pretty big shows on TV, I hear you are going to be on NBC’s Marry Me and ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder is that correct?
Yes, I was on an episode of Marry Me starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino, and Tim Meadows from my favorite movie Mean Girls, I play a singing waitress and we sing happy birthday to one of the main characters, it was so fun and had a great time. (The episode recently aired before the publication of this article, look out for the replay!)And I was on How To Get Away With Murder which should air January 29th. That audition was actually a last minute audition. I had to learn a paragraph of law jargon in under ten minutes. But it was really cool because I ended up getting the role! I play a law student in Viola Davis’s character’s lecture hall. So you will see me in and out of the scene in lecture hall. It was really fun; Viola Davis is one of the most humble people I have ever met. And I don’t want to say she is just “cool” cool, because she is like home girl cool. Like you can talk to her, have a real conversation. She is full of humility. So I am really grateful to have been in her presence, I had a great time.
Where these roles different from what you have done before?
Well the singing waitress that came easy to me because I am a singer ha hah, but the How To Get Away With Murder, was a bit difficult because I know nothing of law. The first line in the show I had to say was automatism. And the way it’s spelled it sounds like AUTO-ism. So going into it, I knew I had to research, a LOT of research, so I know I am saying the correct pronunciation, the correct definition, and know what I am talking about, everything my character, a law student would know. Otherwise I am going in there and casting will be like “She did not do her research.” So even though it was a last minute audition, playing a law student, I HAVE to know what I am saying. So that was a bit of stretch for me, but I got it.
Sounds like you raised the bar…
HAHA yes.. (at this point Ms. Low was kind of enough to graciously smile and give us some pity laughs at our terrible puns.)
So it’s interesting that even though you are booking these big mainstream gigs, it sounds like you are still passionate about creating your own material, such as your music, and new YouTube series. Can you tell us about that? What was the need or desire behind it?
Well the reason for that is that as we talked about before, appearance can often limit the performer. What casting wants appearance wise didn’t always reflect what I or a lot of other performers are capable of. I’ve been working in the industry for 17 years, and I wanted to take those experiences and just use them as a creative outlet, which is why I started the Starving Actor series. I just wanted to show casting, directors, and really the world what Mallory is capable of. Because when you step into a casting, you’re already playing somebody else, you’re already in different role, and might not be yourself. So just being able to show a little bit more of me, who Mallory is, and not care what I look like or how I speak or talk, and show my thought process on things is part of why I created the Starving Actor series.
And the other part?
Well with Starving Actor Problems, what I hope to do is, support actors and actresses, both professional and aspiring to be. because I think in this business, it’s a very competitive business, and everyone is out for themselves, which I totally understand that, but I want to be able to have this web series open up to and for everyone. So they can leave tips, advice, and support on how they dealt with these and other similar issues. Because everyone has gone through these fears, these problems, and all the quirky little issues that come with being an actor.
Is the series specific just to Asian Americans and your experiences or is it reflective of what you think actors go through in general?
It’s for ALL actors and actresses, Asian American or not, everyone who goes through these similar ups and downs in the life of an actor.
How can we watch it and get involved?
Definitely it will be on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/SAProblemsTV, or you can just search Starving Actor Problems. We also have a Twitter, @SAProblemsTV, and Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/SAProblemsTV. And the first episode will be up in the beginning of 2015. We have an IMDB, but I won’t tell you quite yet what the episodes are about, ha ha you’re just going to have to check them out!
Come on, a little hint. Don’t make us twist your arm. (makes menacing kung fu grip)
Ha ha OK fine! Well one of the episodes is called To Sign In Or Not To Sign In, it’s about how sometimes as an actress, an Asian actress, you wouldn’t want to sign it right after another Asian actress going for the same role, just because you don’t want to be compared to them based solely on your looks. And really nobody wants to be pigeonholed by comparison, because at the end of the day I think we have to look at it in terms of “We can’t be compared. “ We look different, speak different, we come from different cultural backgrounds and experiences. After each episode it’s about coming to these realizations about ourselves and the industry and learning how to figure out where we fit in these experiences and hopefully be able to improve and apply what we’ve learned for the next audition. I hope people can relate to it and learn from it.
Thank you so much for your time today Mallory, we definitely learned a lot about you and look forward to learning more about you and your upcoming projects. How can the Amped Asia readers keep up with all you are up to?
Well definitely IMDB for my acting projects, my official website, Twitter @MalloryLow, and you can find me on Youtube. And of course search for Starving Actor Problems on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook!