Umma, Mama, Ina, Mẹ, Mom — across the Asian diaspora, whatever you call her, our mothers are forces of nature. In a special Mother’s Day feature, we ask some of our favourite Asians in entertainment about their relationships with their mothers.
For Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu, two-time Emmy award-winning journalist Jackie Fernandez, and Siren actor Curtis Lum, they all had to rebuild their relationships with their mothers through communication, which then turned them into their biggest fans.
JACKIE FERNANDEZ – #GhostwritersTV
After leaving her six-figure gig as a television anchor to tell stories that matter to her, two-time Emmy award-winning television journalist turned show-runner moved from Los Angeles to New York for school at age 18 with the feeling that she couldn’t get far enough away.
As a professional communicator, Fernandez was frustrated that her family didn’t communicate when things bothered them. “Psychologically proven, Filipinos don’t talk about their feelings directly, they express it through jokes,” Fernandez said. “My therapist helped me unpack issues I had in relationships and the root of it all was the relationship I had with my family.”
Through this process, she learned she could only change herself and her reactions to them, sharing: “If you can elevate your frequency, they will rise to meet you.”
This past year, Fernandez had shared an Instagram post about them on their anniversary and notes that “for the first time, I felt true, deep gratitude for all my parents had given me. They sacrificed so much when I was younger, and even now, to support me in following my dreams.”
Read or listen to more of the conversation with Jackie Fernandez here.
SIMU LIU – Kim’s Convenience
On the hit CBC show Kim’s Convenience, Liu’s character Jung has a dark past, which drove a wedge between him and his father.
Around the time Kim’s Convenience premiered on television, his mom turned 60 and he wrote a letter to her as part of a piece for the magazine, Macleans, which he describes as something he had been carrying with him throughout his whole life.
“It was an opportunity for me to articulate all these complex feelings — feelings that I needed to be honest about, while at the same time recognizing how much they sacrificed to come to Canada [from China] to build a future for me,” Liu said.
Liu also encourages others to sit down and think about how to broach that conversation with them because taking “that first step and being open and honest will only benefit you.”
“Even if it’s not something your parents are open to right away, if you don’t give them a chance to weigh in on the conversation, provide some sort of self-reflection in the way that they could have done things differently as well.”
In 2018, Liu took his mom out on a Mother’s Day date and describes it as one of his favourite memories with her, while knowing she will always keep him grounded and order his favourite dishes when he goes back home to Toronto.
Read or listen to more of the conversation with Simu Liu here.
CURTIS LUM – Siren
Actor Curtis Lum was named one of Canada’s Rising Stars by The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, but notes that when he first started acting over a decade ago, his parents weren’t all that supportive of him.
“I had to move out to have a strong disconnect for a while so I could come back and really be there for them, really love them, and really respect them — and for them to respect me,” Lum said. “I had to show them that what I was doing was not only viable and potentially lucrative, but that I was happy doing it.”
Today, Lum’s mom, Doris, is his biggest fan.
“Now, I almost don’t want to tell them too much because when I have an audition, everyday on the hour, my mom asks if I’ve heard anything,” the Siren actor explains, laughing.
More than that, he knew his parents supported him when upon returning to help at their family restaurant in between shoots, “the regular customers at our restaurant knew exactly what was going on. They knew where I went, for how long, and for what. My dad and mom were bragging about me to these customers.”
Read or listen to more of the conversation with Curtis here.
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