Olivia Munn is all the rage nowadays. Between her own acting career taking off and her headlines with Green Bay Packers boyfriend Aaron Rodgers, Olivia Munn is now a household word.
But it was certainly not always that way. Olivia Munn, like many Americans, is of mixed ancestral heritage. Her mother Kim Schmid is of Chinese descent, and her father Winston Munn is American/European.
Her mother and step-father raised her in Japan from the time she was two years old. So she also speaks Japanese fluently. But in her early days of acting, trying to audition for roles, she says she was often batted back and forth between two different objections.
“I’d go out for so many auditions, for everything. And then I’d be told, ‘You’re too Asian,’ or, ‘You’re too white.'”
It was hard for Olivia Munn to land roles for which there were preconceived notions about the race of the character. But she knew that would one day change.
“I remember someone telling me, ‘Don’t feel bad. One day they won’t be trying to match you to fit with anyone else. You’ll just be hired for you.’ So you can’t help but get frustrated. That’s part of it all. There’s always competition in any business. And all it takes is one role. Not even necessarily a great role. Just one job that makes you feel like you’re a working actor. One job can turn your whole life around.”
Regarding her speaking Japanese, she says it does not really come up much in the context of her work as an actor.
“No, not really. But I was lucky on The Newsroom, because (Aaron) Sorkin wrote an amazing episode where I could [speak Japanese]. He asked me if he could put a few Japanese words in, and I said sure. Then he said, ‘Do you mind if it’s a sentence or two?’ And of course that was fine. And then I get the script and its full-on massive dialogue. Sorkin dialogue is hard enough to do in English – imagine doing it in Japanese … But I was very happy to use it. Even though I’m half Asian, most people didn’t know that I could speak a second language.”