After weeks of back-to-back road trips, days spent under the desert skies of Coachella and a weekend celebrating the running community at Big Sur, May continued to bring me more of those road trips…
And then some.
I have to say, I am entirely grateful for the many opportunities placed before me and the many people who have come and walked into my life. Hell, my life is funny and exciting and it changes every day! And at 26-years-old, I think there’d be no other way to live, ya?
To opening the month being invited by my fellow Los Angeles Asian film community to cover various nights of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), with an opening night film that spoke to my wildest musical dreams (Yellow Rose, about a young aspiring Filipina country singer, touched on the immigrant experience growing up in rural Texas, felt a little too familiar and hit close to home). A year since my first time there, running into old friends in the community, felt like one big reunion. And to top it off? I shared an enlightening conversation and night with a kindred Hawaiian soul who just made my night. (Also, to have a dear friend witness two men buy me a drink at the same time in the same bar and deliberate over whether I need to say hi and thank you to one across the room was a memorable laugh, for sure.)
I spent the weekend being the best festival event staff once again with my roommate Angela, enjoying the breezy Long Beach skies and alt-rock of Phoenix, MGMT and more I had grown up listening to at the two-day Just Like Heaven festival. Come that Monday, we had been invited by another friend to a last-minute spontaneous Ariana Grande night out, to a whole day being pampered by our festival friends with a facial, gym and Korean home-cooking date. More nights out to celebrate and support friends’ films, meeting a longtime friend-composer (finally!) for the first time, and the closing night of the festival reunited with my bestie #RossAndRachel (the ongoing “ship” between us after all this time still entertains me). ‘Twas some (very long) nights to remember, only to head off that very next morning on a bus to the Bay Area to work an entire week at the Plug & Play Tech Expo (thanks to my roommate) with the lovely (and very bougie) people in the tech world of Silicon Valley (full with work dogs, $5000 massage chairs, endless catered food, and yes, the return of #BaristaRachel).
Back from the Bay, I spend my one week in Los Angeles with a final hangout with my beloved longtime UCI friend, roommate and dance partner forever, Daniel, who is off to the Navy and whom I will miss very much. I spent that day with my guitar at the beach in Orange County like old times. Then, I went to attend the Los Angeles red carpet premiere of Aladdin at the El Capitan Theatre, seeing my beloved bestie-from-afar Naomi Scott rock that night and bask in the glory to come of the film (though everyone around me was asking, “Who even is Aladdin and who is Jasmine?” only raving over Will Smith as the Genie — y’all about to find out!).
That night turned into one long, eventful Tuesday night out as I had spontaneously met someone on that carpet, got to talking and joked with me about that infamous moment the year prior where Naomi Scott may have hit on me (haha), only then to hang out at the film’s afterparty at the Roosevelt. As he is someone who has been in the business for years, he had joked with me about all the star parties and gatherings, how actors have “climbed the ranks,” and continued to share his own positivity and encouragement in my own endeavors (how sweet, but he also wasn’t shy in addressing his interest in me, which I have clearly denied and we have just laughed about it).
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Happy Aladdin World Premiere Day! 💫 It felt just like yesterday I ran into @naomigscott after a chance concert in LA and we got to talking. You had just finished wrapping up mid-film… and here we are! So so excited and so so stoked for you girl. I’ve become an immense fan since this day and am excited to fall in love with you @menamassoud and @willsmith as you take this iconic movie on. It’s always nice to shamelessly #fangirl from time to time. We’re all fearlessly pursuing our wildest dreams. Nice to know we’re all just kids in this game together. Go get ‘em. #aladdin #aladdinworldpremiere #premiereday #lapremiere #tuesdaynight #disney #disneyaladdin #worldtour #naomiscott #menamassoud #willsmith #guyritchie #princessjasmine #lemonademouth #rachelannc #fbf #itsacrimetobethatphotogenic
All my anticipation for this movie had grown that the #MilkTavern gang had finally reunited to watch Aladdin on premiere day — and after all the constant weeks of event after event after and countless film reviews from the film festival, it was nice to have a night out with friends to simply enjoy and relax. To Cyril, Angela and Kirbs, y’all are good company. (And yes, I was smiling cheek-to-cheek during Aladdin as it had brought all my Aladdin dreams to life in the movie. And to my girl Naomi, I am SO proud! ✨🧞♀️👏)
That next day, I got stuck in an elevator with my roommate in our housing community (lol) as I packed and headed off on my long trip back to the Bay Area (again! Packing and packing and my life in my bags, you’d think I’d get used to it?!). I made it to my dear Kariktan Dance Company’s 15th Anniversary reunion, which was something that was nice and crazy to think about (I owe a lot to KDC growing up, from a little girl at 12-years-old, bringing that to my high school culture club to leading college organizations through dance and letting me grow into the woman I am today… Oof! (Flashback: What My Culture Has Taught Me: A Memoir to my Time with ‘Kariktan’ and Growing-up | One Girl, Four Years of PACN)
And from then on, I decided to stay home in the Bay Area to reunite, reconnect, refresh and just be. I always have a lovely time home, as my times home are so few and far-between, so I decided to stay until my next work event in the Bay Area that would come mid-June… (More clips and more of an update to come in my June vlog, coming very very soon, as the month is coming to a close, ha!)
But, throughout my time home, it’s been nice to have a breather from the busy, crazy, neurotic lifestyle of LA. I’ve been inspired by so many films this month, had been in touch with my community and friends celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month all May, and got to writing and updating on my blog again: from that film on music, identity, Filipino and family? To a film about the unfair treatment of NFL cheerleaders and women, that reminded me of my own high school? To a film that made me feel like a little girl in “a whole new world,” again, and be my own Princess Jasmine through Filipino folk dance? To that film that just made me fall back in love with my girl crush Olivia Wilde creating movies that are damn funny, celebrate women, and have a killer soundtrack to match (and how about those stellar reviews as well)? And what about all the friendly faces, conversations had, drinks and meals celebrated to, and a happy Rachel living in the moment and living her very life in happiness and peace, doing what she loves with the people she adores?
Yeah, I’m not complaining. And I’m happy to be here. (What a fine, fine place to be, after months and years of struggle, loss, confusion, fear and doubt and never feeling truly “at home” with herself?)
Much more to come. Much to be excited about. And I can’t wait to keep digging and digging and diving into some new projects announced ahead…
I’ve found my truth. I’ve found that fire. And I’ve found that love.
As an endless wanderer and nomad, I think I’ve reached that point where I am ready to give up my gypsy ways and settle in some roots. (What? Me!!?) Yes, it’s true. And oh boy, does that excite and scare the hell out of me, all at the same time.
I’ve found that for years I’ve never quite felt settled and truly “at home.” There was a feeling inside of me that wanted to explore more, feel more, find more, experience more… I’ve always been a “seeker,” living my life in dreams and chasing experiences, stories and moments. And, I think I’ve lived all that. I think I’ve lived and gone through a lot of random, funny experiences to show for that have allowed me to know who I am that much better in just my 26 years of life. And now, I want to find that and those moments within myself, with the people I love right beside me.
“You need to live your life before you have anything real to say.”
With love and honesty,
View my past video blogs below:
Shedding and Movement 4/2019
Twentysix and Beginning Again 3/2019
I’m Stuck, Babe 2/2019
Back To The Velvet Underground 1/2019
Coming Up Roses 12/2018
In My Feels 11/2018
Through Thick And Thin 10/2018
The Last Hurrah 9/2018
Breaking Down to Break Through 9/2018
You Get What You Give 8/2018
Summer Daze 8/2018
Back To You and Hometown Takeaways 7/2018
Young, Reckless and Loving It 6/2018
In A New Light 5/2018
You Give Me That Wicked Love 4/2018
Forever On The Road 2/2018
One Sky, Six Months 12/2017
Looking For You, Five Months In 11/2017
Quarter Month Crisis 10/2017
Third Month’s the Charm 9/2017
I Adjusted Month Two 8/2017
I Survived One Month 7/2017
One Week Out 6/2017