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Richmond actor lands part at Hollywood Fringe Festival
When Tiffany Mo first takes the stage June 7 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, she’ll be thinking of Denis Simpson, her former acting teacher at the Richmond Academy of Dance.
Born and raised in Richmond, the 22-year-old Mo now lives in Hollywood and is hoping to make a career of acting, having graduated in May of 2013 with a two-year degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, after receiving a scholarship.
“He was the one who coached me and helped me with my auditions when I was applying to theatre schools,” Mo said, adding that she’ll be dedicating her performance to Simpson who died in 2010. “Unfortunately he left us before I started my journey to L.A. I still think about him often because without him I would have never gotten here.”
Mo successfully auditioned for the role of Harriet, a 16-year-old girl who befriends two other radical girls in high school in the play Riot Grrrl Saves the World, written by Louisa Hill and directed by Scott Marden.
Harriet and her friends end up forming a band—Mo had to learn to play the drums for her character—and begin a riot girl group movement in their small town. Then things go sideways when the Apocalypse happens.
A preview of Riot Grrrl Saves the World is on Saturday, June 7, with four shows running through June 28 at Theatre Asylum in Los Angeles.
This isn’t Mo’s first taste of acting success. The Crofton House grad also landed a commercial for Lux hair-care products, which are only sold in Japan and China. She was flown to Atlanta for filming.
Mo recalls catching the acting bug during a Richmond Academy of Dance trip to New York with other musical theatre students.
They watched Broadway shows and participated in workshops, but it was a scene in the rock musical Spring Awakening that really affected her, bringing tears to her eyes.
“It stayed with me for a very long time,” she said.
The opportunity to perform and tell stories, and get people to be more compassionate and realize that everyone is “pretty much the same and goes through the same problems in life,” was something she took a liking to.
Mo began dancing at the age of six, but as a teenager, decided she wanted to pursue something different.
Mo said her family has been strongly supportive of her career aspirations, and they were excited to learn Mo had landed the part at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Mo is a first-generation Canadian, whose parents are from Hong Kong.
“They said ‘Go for it’ but don’t be too disappointed if nothing happens. They are so excited for me and happy for me.”
Asked where she sees herself five years from now, Mo said she hopes to be acting and have the means to support the life she currently has.
For others considering an acting career, Mo said “Go for it.”
“...(I)f you have the passion for it, put in the training and the time and effort to make yourself readily available and prepare to have opportunities.”
She recalls the famous quote: “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.”
There’s always a demand for actors who are “unique and different,” she said. “So be true to who you are.”