Hapa Hour with Shino Frances

One thing I love about NYC is that I am always meeting new, awesome people.

Shino Frances is a NYC based Singer-Actor-Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer, Director, Producer, Translator, Dialect Coach & MK Beauty Consultant. NYC credits include: A Christmas Carol (Ghost of Christmas Present, Literally Alive) Jekyll + Hyde (The Players Thr); Color of Life (Rachel Beaty, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Full Length Musical, MITF 2013); THE SWANS (Outstanding Direction & Production of a Short, MITF 2014). TOUR/REGIONAL credits include: A Chorus Line (Connie Wong, Crown Uptown Thr); ArtsPower National Touring Theatre. Shino is currently ecstatic to be in rehearsals representing Hapa Actresses for her second production with Literally Alive in The Little Mermaid. https://www.facebook.com/shinofrances819

Alex – What makes you Hapa?

Shino – I’m half Japanese half Jewish-American (Caucasian).

Alex – Are Hapa’s treated differently in Japan vs the US?

Shino – Fer shur! Lol No, really though, in Japan it felt like it was considered such an advantage to be “whiter”. Do I have mixed feelings about that? Yes. Did I take full advantage of it any chance I got? Hell yes. And being Bilingual with the ability to read and write in English in Japan most definitely gave me a leg up in school and after. I didn’t feel like my mixed ethnicity was such a “strength” when I was a young kid growing up in Connecticut. I don’t know if I can really speak to the US side of this more than that though…. My adulthood here in the US consists mainly in NYC, which I consider to be quite unique when it comes to diversity and the way it is treated compared to the rest of the country. I don’t feel like I’m treated any different than the next whatever race or heritage person here in the city, because so many of us are just another different shaped snowflake of the blizzard. Here in the city, as a Hapa, I belong because I am different.

Alex – How long have you been performing?

Shino – My whole life!!! It has been told to have started when I was still in diapers and mooned everyone at the dinner table of a family event over and over again…..because I mean, they were eating it up so…. gotta give the people what they want right? lol Professionally, right out of college (musical theatre degree, Japan). Sincerely always loved to emote and perform for anyone who was willing to pay attention for as far back as I can remember. Started ballet, piano and theatre lessons at the age of 6.

Alex – Favorite artistic moment?

Shino – Hmmm…. The one that’s just around the corner

Alex – How has being Hapa influenced the foods you eat?

Shino – Hahaahhahaha, this is a good one. I’ll answer with an example…My idea of mac & cheese: mac with tuna, onion, seaweed, scallion, some sort of hot pepper and as many cheeses as you can get your hands on (or Kraft out the box.). This wasn’t something I grew up eating, but for some reason the hodgepodge of everything makes it feel right. It’s all mixed, just like me.

Alex – What’s your favorite food?

Shino – Oops, I might have answered that one by mistake…It really depends on my mood, but I like to mix it up, and I am very particular about eating the right food for the right moment.

Alex – What’s your favorite restaurant?

Shino – Currently?…Indian: Bengal Tiger, Sushi: Jewel Box, Steak: Wolfgangs

Alex –  Best meal you’ve ever had?

Shino – Mom’s porridge she would make for me when I was sick…. <3

Alex – Difficulties in being Hapa in the entertainment industry

Shino – Not being white enough or Asian enough… but then again, in this industry no matter who or what you are, aren’t we all too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too light, too dark, too serious, too funny…all at once, all the time…no?

Alex –  Funniest or worst audition story

Shino – When the whole room looked confused, even kind of offended, that I came in singing the Ellen part of I still believe for a Miss Saigon audition… yeeeears ago, couldn’t tell you the name of the theatre was if I wanted to.

Alex – Favorite family recipe?

Shino – OMG haven’t made em in years but: stuffed peppers from my mom’s side and brownies from dad’s (thanks Grandma Frances!!)

Alex –  Any advice you’d like to pass on to other Hapa’s?

Shino – Be you. You are the only you. And that is a beautiful thing. You are the living breathing proof of co-existing conflict. The living breathing proof that we, as brothers and sisters of the human race, can “find-a-way-make-a-way (Thank you Mary Kay Ash)” to common ground. I’m not talking about the fact that as Hapas we are the result of multiple cultures mixing…I am talking about how we balance our conflicting cultures in our brains and hearts every single day. Be proud. Be an example

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