Blogger, actress, activist, foodie, musician… The list goes on and on! We are so excited to have the gorgeous and talented Lynn Chen with us today to share the inside scoop on her extremely busy life. With so many hobbies, it’s hard to keep up with her success! From acting at an early age to overcoming an eating disorder, we are completely blown away by this amazing woman. Ready for some serious inspiration? Here’s what Lynn has to say:
1. Balancing work and home life can be difficult. How have you been able to balance your business and personal life?
My personal life and my career seem to bleed into one another so often, it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. With acting, even when I’m doing “fun” things like watching TV or reading, I’m still analyzing the characters and the storytelling. With the food side of my life, going out to eat/cooking at home used to be a way to relax – but now it’s definitely “work.” Even when we travel, we’re documenting the process. So being alone, having time to not do a thing, is really important to me. I meditate in the morning, walk my dog, schedule monthly massages, and try not to commit to more than one social event a day.
2. Being so successful in so many different areas seems impossible. How have you overcome different obstacles on your way to success and what would you say to the women who may be afraid to branch out and diversify their lives?
As an actor, I have so little control over my career – in show biz, just because you’re good at it (or you think you deserve it) doesn’t mean you’re going to get the job. I’ve dealt with that frustration by making my own videos, blogging, photographing, writing, and podcasting because I get to decide when/where/how I’m going to do it. And since I’m already used to hearing “no” all the time, I’m not afraid to keep going, despite any rejection or negative feedback. It’s kind of like planting seeds, and seeing what’s going to grow. My garden isn’t full and beautiful when I give too much attention to one thing. (Disclaimer – I have a black thumb so forgive me if this is not the proper way to grow a garden.)
3. In recent years, you’ve become an extremely successful blogger and activist. What inspired you to go branch out into these areas?
Starting TheActorsDiet.com was something I started doing because I wanted to hold myself accountable while coming to terms with my eating disorder. I figured if I put what I ate online, I wouldn’t be able to binge or restrict because it was out in public. My family/friends were reading, and I didn’t want them to worry about me. I didn’t want to worry about myself anymore, either. Writing about how I was feeling was therapeutic – channeling that obsession into something creative. ThickDumplingSkin.com came out of the readers’ responses organically; so many people wanted to talk more about the body image stuff and I felt there needed to be a separate space for that.
4. What advice would you give to someone who wants to grow her current business?
Just go forth and start – and try not to compare yourself to others. That includes past/future versions of yourself. Find people who are going to be on your side to talk to. Or, pay someone to talk to if you can’t find those people. Don’t worry about making mistakes, because you’re going to make them, and then you’re going to fix them.
5. From acting, blogging, food, and music, what are some interests our readers may not know about?
I love video games! I used to be a lot more obsessed as a kid – the games are a lot harder now. I actually play a bad guy boss in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops III (you can watch my video of me playing myself, which was surreal). My favorite thing to do (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) is to play Angry Birds while listening to Oprah. There’s something so meditative and calming about this combo. It’s my church.
6. Can you tell us some of your favorite recipes?
My husband is a vegetarian, so when I’m cooking at home I like to make a lot of plant-based dishes. Blueberry Quinoa with Rosemary + Cashews and Stone Fruit Panzanella were big crowd pleasers. When it comes to baking, I’m not ashamed to use a box mix. These Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Muffins combine all of my favorite things into one. And last but not least, I feel it is my true calling to tell the world to stop making frozen dumplings according to package directions. This is how you should make them, end of story.
7. Lynn, you are such an inspiration to women all over the world. Do you have someone that has been an inspiration to you?
That makes me smile, thank you! I remember over a decade ago, when I was consumed the most with my eating disorder – it had been years of therapy, and there was no progress, only constant struggle. Nigella Lawson was on the television – showing how easy cooking was. How it didn’t need to be flawless. Watching a woman make zero apologies for taking pleasure in food was a revelation to me. Imperfection is still inspirational to me; when someone I love shows me their struggles, it reminds me how little my admiration for them has to do with their perfection.
8. You have been making a name for yourself since the age of 5! What would you say has kept you motivated all these years?
I honestly don’t know how to stop. It’s all I’ve ever known – being a performer. Surrounding myself with creative people helps me keep at it – celebrating our successes, and commiserating when things aren’t going so hot.
9. You have been doing incredible work for NEDA helping spread awareness for eating disorders. What would you say to the women who may be struggling with an eating disorder and don’t know how to get help?
NEDA is a wonderful place to start. I remember going there to find my first therapist; I stumbled upon their Celebrity Ambassador page and couldn’t imagine being that public about my eating disorders, let alone recovery. Today I’m on that page, and I’m living proof that the seemingly never-ending food struggle can stop. Aside from personal or group therapy, there is a wealth of body positive resources online. We’ve got a list over on Thick Dumpling Skin.
10. What is next for Lynn Chen?
Several trips, more food videos, a couple films, and hopefully a TV Show! We’re working on making that happen!
Photography for Best Friends For Frosting by: Adam Hendershott