Actress Miki Yamashita on Diversity and Invisibility

Miki-Yamashita“I remember almost always being the only Asian American in my classes, growing up in grade school and middle school,” says Massachusetts native Miki Yamashita. “For the most part, though, I didn’t feel that separate from everybody else. I feel like the environment was pretty inclusive.”

She said it wasn’t until she went out into the “real working world” that she was constantly reminded of being “the other” and therefore, different. For Yamashita, the real working world is the stage, screen and TV. In order to keep performing, Yamashita developed a variety of skills. “I had all these disciplines to be able to turn to when one wasn’t working out,” she says.

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, she worked as an improv sketch comic at Disney World in Orlando. Then she moved to New York City, where she was cast in plays and musicals, such as “The King and I.”

“There are roles where I’m pretty much a great bitch,” she says. “And so I tended to do the same roles in different theaters all the time. “

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Laura Axelrod is the author of the preceding article.

Laura Axelrod is a writer, playwright and actress. Her plays have been performed in New York, California and Europe. Her articles have appeared in The Birmingham News and Her book reviews were distributed nationally through Newhouse News Service. A native of New England, she moved to Alabama six years ago. You can read more at You can also follow her on Twitter: @laura_axelrod.

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