Monthly Archives: February 2015

Andy Trieu Interview: Laughter, Determination and Community

 Andy Trieu interview with AAFFN’s Indigo Willing

Photo of Andy Trieu.

Andy Trieu. Photo by Chris David

WHO:

Three-time Australian Champion Martial Artist Andy Trieu expanded his repertoire from competing in tournaments, to performing in roles across stage and screen. Currently he is co-hosting on Australian TV and radio show SBS PopAsia, and is also featuring on TV shows Kitchen Whiz (GO!), Maximum Choppage (ABC2), If You Are the One (SBS2) Rescue (Ch9), and Pyramid (Ch9). Andy was also apart of the top 50 CLEO Bachelors of the year and was a runner up for the national search for hosts on ABC3.

Andy is an ambassador for the charity All Together Now and an advocate of the National Stroke Foundation. He holds a double degree in International Relations and Business (Australian National University).

Q & A

Typecasting was a common theme and lack of opportunities. But I think the industry is definitely changing and more great things are happening in that area.

IW:

It’s been a while since we’ve caught up but last time was when you were a special guest panellist at our AAFFN’s inaugural event in 2011. Let’s get started! When you were growing up did your family always feel you would gravitate towards the entertainment world and if so, what were the long-term ways they’ve always been able to support you to do that? Or did you surprise everyone one day and say ‘I want to get involved with TV and films’ and how did that go?

AT:

I was a very noisy and naughty kid so I think my parents hoped that I would get into a field where I could let that out. Mum originally told me I should be a doctor and I said “Okay, I’ll be a doctor like Jackie Chan”.  She just had to nod. I told her if I got on TV one day I would say “Mum I’m on TV”. That maybe sealed the deal haha.

Mum did very subtle things to show her support, like buying a TV. I just had to then remind her to watch it. Dad bought a TV in his business and would tune into Kitchen Whiz everyday and when customers would walk in he would say, “Well what do you know my son is on TV” as if it were coincidental.  So from their actions they showed me that they cared.

IW:

Many kids and indeed, big kids and adults dream of presenting and acting in some of the stuff you’ve done but don’t know how to start. What was one of the silliest things you did when you first started, and what was one of the most positive things that worked for you in the beginning?

Andy as Kitchen Ninja on Channel 9’s Kitchen Whiz

Andy as Kitchen Ninja on Channel 9’s Kitchen Whiz

AT:

Between working on the shows SBS PopAsia and Kitchen Whiz I can safely say I’ve ticked off all the things that you SHOULDN’T do on TV. A typical week on each show involves rolling down hills, smashing cakes on my face, testing stupid superstations, and making a fool of myself in front of celebrities.

On a random note…

I went into an audition for Disney’s Power Rangers once and I learned the wrong script. That was stupid. I’ve then learnt that preparation is key!

One of the most positive things that worked for me in the beginning which also sounds very cliché, was to be myself.

IW:

You exude a strong and positive energy, and your screen presence has a lot of larrikin going on. The tone is down to earth and you are not afraid to have a laugh. In what ways can humour help bridge differences or further connect people together?

AT:

The great thing about being a childish silly ninja on TV is that it’s not very far from me in real life… I find that humour helps me get a message across to an audience in a more fun and engaging way. People generally have their guards down more when they laugh.

IW:

What are some of the more serious roles you’ve played? And what’s a dream ‘serious’ role that you would like to play one day?

AT:

I always wanted to be a Power Ranger! I came so close so I don’t think I’m ever going to let that one go! Disney I hope you are reading this.

I played a killer named Sef Gonzales on a channel 9 show called Crime Investigations Australia. My siblings were scared of me for about a week.

Also I’ve played the cliché Asian bad gangster guy on the movie Wolverine and Tomorrow When the War Began.

IW:

Who are some people in the Asian Australian community who have been influential to you, including those you’ve worked with and those who you have not so far?

AT:

I’m fortunate to know the lovely Poh (Poh’s Kitchen) and Anh Doh (TV personality) and I love them as presenters. They are awesomely down to earth people. I love their shows and their work ethic.

I would love to work with TV personality Luke Nguyen! I send him a tweet or two every now and then hoping he will notice me but he is a busy man haha. When I started at SBS I went around the building searching every corner for him …#creepy lol.

IW:

Well everyone wants to say hi to Luke – hi from us at AAFFN as well dude. But enough creeping and fanboy and fangirl time over Mr Nguyen. We are busy busy too lol. If we can reflect back to the AAFFN launch event, what were some of the common challenges your peers have faced?

AT:

Typecasting was a common theme and lack of opportunities. But I think the industry is definitely changing and more great things are happening in that area.

IW:

What are some of the ways scriptwriters, TV and filmmakers could be more inclusive of diversity?

AT:

I think this can be done in casting and in finding great stories in the community that include diversity. GO ASIANS!

IW:

In what ways do mates and mentors in the industry currently help you grow as a presenter and actor?

AT:

My team at SBS PopAsia are really awesome! My co-host Jamaica Dela Cruz and our producers Maddy Fryer and Matthew Smith are really experienced and creative. They put time in every week to work on helping me grow as a presenter on TV and radio so I’m really thankful for that. This is done through air checks and constant feedback. They also allow me room to take risks. Something they will probably regret haha.

sbs

IW:

You were a finalist in the CLEO Bachelor of the Year awards, and your mate Thien Nguyen won last year. What was that experience like?

AT:

Being chosen, as a Cleo Bachelor is a real honour because it helps all Asian guys in one form or another be seen in a different light, not just a stereotype.

More importantly it helps you get a date lol.

IW:

Asian Australian men have not been as prominent as models, presenters and so on until recently. What’s changed to make more opportunities to get involved in those professions and roles arise?

AT:

I think it’s because of the increase of great Asian related content from food to Asian pop music. More great content brings more opportunities. To get involved in these projects still requires hard work and persistence in the industry in my opinion.

IW:

Are there any community or charity projects that have been close to your heart and that you’ve been involved with directly or would like to give a shout out too?

AT:

I’m currently an advocate for the National Stroke Foundation and an Ambassador for All Together Now, Australia’s only national charity that has a sole focus of addressing racism. Check them out at http://alltogethernow.org.au

IW:

Let’s talk about the Kitchen Ninja character, one of the roles you’ve done for a while and which looks like lots of fun and reaches a big mainstream audience. What’s some of the best experiences about being in the role?

AT:

I love being a silly Ninja because I get to be silly and ahh…..be a Ninja… that just about sums it up.

But also being able to have creative control over the character, doing Martial Arts and destroying food is very fun. I’ve also learnt so much about cooking and I’ve got a really great co-host Alice Zaslavsky (Masterchef) who keeps me in check.

IW:

You are also part of the SBS Pop Asia family now. What are some of the most fun aspects of your role? Do you and Jamaica think up fun ways to present or do you get to do a lot of the show improvised?

AT:

As a SBS PopAsia presenter we get to meet celebrities! Also create content and interact with people that love the genre! There is definitely a hard work element to it though, on a typical day Jamaica and I come up with content with the producers for our radio show (Download the PopAsia app to listen 5-7pm) whilst writing content for our TV show and then we have to go on air or start filming for the TV program. When we begin shooting there’s not too much room to improvise but we take as many risks as we can.

As FURY in Maximum Choppage

As FURY in Maximum Choppage

IW:

One of your other current and big projects you’re involved with is Maximum Choppage for ABC2 TV. You are working with an amazing team, including a who’s who of Asian Australian talent on and behind the screen.   Can you tell us about your involvement?

AT:

In Maximum Choppage I play a villain named Fury. He is a charismatic, ambitious leader of a gang called the V-teks in Cabramatta and he is determined to take Lawrence’s character down. I had so much fun learning the Martial Arts and doing scenes with people that I use to Fanboy over like Lawerence Leung lol.

Oh I want to congratulate Timothy Ly and thank Matchbox Pictures for getting this project up and giving us all opportunities, especially Julie Eckersley. Starts on Feb 24th on ABC 2.

on set ABC2 TV series Maximum Choppage  as the character FURY with Lawrence Leung.

on set ABC2 TV series Maximum Choppage as the character FURY with Lawrence Leung.

IW:

What is one of the funniest things that’s ever happened in your work?

AT:

When I was new at SBS I walked into the wrong studio and sat in the newsroom thinking that’s where we filmed SBS PopAsia. I later got kicked out!

IW:

What are you working on next?

Hosting Hit Chinese TV show “If you are the one” on SBS2 with Jamaica Dela Cruz

 AT:

Wow you are going to regret you asked this question because I’m about to shamelessly promote everything!

Jamaica and I are hosting a marathon of the hit Chinese TV show If You Are the One on SBS2 on FEB 14th, Prime time at 8:30PM

At SBS PopAsia we are going live and travelling down to Melbourne to do some outside broadcasts on the 19th of FEB at Fed Square.

Also I worked on three films that are coming out this year Unindian, starring cricketer Bret Lee, Alex and Eve, directed by Peter Andrikidis, and Me and my Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse, featuring US star Jim Jeffries, Alex Williamson, Greg Fleet. SBS PopAsia is back every Sunday on TV 9am on SBS2. Oh, and Kitchen Whiz is on telly Saturday’s at 12pm on channel GO!

IW:

What is one of the biggest surprises in your career so far?

 AT:

Biggest surprise ever was when someone came up to me on the street and asked me for a photo and a signature. I was so shocked that I asked them for a photo and a signature. My Mum still doesn’t believe me.

IW:

That’s awesome!

See segment from SBS popAsia at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7-TY5CgJbk

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