Camille Chen - Starting with a Super Star / by Jacqueline Patton

It’s a week into January and I haven’t really started assessing my “resolutions” for the year. I do have goals for this year, but I think they’re more part of a process of trusting putting one foot in front of the other and not worrying so much about the outcome. That’s hard for a control freak like me. But growing is stretching. As someone who makes a living making and taking photographs, I sometimes wonder where some parts of my work fit into a business category. But I’ve decided that I’m not worried about creating a “brand” or figuring out a label on whatever this all is. Editorial? Commercial? Headshots? I wanted to make a space where we can explore the photos, and then look behind them a bit. And to create a place where not only I can share my work, but other artists can share who they are, too. A portrait is a collaboration; who they are is just as important as what I capture visually. At least to me it is.

On this blog I’ll also be trying really really hard to post some other personal work and thoughts…#goals…stay tuned on that. I’m using this space to just put out work that feels honest and I don’t feel like categorizing or marketing in any specific way. It can be messy. And that’s totally OK.

For the very first of this series of blog posts, I am starting with a real superstar. I like to hear people’s real stories. Everyone’s journey started somewhere, and until you stop breathing, the journey is still in process. I happen to take photos for a living (which still blows my mind). But I like to know more about what’s behind the image. I want to know what you order at a restaurant. And what you talk about to yourself when you’re driving alone (other people do that, right?).

And now onto Camille!

Camille Chen is a powerhouse, and also happens to be one of the most generous, sweet people I’ve met (and is also a karaoke badass). And I haven’t yet mentioned her immense talent as an actress because I don’t even know how to describe it in words. This girl was born to perform. You’ve seen her in almost every genre of TV Commercial you can imagine, and all over the small and big screens. Grey’s Anatomy, Game Night, Law & Order, Californication, American Horror Story…the list goes on forever. She’s everywhere, and she should be. When I met Camille, we were both living in NYC. Lucky for me, we both now live in LA and when she’s not on set and I’m not picking up a kid from somewhere or on a flight, we at least talk about trying to get together. ;) I asked her a few questions and you can read her interview below. Enjoy! XO

(To see more images from our shoot, click HERE)

JACKIE: What was your very first job?

CAMILLE: Well, technically my first job was in my mom's flower shop. Starting age 9 or 10, I would go every day after school and bill clients, answer the phone and take orders, run credit cards, sweep/clean up, etc. But I wasn't getting paid! LOL. My first "real" job was at 15 years old, I was a hostess at Chili's. Best job ever! I was 100% paralleling the life of the hostess in that movie WAITING. ;)

JACKIE: What do you do within the first 10 minutes of waking up? Do you have a ritual/routine?

CAMILLE: Unfortunately, I grab my phone and get on social media and read the news. I need to break that habit. I'd LIKE to wake up and meditate, that's a goal for 2019. Then, my husband walks our dogs and I make breakfast. I have to eat breakfast. I always have a big meal, usually eggs scrambled with veggies topped with avocado. And coffee. MUST HAVE COFFEE.

JACKIE: What’s one lesson this past year has taught you?

CAMILLE: I can't control everything! Crazy, right?? And not to take it so personally or as a personal defeat if things don't go my way. There's only so much I can do, and there's way more that I have zero control over. 

JACKIE: When you feel creatively drained or up against a wall, what’s something you do to break through it?

CAMILLE: I volunteer. I love volunteering. For some reason it opens me up, makes me realize that there's so much more to life than ME. I head mentored for Young Storytellers this past session (I've mentored before and performed in a bunch of shows), and I also volunteer with Project Angel Food.

JACKIE: What’s your favorite thing for dinner?

CAMILLE: I love all foods. It depends on what mood I'm in. But, if I HAD to pick, I would say Taiwanese food. Braised ground pork over white rice is one of my absolute faves. There's a restaurant in Los Feliz called Pine & Crane and the food tastes like my grandma made it.

JACKIE: If you could give advice to yourself 10 years ago, what would you say?


JACKIE: What would you try for NOW if you knew you couldn’t fail?

CAMILLE: Audition for a Broadway musical.

JACKIE: How did you start doing what you’re doing right now as a career?

CAMILLE: I started in choir in high school, which led me to the annual musical during my Senior year, which led me to theater in college!

JACKIE: When do you feel the most YOU?

CAMILLE: When I'm with my closest friends, cooking a lavish meal for them in my amazing kitchen (thanks HGTV!).

JACKIE: If you had a completely open day with no obligations, how would you spend it?

CAMILLE: I would have an amazing breakfast, go on an epic hike with my dogs and husband and stepdaughters, cook an incredible dinner, play board games with the family (and win), watch a movie while eating homemade popcorn with garlic infused olive oil and s&p.

JACKIE: Self-care – do you practice it? If so, what are your favorite ways to take care of yourself from the inside out?

CAMILLE: I love exercising, and meditating when I get around to it!

JACKIE: Dream travel destination: what is it, why, and have you been??!

CAMILLE: I love Paris, I've been a few times. I love the food, the culture, the walking. the people. I also speak French and I think it's cool to be able to adapt to different world. I've never been to South Africa, and I've been dying to go on safari in Kruger National Park!

JACKIE: Can you tell me what you are working on currently? 

CAMILLE: I've been recurring on SINGLE PARENTS, and I did an episode of GOD FRIENDED ME on CBS…also an episode of DRUNK HISTORY that airs in February! 

IG: @thatasianactress