Check out my 4-page spread in Budo International – Cinturon Negro. June issue in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal. Soon on the Budo International website in English!! Thank you Salvador Herraiz for this interview! You can read the previous draft here, but make sure to check out the final interview at Budo International – Cinturon Negro.
Which Martial Arts have you practiced, with who and where? Most of my training has been in LA. I’ve studied many Martial Arts over the years ranging from classical styles like Wing Chun, Kendo and Kiryu Kenpo to combat sports like MMA and Boxing, to stage fighting and gymnastics, to reality based self defense arts like JKD (Jeet Kune Do) and BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).
If I had to classify myself as a Martial Artist, I would say that my main disciplines are Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee’s martial art, and stage fighting/fight choreography. These two represent two ends of the spectrum in that JKD is centered around real application and personal development, whereas stage fighting and fight choreography are purely artistic expressions.
As for who I learned from, I had many wonderful Sifus and Senseis along the years. I trained at the prestigious OSULA Kendo school, I trained with my beloved husband, Nhan-Esteban Khuong, in Jeet Kune Do, I trained with Terry Taneie, the founder of Kiryu Kenpo and I have also had the honor of training in Jeet Kune Do with Sifu Tim Tackett and the Wednesday Night Group. Also interesting to note, I trained in Stage Fighting with Chad Stahelski, Neo’s stunt double in The Matrix.
Did you practice Martial Arts in Spain or only in the US? The first Martial Art I learned was Western Boxing followed by Wing Chun, both of which I learned in Spain. Later on, I participated in my first action film and then immediately came to the US, where I continued to train and learn new martial arts.
What do you remember of working in Television in Spain, such as in “Uno Para Todas”, “NoSoloMusica”,… and your collaborations in shows with Alaska, Nacho Cano,…? Have you been in touch with these people? Being in all those shows in Spain Television as well as in tours all around Spain was a wonderful experience and a tremendous learning. I look back at those times in “Uno Para Todas” with a smile.It was exciting to be a representative image of “Nosolomusica” for years!
It was indeed a blessing to work with my two childhood idols: singing my own songs to open Alaska’s shows and composing, choreographing and performing with Nacho Cano, even for the Olympic Hymn Ceremony! Also, working with Diana Ross, Robbie Williams and Celia Cruz was very memorable.
I have been in touch with some of the people in Alaska’s band through the Internet, but not with her since she doesn’t use internet as much, same with Nacho. I did talk over the phone with Nacho and he wanted to have me in a show he was producing in Mexico, although I finally opted for staying in LA. I am in touch with all the “Uno Para Todas” people over Facebook, which is great!
Why and when did you move from Madrid to Los Angeles? In 2000 I came to LA with Alaska for some of her shows. I fell in love with the wide open sky and the nature surrounding me while enjoying the benefits of being in a world renowned cultural hub. The mountains are visible even from the center of Hollywood. This meant an instant improvement in my happiness and connection with nature while also increasing my access to world class training and career building opportunities. Los Angeles was intensely compelling in every way, so I moved here in 2004.
You went to LA in 2004. Did you know English? Was the beginning hard? Did you get into music? Were Martial Arts already in your mind and body? It was hard indeed. It was an “I will sleep in the streets if necessary but I am staying” situation. My decision to move to LA was so spontaneous that all I took with me was a suitcase and a few hundred Euros. I remember the first day walking around and carrying my luggage up and down the streets in this gigantic city, looking for a place to rent.I only knew very basic English and did not have much practice so I could barely understand anyone. I didn’t have a car, so I bought a bicycle which I would ride for hours commuting the long distances in LA to attend castings and auditions where I had to perform and look good after my long trek in the dusty streets.
I was fortunate to find wonderful people who helped me learn English and make my dream of living in LA a reality.
I have always been in and out with music, but Martial Arts was the focus in my life at that moment and the warrior spirit really played an important role in my perseverance during that challenging transition in my life.
Share about your work in the US in modeling, film, TV, videos, shows,… related to Martial Arts. There are infinite possibilities for talent in the entertainment industry here in LA but also a lot of competition. Everyone wants to be in the industry and many come here for this reason. I have worked in both Anglo and Latin television, in music videos, modeling for magazines and runway shows, I have been in Belly Dance and Samba companies and of course, in Martial Arts shows and films.Some of the things I enjoyed the most were Motion Capture for the video game Call of Duty, performing Martial Arts at Universal Studios, performing Castilian Voice Over for Ralph Lauren, and traveling with Kung Fu Femmes to India to perform Martial Arts shows for ESPN. An especially memorable moment was performing as a Samba dancer at Christian Audigier’s 50th Birthday. The lineup of guests and entertainers was amazing including Snoop Doggy Dog, with whom I shared the stage, Britney Spears, Pamela Anderson and even Michael Jackson.
In addition to performing, I also very much enjoyed working as a Martial Arts trainer for a SONY pictures film as well as a Stunt Coordinator for an independent film.As important as those experiences were however, I wanted to step it up a notch and express my self at a whole new level, by creating my own vision in entertainment. I teamed up with a production company and we created my music video FUEGO, a mix of martial arts and dance which won a Telly Award. After that I started my own production company offering online Jeet Kune Do video lessons, creating martial arts short films, and self development tools such as life strategy audios and guided meditations in both English and Spanish among other things. You can check out everything my production company has to offer at www.3VPrototype.com, there’s some free stuff for everyone to enjoy as well as media to purchase.
Did you work in other things besides film, tv, shows? My first job was a short temporary position as an accountant auditing a pen manufacturing company in Spain. Later, after working in Spanish Television, in Uno Para Todas and other shows and performing with Nacho Cano and Alaska, I thought I should try other things so I did some freelance graphic design and wrote poetry. To make sure that I really got a broader sense of experiences, I even decided to work in LIDL, a supermarket chain, doing a guy’s job, moving very heavy palettes of merchandise. I was basically juggling a double identity as my co-workers at the supermarket did not know I worked in the entertainment industry and vice versa; this was actually standard practice for me whenever I would go to school or take work outside of entertainment.
My first job in LA was in a night club taking patron’s emails as part of the club’s promotion. This helped me very much with getting more comfortable talking with others, especially in English.Not long after, I got my second job in LA at Winchell’s, a donuts franchise. They loved me because I was hard worker. Interestingly, on the day I started my first my work shift at Winchell’s, I was also booked for my first music video with the rap artist 50 cent. As soon I finished my work shift, I had to radically change my look and ride my bike to the set. As thankful as I was for the job, Winchell’s was soon history for me.
Do you know or have relation with people in Martial Arts and Action Films in US (such as Van Damme, Seagal, Dacascos, Diana Inosanto, or Tak Kubota de Glendale, Yamazaki de Anaheim, Demura en Santa Ana, Bob Wall,…)? I’ve met and worked with countless amazing people in the US Martial Arts and Action Film industries.I have had the honor of meeting many wonderful people in the Bruce Lee family and circle like Linda and Shannon Lee, the late Ted Wong, Taky Kimura, and Bob Bremer.Interesting that you mention Diana Lee Inosanto since she and I are Facebook friends and although we’ve never met in person, we have chatted online. A very kind woman. The internet has really revolutionized the way we can connect with others.
I was recently introduced to Cheng PeiPei from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. A remarkable woman. We, however, only interacted online regarding a film that she is preparing.I had the pleasure of working and training with many of the stunt people who double for all the most difficult action film scenes in Transformers, Pirates of The Caribbean, TRON, Avatar and other great films. They are amazing!
Do you know Karate and Karate practitioners in the US… and in Spain? I know fewer Martial Arts people in Spain, so I will refer to the US. Here in the US, Karate is often understood as any Japanese Martial Art, which I did practice. I practiced Kendo and Kiryu Kenpo and therefore I know some people in those styles. However, I have not practiced Karate in the sense of the specific martial art of that name.
What do you remember of Spain, of Madrid?My family, of course, my friends, La Puerta del Sol (where I used to live), the wonderful tapas and my beloved Horchata de Chufa! I also remember, with special fondness, Las Fallas de Valencia, una buena Paella… and so many more things!
Do you still have family in Spain, Madrid? Yes, I came to the US on my own. My aunt is on Facebook and Skype, which makes things easier, hahaha!Do you visit Spain often, little or nothing?I don’t visit as often as I’d like. It is a long trip and I have many things I am developing in LA which require my attention.
What do Martial Arts bring to you at a personal level? The words “Martial Arts” speak to me of ancient wisdom for physical and spiritual discovery and expression, passed from generation to generation in continuous evolution yet preserving its profound roots.Martial Arts bring to me empowerment, peace, centeredness, and grounding.
Do you train regularly, where, how much, with who? Martial Arts, or fitness, or both? My training is in a constant state of flux as I use a more organic and intuitive approach. In other words, rather than a strict regimented training schedule, I simply do what I feel inspired to do. At times this might mean training every day for a few hours and at other times I might train only once per week or even take a break entirely for months at a time.At this moment I am training 2 hours, once weekly.
I like to think of it as Superhero training or Warrior training given the unique conditions methods that we use, always geared towards nature and natural movement. We always train outdoors in various terrains and environments, combining many elements to hone and strengthen our bodies and minds. We focus on functional strength and power, agility, coordination, flexibility, and of course Martial skill and teamwork. You can see some of the videos of my training on YouTube, definitely not your average Martial Arts or Fitness training!
Where do you live in Los Angeles? I lived in the heart of Hollywood (Sunset and Vine) for 3 years and then I moved to the San Gabriel Valley once I got married.
Do you like living in LA? Yes, I love living in LA. The weather is wonderful all year. The population and neighborhoods are so eclectic that it’s possible to literally feel that you are having breakfast in China, lunch in India and and dinner in Mexico, or any other place in the World.
Which immediate projects do you have? Recently I have been back to focusing on Spirituality and developing my Healing Arts skills to balance my Martial Arts. I had my first experience in these matters about ten years ago, in Spain. It was so powerfully transforming that I felt I wasn’t ready for it, so I put it aside until recently.
I have since gained much greater empowerment and grounding thanks to Martial Arts and I feel ready to expand my capacity within the Healing Arts. I started by becoming a REIKI Master and founding the Heaven on Earth center where I offer Healing and Spiritual workshops. I am continuing my development within the Healing Arts by studying and practicing a number of other philosophies and modalities such as Heart Code, Sacred Geometry, Sound Healing and Matrix Energetics. I want to get into Shamanism as well.
As for Martial Arts, I am continuing to develop and launch new episodes of the Chain Jane and 3V Undercover series.