Meet the Hluav Taws Cast: Part 2

Putting out a casting call for my first ever original music video seemed daunting at the time. Yet as everything unfolded, it was one of the most inspiring parts of producing the Hluav Taws music video.

As auditions and interests came from all over the US, I soon realized how passionate my Hmong brothers and sisters are in acting. I'm truly grateful to have shared this "first" with six incredibly passionate and kind actors, and am pleased to present them to you in this 3-part series.

Note: This is Part 2 of the "Meet the Hluav Taws Cast" series.

Meet the Hluav Taws Cast: Part 1

Meet the Hluav Taws Cast: Part 2

Meet the Hluav Taws Cast: Part 3


Yumie Her
Charlotte, North Carolina

How long have you been acting? Do you have plans to act in future productions?

I grew up making amateur home videos for fun, but I stopped once I moved to CA in 2009. I joined M'kay Family Films in 2015 when I moved back to NC and have been with them since. I haven't gotten casted to play a main role in a film yet, but I hope to in the future. Although acting isn't my number one passion, it is something I still look forward to.

What drew you to audition for Pagnia Xiong’s Hluav Taws music video?

The first thing that drew me to audition for Pagnia Xiong's Hluav Taws music video was Pagnia herself. If it was someone else, I would have probably hesitated to email about the audition. I became a big fan of Pagnia when I met her in person at the J4 Tournament in 2016. Out of all other Hmong artist, she was the only one who asked for my name and signed it on her CD I bought. From what I saw, she greets her fans with a big smile and takes the time to conversate. A little acknowledgement from her to a fan like me, made a huge impression. She showed me how humble and amazing she was. I wouldn't dare miss an opportunity to work with her, especially when it's within the state I live in.

Besides being able to have an opportunity to work with her, the second thing that made me want to even send in my audition was the roles itself. When I received the details of the music video, I knew I wanted to do it and I prayed I'll get the role I had my eyes set on. It was a role I can relate to. I'm happy to say, I got it!

Name one highlight and one challenge you took away after the production.

One of my highlight from this film was actually being able to enjoy my time while working with everyone. I loved how we kept it fun yet professional. Without a great team and directors, there wouldn't be much of a highlight. We all need motivation and encouragement from each other to keep us going.

One of the challenges for me was being able to play the victim and not cry on set when it's not time to cry yet. Through years of hardships and experiences in my life, I noticed I've become really sensitive. Sometime it’s hard to control my own feelings when I'm so into the character. I know because it has happened once before in a film I was in. This time around I was able to control it better and overcome it. The first take is always the hardest for me.

If you could give someone who’s interested in acting a piece of advice, what would tell him/her?

An advice I would give to someone who is interested in acting is that you must know how to make face expressions and body language. This is more towards visual. It’ll bring your character to life. Stand in front of a mirror and practice as much as needed, and then record yourself to see how well you do.

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Nkauj Duab Vaj
Hiddenite, North Carolina

How long have you been acting? Do you have plans to act in future productions?

Acting in Pagnia Xiong's music video, Hluav Taws, is my very first time acting. It has always been a passion of mine, and I plan to act in future productions to get more experience. 

What drew you to audition for Pagnia Xiong’s Hluav Taws music video?

Like I mentioned before, acting has always been something that I loved and wanted to try, but I have never actually put myself out there to experience it. So, when I heard that Pagnia was looking for a cast for her Hluav Taws music video in North Carolina, I decided to audition and give it a try. Also, before auditioning for Pagnia's Hluav Taws music video, I have seen her interview of her song Hluav Taws, and the message/story behind the song. 

It was actually ironic of how I found the video and the song. I stumbled upon her video and the song right when I was going through what Pagnia was saying. It was as if Pagnia had written Hluav Taws just for me, and every word from her was exactly the feelings and thoughts inside of me. Especially when she said, "It's about seeing that one person, that you never ever want to see ever again in your life because they've done you so wrong, that you just hope that they perish, from your life." 

Listening to the song actually let me let out my anger, and made me feel strong from within. I felt that the song lyrics gave me strength to go on, and helped me get back on my feet. It made me realize that I could use the negative energy inside of me to become a stronger person because "kuv zaj dab neeg tsis tau xaus qhov koj ua txhaum." Therefore, when I heard that Pagnia was looking for casts for her Hluav Taws music video, I wanted to experience acting, and because this particular song was exactly my story during a short period of time. 

Name one highlight and one challenge you took away after the production.

So in the production, I played the role of a bully, Kab. When I first learned that I will be playing the bully, I thought, "this is going to be a challenge because I have never bullied anyone in my life before". Sure enough, onset, I felt that I was not fully playing out my role as a bully. I felt that in the first few takes, I was kind of too nice to be seen as a bully, and although I know that it was only acting, I still thought hard about my actions and words.

I remembered for my part of scene two, I had to slammed down my victim's book, which was Suabnag, played by Yumie Her. It was the first take of scene two, and I slammed my hand on the book very hard, too hard, that the room became silent as the book clash onto the ground and everyone froze, myself included. At that moment, I felt like I wasn't breathing and was scared that I might have hurt Yumie's hand from using too much force. Then after that, Pagnia challenged me to use harsh words and actions towards my victim. It was difficult for me because that isn't who I am, and my legs were slightly shaking as I was acting out my part.

However, what I took away from the production is that, at the end of the day, everyone is rejoiced and comes together like a big family. Also, the challenges that we face, we will overcome them. For me, it was kind of difficult because I am not a bully, but I tried my best to deliver the message to the audience that I am the bully in the video.

Also, if anyone ever see me in public, don't feel that I am the bully, Kab, from the video because I am not. I am actually very nice, so don't feel as if you must hide or run away when you see me. 

If you could give someone who’s interested in acting a piece of advice, what would tell him/her?

It was my first time acting, so I don't have a lot of advice, but for anyone who is interested in acting, my advice is to be confident in yourself and become the character of your role. Even if that role is the total opposite of you, know that it is all just an act because at the end of the day, you are you, and not the character that you brought to life. I learned this from everyone in Pagnia's music video Hluav Taws, and that is my advice to everyone who is interested in acting. I wish everyone the best and always remember "DREAM BIG," as Pagnia always says! 

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