Random Profile: Katie Leo

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Careers: Katie is a writer. She says, “Writing fills me with energy and always makes me want to write more. That’s a great feeling. If you can find something that does that for you, you should do it.” Though she wrote and illustrated her own picture books as a young child, it was fear that held her back from immediately pursuing a career in writing. About that fear, Katie says, “Once you admit what you really want to do, then you don’t have any excuse not to do it. And, that’s scary. The possibility of failure is scary. That said, over the last five years or so, I’ve gradually realized that I’m a writer.” When Katie first moved to Minneapolis, she didn’t know anybody except the person she had moved here with. She recalls, “I knew that I wanted to find a community, and something inside me told me to find Asian American artists. I saw a flyer somewhere for an acting class that Sandy Agustin was teaching for Mu, and I decided to take it. It was one of the best decisions of my life.” Katie acted in: Happy Valley (Mu), In the Heart of America (Outward Spiral), Bride/price (MaMa mOsAiC), and Q&A (Mu). As time went on, she began to focus more on writing. She says, “People always ask me if I miss acting, and the truth is, I really don’t. I’m a natural introvert (albeit an outgoing one), and acting always depleted me of creative energy.” Currently, she is focused on writing poetry, plays, and nonfiction. Her play Four Destinies will be produced by Mu in fall 2011. She’s also working on a potential project for The History Theater. She will be collaborating with her friends and fellow writers Sun Mee Chomet, Jeany Park, and Katie Vang on a piece about female Asian American civil rights pioneers. And, she’s working on a new play about Asian American superheroes, which she is very excited about! Katie adds, “Thanks to some State Arts Board funding, I’m revising my poetry thesis manuscript with the help of my colleague G.E. Patterson, a wonderfully insightful, intelligent writer who was my mentor in the 2005 Loft Mentor Series. It’s exciting to be working on poetry again, after taking some time off after grad school.”

What turns her on: America’s Next Top Model, Oprah, infomercials, potato chips, fries, salty potato products, Dairy Queen crack-dipped cones, chocolate, YouTube, Rent, eating, sleeping, reading, writing, singing in the shower and car, hanging out with friends, trips to: deserts, forests, and oceans, meditating, being quiet, laughing, having sex, watching movies, biking, BBC period adaptations, walking around the lakes, and Grey’s Anatomy. Regarding Grey’s Anatomy, Katie says, “I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy for Sandra Oh alone all these years, but after this season’s gratuitously violent and manipulative finale, I thought, ‘Why the hell am I still doing this to myself?’”

Word to Dairy Queen.

Read more here.