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Daily Inspiration: Meet Mike Cabellon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Cabellon.

Hi Mike, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in Las Vegas and went to school in Chicago, and spent all that time learning how to be funny and how to make stuff. I moved to New York after graduation, where I taught myself how to combine being funny and making stuff. Then I moved to LA, where I currently get paid to be funny and make stuff.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Has anyone ever said “yes” to this question? I think everyone has struggles! Most of mine probably relate to race. That question of, “Would I be treated like this if I were white?” rattles around in my brain constantly. I think almost every POC in Hollywood can relate, and I think eighty or ninety percent of the time, the answer is “nope.”

There’s also a question of socioeconomic status, which, jeez, I could talk about forever. But I think a lot of people in Hollywood kind of skirt that topic when they’re talking about struggles in the industry because oftentimes successful people come from some form of privilege. It’s just so much easier to go to an audition at two in the afternoon if you don’t have to worry about having a day job because your parents are paying your rent, you know? I never really had that luxury, so that definitely made things harder.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
In my experience, the most useful way to make connections is to find collaborators and other people at your level who you can work with. Lateral networking, so to speak. Find peers, not idols. If you can find people who understand you and who you enjoy working with, you’ll come up together and root for each other and lift each other up in ways that will help so much more than trying to reach upward toward some executive or department head or whatever. Find your people! When other members of that group start to do well, they’ll pull you up with them because you’ll have a shared history of work and trust. A rising tide lifts all boats, you know?

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I think that for a lot of Asian Americans in Hollywood, mentorship is tricky. Ideally, a mentor should be someone who’s already done the things you want to do and can help guide you through tough situations with their wisdom and experience. But there honestly aren’t that many older Asian Americans who came before us and have had the kind of success that we’re aiming for. It’s not their fault, they just came up in a drastically different system that kept them in a little box. We’re just now starting to break down those boxes, so there’s all this uncharted territory available to us now that nobody really knows how to navigate.

You know how in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam finds that old Black veteran who also got the super soldier serum, but he’s old and bitter now because the government tortured him, so Sam basically decides to prove him wrong, and that the system can change? It’s kinda like that.

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Storm Santos

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