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Meet Dean Lin

Image Credit: Lexa Payne @lexahammerpayne


Today we’d like to introduce you to Dean Lin.

Dean, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My name is Dean Lin and I am originally from Queens, New York (yas, like the queen Nicki herself). I grew up most of my life as a closeted gay, in an extremely traditional household. I remember the anti-black and homophobic remarks constantly being reinforced in my family. My childhood memories consisted of being saturated by heteronormative traditions, the importance of family, and I was bullied for being overweight (because I turned to food for comfort due to the lack of emotional connection in my family). My parents’ dedication to ensuring I have an education and focus on discipline created this emotional gap between in our home that prevented me from pursuing what I really wanted to do–be in entertainment.

My parents always focused on the opinions of others, and would always ask me if I was included or not–so I became trained to think that way. Not understanding my own identity and always feeling bad about why I was attracted to the same-sex, I developed serious mental health issues as a result. Going through tremendous weight loss and finally having “friends,” I focused heavily on what others thought of me–even if it was an unhealthy way of living. However, my struggles and overcoming my eating disorder has helped to spark motivation and passion for entertainment. After experiencing a life-threatening mental illness, I realized that I couldn’t just EXIST, I had to live and pursue what I love and that I am in control of my own happiness.

I was inspired by Asian actors/actresses and hosts like Ken Jeong, Lisa Lu, Sandra Oh, Constance Wu, and Randall Park. I have aspirations of creating content reflecting my diverse and intersectional identity. Growing up and never seeing myself on television was heart-wrenching. It made me feel like I did not belong in the entertainment industry because I would never “make it.” However, my idea of making it has changed tremendously as I endured many internships in the industry. After experiencing an arduous journey both mentally and physically and moving to Los Angeles alone at 17, I found myself wanting to change the world MY way as a result of being queer, a person of color, and lower class.

Taking my New York hustle and planting my seeds in Los Angeles, I have taken on five internships since my initial dive into the entertainment industry–switching from being a STEM major. I am extremely grateful to have interned at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Paramount Pictures, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Legendary Entertainment, and Fulwell 73 Productions. My previous years of experience in the entertainment industry doing assistant duties, learning, working at studios has helped me land a full-time position.

Apart from the networking and mentoring I received from those around me, I also learned so much about myself. Having my mentor Anita Ortiz at Paramount, mentors from Academy GOLD, and Fulwell 73, I became more confident in my opinions and gained clarity in what I eventually want my career to be–that is, to host my own show (obv. can’t let this personality go to waste, hahaha).

Right now, I am the Executive Assistant to the EP/Showrunner of Carpool Karaoke: The Series at CBS TV Studios–a show that airs on Apple, distributed by CBS and produced by Fulwell 73. I am currently working on my podcast and it will launch in the next few months. I can’t wait to see where my future takes me but also reminding myself daily to be kind, grateful, loving, and compassionate.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This has not been a smooth road. I think a lot of my struggles came with my past, mental health but also finding people who believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Many times, people only see successes but rarely see the challenges behind it. Additionally, being independent in Los Angeles was extremely hard, especially with finances and navigating recovery in college.

When I first started and switched from my STEM major, I had 30 rejections, until one day I woke up to a call from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and was given the opportunity to do a phone interview. Lisa and Jessie, even though they saw no entertainment experience, gave me a chance and believed in me. From there, I was able to get my foot in the door and at the time, I thought I was set. However, I had to take initiative to reach out to my networks and ask for help. Even with some experience under my belt, I continuously received rejections after rejection. But what I try to tell people is that it’s not about the No’s, it’s about the one yes and people that believe in your potential.

Though diversity has been increasing throughout the years, I think Hollywood still has ways to go in making opportunities available to anyone regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and etc. I will admit however, it took me a while to find my voice in the industry because I was always scared someone who was more privileged would/could fire me. But I had to constantly remind myself to never take anything personally, be my self, accept constructive criticism, and do my best every day.

Like Lady Gaga said during her Oscars speech, “What it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion: it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down and get beaten up, but how many times you stand up, and are brave and you keep on going.”

Tell us more about your work.
As I mentioned earlier, I work for Carpool Karaoke: The Series. I am the Executive Assistant to the Executive Producer/Show-runner. I help with maintaining the schedule for the EP and making travel arrangements/itineraries. I manage his email, calendar appointments, and meetings. Additionally, I prepare executive binders for production and shoot days as well as prepping Keynote, Apple Music, iPhones and iPads for production.

However, something that I’m working on producing right now to further my own hosting career…. is my podcast that will probably be Queer AF… ha. The tentative name for my podcast will be Pretty Gaysic, where I will be talking about my experiences, having people come on to speak about their journeys as LGBTQ, advice, and all things queer. People can keep up to date with my podcast on my Instagram @deanwlin until I get an Instagram launched for my podcast.

I think my enthusiastic, affectionate, and loving personality sets me apart from others. After going through my struggles, I am able to say I came out stronger and can be 100% myself at all times, unapologetically. Coworkers and my closest friends even say–I lift up a room when I walk in and bring a positive vibe to any office/setting.

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