How Actor Johnny La Paved His Own Way Into Hollywood and Entrepreneurship

At some point in our lives, we all recognize a calling that encourages us to pursue our passions. Those willing to take significant risks often find themselves doing what they love for a living. Actor Johnny La joins the list of similarly fortunate individuals.

He is an Asian-American performance-trained actor and entrepreneur born and raised in San Jose, California. Johnny has appeared on TV shows such as General Hospital playing David Chen, who works for the government agency and shared lines with Dr. Britt Westbourne, played by Kelly Thiebaud. His other credits include Young & Hungry, Murder Book, Family First the Marshawn Lynch Story, Hey Monster Hands Off My City, and more. Johnny starred as the lead actor in the trilogy film series Gunn, which he also wrote and produced.

“I have been in commercials for Kaiser Permanente, AT&T, Shock Top Beer, Sky High Sports, and more. When I finally decide to settle down and have kids, it would be fun to sit down with them when they’re old enough and show them these commercials,” Johnny said.

Taking The Steps In Unlocking His Passion

Johnny’s father, Nam La, and mother, My Lam, came to the United States in the late 70s to pursue a better life. A young Johnny learned Chinese Cantonese from his parents while growing up.

As he grew older, Johnny realized his desire for acting. It all began during his college years when he attended drama classes. While performing a breakup scene with his partner, the moment got so intense that after it had ended, Johnny caught a glimpse of the audience crying.

He immediately knew acting would be a calling he could not ignore. Yet it wasn’t an easy journey for Johnny.

It was in the early 2000s when he wanted to become an actor, but he noticed few opportunities for Asian-Americans at the time.  

“Most of the time, when we saw an Asian-American on screen, they were either portrayed as nerds or the loser who didn’t get the girlfriend. I knew that to begin my dream of being an actor, I had to start producing my own films,” he said.

By the mid-2000s, Johnny invested $30,000 to start a production company called La Productions. He purchased camera equipment, editing hardware, props, and hired crew members to bring his three-episode film series, Gunn, to life. He was also attending San Jose State University at time, and graduated in 2008 with a Business Administration (Management) degree.

“It was incredible during this time because I produced the films to open up acting roles for other Asian-Americans that were seeking the same opportunity. Even today, they are still considered a family to me because of our experience working hard through those years to get Gunn on screen,” Johnny said.

Throughout his career, Johnny gave Asian-Americans a voice and platform to showcase their talents as creatives.

“Gunn helped my journey in Los Angeles tremendously. Because of my experience producing and starring as the lead actor in the film, I was able to sign with Tangerine Talent and A.D.S. Management within my first year in Los Angeles. And because of the hard work of my agents and manager, I was able to land roles that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” Johnny said.

Johnny has also ventured into the real estate business, getting his California real estate license in 2022 and joining The Collective, Realty. He also started a digital marketing agency called MRLA Media, and produces his own digital content on social media platforms such as Instagram and Youtube.

Johnny La is represented by Sueanne Edan and Mindy Sheri at Tangerine Talent, and Andrew Stawiarski at A.D.S. Management.

Find out more about Johnny La on Instagram.

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