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Lea Salonga

By Sue Van Phan

Lea Salonga is a Filipina singer and actress who specializes in musical theatre. She is also one  of the most well-known Broadway actresses to date. She is also well known for the singing  voices of Jasmine and Mulan from the Disney princess animated films.  

Just like most children growing up watching Disney animated movies, I was very happy and  proud that Disney made a movie about Fa Mulan, the first Asian female warrior. I remembered  when I first heard the song “Reflection” from Disney’s Mulan, it made me feel less alone  because I could literally connect to the song that Mulan was singing. The way that Lea Salonga  sings “Reflection” is really captivating and has a lot of emotion in it.  

It’s also fascinating to realize that Lea Salonga successfully made it to the Broadway world given  the fact that there are not many people of color in the performing arts field. Knowing the fact that  Lea Salonga was the first Asian woman to break the stereotype is really inspiring. Not to mention  she was one of my favorite actresses that inspired me to keep chasing my dreams no matter how  

frightening it may be.  

As for supplying the singing voice of Jasmine in Aladdin, it also contains a lot of emotion and  depth to the song “A Whole New World”. Lea Salonga was able to bring another Disney princess  song vibrantly to life. No matter how much I grow now, the songs that she sang in Mulan and  Aladdin never get old. I admire how humble of an actress she became because whenever she  performed she would always made sure to give it her best and remain humble. The fact that she  was able to make it to Broadway really gave hopes to all Asian and Asian American girls and  boys that look up on her as their role model. Broadway may not be one of the easiest industries  to get into but Lea Salonga has already shown that if you believe in yourself enough you will  make it to wherever you desire to be.  

That might sound cliché but nothing worth having is ever easy. Therefore, through the dedication  and hard work that Lea Salonga put in and the choices that she made to bring her to Broadway to  continue and pursue her dream even further. In fact, it also shows how dedicated and disciplined  

Asian and Asian Americans are because after overcoming all the obstacles we eventually come  out to be much stronger individuals than we started off as. It is as if both being dedicated and  disciplined have been embedded into our genes. No matter how impossible or difficult the path  is, Asian and Asian Americans never give up and will continue pushing themselves harder to  reach their goals. 

To this day, Lea Salonga still remains an icon for many aspiring Asian and Asian Americans  performing artists. She gives off a sense and aura in her that anything is possible if you are  dedicated, disciplined and determined enough to succeed. Hopefully in the near future the theatre  world will begin to be more diverse and show more performances of various cultures as well as  backgrounds from around the world. That way people will be able to understand and appreciate  each other’s cultures more.