The month of May is an important month for the Overachiever community. We get to celebrate our diverse heritage, cultures and acknowledge pioneers in our communities.

Interview with Ciara Riley Wilson

Charlotte Drummond Outreach Director

Introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Ciara Riley Wilson. I’m a 19-year-old actress, dancer, and fashion enthusiast originally from Portland, Oregon, currently living in Los Angeles. 🙂

What made you fall in love with performing? Are there any specific memories that illustrate the love you have for it?

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been a performer. I’d put on shows for my family so much to the point where my dad would say, “how can we get this girl on TV already?” I also grew up in competition dance, which definitely made me fall in love with the rush of being on stage. Looking back, there wasn’t a single moment, movie, or actor that inspired me to go into acting specifically. I’ve just never imagined myself pursuing anything else, and I’m so grateful for that kind of clarity at such a young age. 

You’ve been on lots of different TV shows throughout your career. How do you get yourself comfortable on a set, and how do you approach each job?

The cool thing about acting is that every single job is different. Every set has a different vibe and process, so it’s difficult to approach each one a certain way. One thing that definitely makes me more comfortable is to try to get to know all of the cast and the crew’s names right away. The best part about sets is meeting the amazing people who run the show, so I make it a point to get to know them right off the bat. When it comes to roles, I have a very academic approach to acting. I do extensive journaling and scene work to really get into the head of the character and create a diverse and multifaceted world where they live. When I know my character inside and out, it helps calm my nerves in a stressful set environment and reassures me that I’m completely prepared. 

Not only are you involved in acting, but you also are an accomplished dancer as well as being a singer, guitarist, and fashion icon (seriously, your outfits are so cute)! Do you consider yourself a creative person, and why do you think you love trying all kinds of things within the realm of the arts?

Thank you!! That’s so sweet. I definitely consider myself a creative person and have drifted towards more artistic fields in every area of my life. I’ve also always approached acting as the study of life. To be good at emulating what it is to be human, you have to experience as much as possible. I guess that’s why I have so many little creative hobbies. I’ve always loved the arts and strive to experience as much or as little of every facet of it as I can. Quarantine has really helped me focus my creative energy into new outlets. Sewing & fashion has been my most recent and most exciting endeavor, and it’s definitely something I want to pursue further.  

What are some of the most fulfilling things about being active in the entertainment industry? What can be frustrating?

The most fulfilling thing about being in this industry is the people you meet along the way. Filming the live-action Kim Possible movie a couple of summers ago introduced me to amazing friends I will have for life and people in the industry that I can lean on whenever. It’s incredible to be a part of something that so many people are collectively working toward. The most frustrating thing is the amount of rejection. There can be years when you’re continually told no in every audition. Especially being Filipina, there aren’t a lot of roles tailor-made to me. But the moment you’re told yes makes all of the hard work and rejection worth it. 

Who are your greatest inspirations in the arts and everything?

One of my main inspirations is Zendaya. She made such a flawless transition between being a child in the industry to a thriving and respected adult. She’s multifaceted (actress, dancer, fashion icon, and musically gifted), so she’s shown that you really can do it all and not be boxed into a certain category. I also really admire those who push the envelope when it comes to what people normally expect from young women. I’ve always looked up to Haley Kiyoko (also an Asian-American queen!!!) Kelsey Karter, and Taylor Ortega. My work ethic is influenced by my mom, brother, and my acting coach, Cynthia Bain. I am also influenced by my inspiring group of friends in the industry who are going full force after their dreams. 

As a Filipina and white woman, has your mixed identity ever felt difficult or frustrating for you, and if so, how have you reconciled those feelings?

I feel like this topic of mixed race isn’t talked about enough in the industry, yet it’s something I think about constantly. All throughout my career I’ve found it difficult to connect to my ethnicity because jobs are so rooted in looks. Although I am half white and half Filipina, I can’t pass as white. When there are roles for Asians, I’m often not seen as Asian enough. People of color are also often grouped together as the token minority character. I appear Hispanic but have refused roles that specifically call for it, as I would never want to take an opportunity from somebody who can genuinely relate to that culture. As for dealing with these frustrations, all I can do is have hope for the future of casting. I wish for an industry where more stories are written for people from all different backgrounds, and people can feel enough in their own skin. Above all, I always tell myself that there is a place for everyone in this industry, and I should never want to change who I am. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Asian women today? 

Hands down, the biggest challenge facing Asian women today is the lack of representation in the media. Film and television is the most powerful tool to reach the world, and the stories of amazing Asian females can’t be respected if they aren’t heard. An article I read recently in the New York Times stated that Asian Americans represent only 1 percent of all leading roles in Hollywood. More surprisingly, over a one-year period, of the 242 scripted shows on broadcast, cable, and streaming TV, just one-third had a series regular who was Asian-American or Pacific Islander. These are statistics detailing Asian-Americans alone, not even Asian-American women. This issue stems from lack of Asian Americans behind the scenes as writers, directors, and producers who choose which projects are made. 

Do you have any advice for the young Asian girls who want to pursue a career in the arts, whether it be acting, singing, dancing, etc.?

I would love to say to young Asian girls pursuing a career in this industry is to use the inevitable rejection that a career in the arts will bring as fuel for your passion. Perseverance is key in this industry! There is a place in entertainment for Asian-American women, and you are needed more than ever. If you never saw somebody in music, acting, or dancing that looked like you, be that person! I love you, and you are seen! 

What’s next for you? Any exciting projects?

As for acting, you can catch me as Letti Remirez in the Bad Boys spin-off “LA’s Finest,” starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union, airing Monday nights on FOX! On my social media, I’ve been posting a lot of upcycled sewing projects and tutorials. Follow my Instagram and Tik Tok (@ciararileywilson) to see my journey in fashion and design! 

Wilson 2.png

Ciara Riley Wilson is a nineteen-year-old multifaceted actor and dancer raised in Portland, Oregon. At the age of eleven, Ciara began to pursue her passions in Los Angeles and went on to work on a variety of exciting projects from Disney and Nickelodeon (Bizaardvark, Henry Danger, It’s a Smackdown) to ABC (Speechless). Ciara is most known for her lead role in the live-action Disney Channel Original Movie Kim Possible. Most recently, Ciara has graduated to a more dramatic recurring role in season one and two of the Bad Boys spin-off series LA’s Finest airing on FOX. As a professional hip hop dancer, Ciara has also worked on music videos with Chris Brown, Usher, Gucci Mane, and Fifth Harmony. Outside of acting, Ciara is extremely passionate about fashion. She enjoys sewing her own designs for photoshoots and red carpets as well as up-cycling thrifted pieces to help promote sustainability. 

Social Media Links:

Instagram: @ciararileywilson

TikTok: @ciararileywilson


Outreach Director

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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