February 21, 2020 Anna Akana Talks Into the Dark’s My Valentine + more
Some people who choose to dabble in multiple careers or hobbies are often labeled a jack of all trades, master of none. However, there are those like Anna Akana, an actress, writer, musician, and author, who seem to be a Jack—or Jill?—of all trades, but also master of all.
At only thirty years old, Akana has grown her YouTube channel to over 2.5 million subscribers, appeared in films like 2015’s Ant-Man as well as 2019’s Let It Snow, and released her debut album, Casualty, in 2019. Most recently, she played a major role in the Hulu Horror-themed series Into the Dark in an episode entitled My Valentine, and has a recurring role on the ABC series A Million Little Pieces, to name just a few.
Juggling a busy schedule, the multi-talented creator recently took the time to discuss her wide-range of projects, her burgeoning music career, and her journey to where she is now. Following the tragic death-by-suicide of her younger sister in 2007, Akana cited watching Comedian Margaret Cho as the first time she remembered laughing since her sister’s passing. Just for a moment, “I could forget that my sister was dead,” she tells Cryptic Rock magazine, and this inspired her to begin pursuing a career in Comedy.
Comedy was truly the jumping-off point for Akana, and in 2014—inspired by her little brother—she created her own YouTube channel that blends comedy with documentary, advice, and completely original story content in the form of short films, sketches, and informative videos, much of which she writes and produces herself.
Somehow, on top of continuously creating content for her channel, Akana also balances appearing in film and television. When asked how she manages to juggle so much on one plate and how to choose projects, she says that despite her stacked schedule, she is lucky enough that “projects just fall into place.”
One of her most recent projects is her role in the aforementioned Hulu series Into the Dark, a show that may best be described as Horror production company Blumhouse’s answer to Black Mirror. A series premiering back in October of 2018, each episode is a self-contained Horror film that tackles a range of subject matter. My Valentine, which fittingly premiered Valentine’s Day 2020, features a narcissistic, abusive, manipulative villain who uses emotional warfare to steal music for his own gain.
When asked what drew her to this particular story and her character Julie, Akana stated that she had worked closely with Writer/Director Maggie Levin in the past, and that this story hit especially close to home. In fact, Akana herself shared similar experience with well-known filmmaker and alleged abuser Max Landis, and she wanted to make sure that “Julie was played correctly.” That in mind, although not a huge fan of Horror films herself, Akana cited Joss Whedon’s 2011 film The Cabin in The Woods among her favorites.
Living life openly and transparently with her audience seems to be of utmost importance to Akana. She has been open about her sister’s death-by-suicide, her bisexuality, and her experiences. Though essentially growing up on the Internet, Akana mentions that though critical viewers have “activated [her] body dysmorphia” by picking apart even the most minute details, there is nothing she would change about the way she has lived her life.
Though living life under a microscope can present its own challenges, Comedy can be a way of coping with hardship and trauma. Conversely, as Akana stated, making music is something that forces a person to immerse themselves in their experiences rather than forget about it. With her album Casualty, Akana channels personal pain and trauma and focuses it into a cohesive record. She also plans to use her filmmaking skills to create a music video for each track. When asked about her experience in the music industry, she admits that she had nothing but good experiences creating this record, and that she has plans to record a second sometime soon.
Despite having another record on the horizon, Akana is also balancing multiple new projects including a new film, Go Back to China, making a select-city and VOD debut in March, along with a major role in the adaptation of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy for Netflix, and a brand new series coming to the soon-to-be-released streaming service HBO Max. An aspiring talent, there is no doubt Anna Akana will soon be gracing screens everywhere with her fresh, original content and exciting new projects.