Check out our interview with actress Kallie Hu who can be seen as Peg, the loyal, hardworking, and ambitious friend you want in your corner, in all 10 episodes of Paramount Plus Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.
As she navigates the social hierarchies of the 1950s as a person of color, Peg acknowledges how much harder she has to work to keep her footing through the ups and downs of school, boys, and friendship.From Paramount Television Studios, the musical series takes place in 1954 before Rock ‘N’ Roll ruled and the T-Birds were the coolest in the school, and follows four fed-up outcasts who dare to have fun on their own terms, sparking a moral panic that will change Rydell High forever.
Follow Kallie @kalliehu_
Hi Kallie, please tell us a little about you?
I’m an actress and dancer from Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been dancing all my life and serendipitously moved into acting 6-7 years ago. I currently play Peg on Paramount+’s Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. When I’m not acting, I hit the slopes in a kangaroo onesie in the Winter and ride my Triumph Bonneville in the summer.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Hardworking, Compassionate, Loyal.
How did you get started into acting?
The summer I graduated university (I have a degree in Cognitive Systems from The University of British Columbia, with a minor in Commerce), I was accepted into a 1-year Masters program in Barcelona. However, a dance open call for Disney’s Descendants 2 (directed by Kenny Ortega and choreographed by Tony Testa) showed up on Facebook. I decided to give It one last shot (I had looked up to Tony Testa for years) and booked it! While filming, I answered an open call for a commercial audition on Facebook, and the agent that sent me to that signed me onto his acting roster. 7 years later, I’m still with that same agent who decided to give me that chance.
How has this changed your life?
Growing up I was always focused on academics, I never thought a career as a dancer or actress was possible. That one audition changed everything for me, otherwise I’d be in a lab somewhere studying brains.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is the 10% of the job where you get to flow — it’s that electric feeling of working off your scene partner and forgetting where you are. The hardest part is the uncertainty, but you learn to trust it all.
How do you prepare for a role?
The magic is in the script. I write out each line in the scene and work through its intention. I dive into the character’s “why”. I also work as an User Experience designer, so I like asking a lot of questions and listening empathetically to where my character is coming from. What makes her tick? What is she not saying? Then I physically embody the character — how does she walk, sit, eat? I try to be as specific as possible, while exploring creative possibilities.
Tell us about your work in Paramount Plus “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies?”
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies takes place in 1954, four years before the original Grease. It focuses on the story of the Pink Ladies, before the T-Birds were the coolest in the school. These four outcasts dare to challenge the status quo and be game changers in their own lives—and the lives of those in the school.
And about your work in popular shows like Showtime’s Yellowjackets, The CW’s The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Charmed to name a few?
Working on each of these shows was an incredible gift. I remember working with Melanie Lynskey on Yellowjackets and learning from her experience, grace, and the kindness she shared with the cast and crew.
What other projects have you been part of?
Netflix’s Love, Guaranteed (alongside Rachael Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr., and Heather Graham), CBS’s Twilight Zone, Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem, etc.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I resonate with characters who strive to be seen for themselves, rather than what they’ve been told to be and do in their lives. I love arcs where they move from the obedient ‘assistant’ to the badass assassin.
If you weren’t famous, what would you be up to right now?
Probably a neuroscientist in Spain that travels to do underwater photography as a hobby.
Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?
Michael Scott, or Goku (just to see him go Super Saiyan).
Can you name 3 actors/actresses you would love to work with?
I’m gonna list 5 (in no particular order): Steve Carrell, Meryl Streep, Collin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Pedro Pascal.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Knowing that I lift up my community with the good work I do.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
We’re such a small part in this huge mechanism of film production. Learn how you can add value to it by being the incredible person you are, with your own strengths and optimizations. That will be your superpower.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Perseverance: Aligning with your “why” so you can keep moving forward.
Prioritization: Knowing what you’re willing (or not willing) to sacrifice to make this work.
Confidence: Understanding that you are enough, and that executives, casting, directors, and show runners are all working hard like you to survive and thrive.
How would your best friend describe you?
I texted my best friend about this one: “Just there for you and a good listener”.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
“Peculiar Adventures and Positive Mishaps” — the smallest things in my life often turn into the biggest adventures.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Prioritize your health. Sleep more, eat well, and make time for yourself everyday. You’re freaking awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I listen to audiobooks all the time when driving or working out, so I can’t suggest just one. I’d recommend Stolen Focus by Johann Hari (a very timely book for this generation about modern day distractions) or I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi (this book helped me get my budget in order so I could move out of my parent’s home). Traditional suggestions include Atomic Habits by James Clear, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, and 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. And for an entertaining autobiography that inspires you to take life by the horns, Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey.
What’s next for Kallie Hu in 2023?
I’m not able to say at this moment, but there are exciting things in the pipeline. Though they’re not on the docket, I’d absolutely love to be on the next season of The Last of Us orThe Boys, Gen V.
What is your favorite healthy food?
An açai smoothie bowl with granola and fruit.
And your favorite cheat food?
What is your own definition of happiness?
Freedom, Health, and Family.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Hedy Lamarr – She was a brilliant inventor and actress. I want to ask her how she did both. I want to know how her mind worked.
Best advice ever given?
You can achieve everything you want to achieve in life, just maybe not all at the same time. It’s helped me understand the value of taking care of your health so you can be here long enough to experience all that life has to offer, with the people you love.
Do you support any charity?
I keep an eye out to support charities and causes as they arise. I am extremely concerned about the state of our environment and our current public education system. Without effective education systems for today’s modern landscape, we cannot solve the world’s most wicked problems.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Working on cool, meaningful, and clever projects that film across the world.
Favorite song? Why?
This is tough. It might be Somebody to Love by Queen or All These Things that I’ve Done by The Killers. Recently I’ve got Purple Rain by Prince on repeat. The composition of these songs just make you feel so full when you listen to them, they move you to different places.
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s a love hate relationship. In general, there is so much opportunity in it, but also opportunity for unhealthy obsessions.
Where can we follow you?
Book: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Quote: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
TV Series: The Office or The Boys
Favorite Food: Spanish Tapas
Travel Destination: New Zealand or The Algarve, Portugal
Sports Team: Vancouver Canucks
Photo Credit: Wolf Marloh @wolfmarlohphoto