Photography Tenley Clark
MIYA CECH @miyacech
Interview : Rhonda McKnight
Originally from Northern California, Miya Cech was adopted from Japan as a baby and raised alongside her three siblings, two of whom were adopted as well. She looks forward to using her platform to shed light on the domestic and international process of adoption. It is important to her to normalize the topic of adoption, giving children in the adoption system a platform in which they are comfortable discussing their experiences.
Miya stars as ‘Samantha Sawyer-Wei,’ a young girl who is a part of a group of kids who are accidentally launched into space; they embark on an adventure of a lifetime to find their way back home. In prepping for the series she got to experience space camp training for a week and has continued to do yoga on the regular to stay fit for the series and what this show physically requires. The series is executive produced by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and Imagine Kids+Family President Stephanie Sperber. Will Davis serves as a creative executive for Imagine Kids+Family.
How important is it for you to support the Asian communities?
Often, I get feedback from young Asian American fans that the characters I portray inspire them because they can see someone who looks like them on TV/Film. This is so inspiring to me because everyone deserves to be represented and see themselves represented. I always try to keep a strong connection to my community because I want to be represented honestly and authentically.
What can anyone to do to support Asian American communities?
Like all minority communities, recognize what we all have in common rather than what makes us different. There are so many more things that we all have in common. Come together and learn about each other so that all communities can become more unified.
What's your favorite meal that you have eaten in 2020?
Like many others, I learned how to make bread from scratch this year. I perfected the perfect simple bread and truffle butter to go with it that was a huge hit with my family!
What's something your fans would be surprised to know about you?
I am adopted from Japan. Also, I can wiggle my ears, and I’m super afraid of heights.
How do you select your projects?
I am drawn to projects that portray unique characters or deep and different storylines. I am most drawn to characters who are not the norm or stereotypical. Samy on The Astronauts comes from a blended family and has 2 moms. She isn’t girly, she has a tough exterior, and she is hard to read sometimes. Her story was unique and exactly the type of character I wanted to play.
What inspires you in life?
Love and hard work. My mom and dad traveled to Kazakhstan and Japan in their early twenties to adopt me and my older siblings and made us all a family. They had no idea what they were doing, except that they followed their hearts and worked hard to bring us home. I can’t help but be inspired by the fact that love and hard work can bring a family together. I continue to believe that love, hard work, and kindness can help you to accomplish anything.
How do you stay humble?
I come from a large family and my parents have always taught all of us kids how to be responsible, grateful, and stay humble. I never forget how lucky I am, as an Asian American kid, an immigrant, to be doing what I love most and uniquely affecting people. I get to make people smile, laugh, cry, and I’m grateful for that gift.
How different are you from the characters you portray?
I am very different from Samy in the sense that she is very serious and a bit standoffish. I’m a bit more silly and goofy, and I love to laugh. But I do believe I’m as much of a girl boss as she is, and I love space as much as she does.
You are starring in a new Nickelodeon Series “THE ASTRONAUTS" tell me more about your role?
The Astronauts is about 5 kids who sneak onto a spaceship days before launch and accidentally take off into space. They have to learn how to work together to survive and get home. My character is Samy Sawyer-Wei. She’s the daughter of the original commander of the ship and is the only one of the kids who knows how to fly it. She is tough, a bit standoffish, but a fierce leader and very strong.
What can we expect from you in 2021-2022?
I have a film releasing this year called Marvelous and the Black Hole which is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. I star in it alongside Rhea Perlman. We completed it last year but due to COVID-19, the release has been delayed. I’m very excited to share it and hope to be able to share more soon!
How can fans follow you via social media?
I am @miyacech on all social media.