You definitely won’t blink and miss Candace Kita in her latest role as the sexy Hooters girl in “I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry.” Don’t let the comedic role fool you though, Candace is also a classically trained flautist and performed with the Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra in Palm Beach, Florida.
Candace was also one of Wilhelmina’s first Asian models. Standing at only 5ft 6 inches tall, Candace defied the roles of height and ethnicity.
Candace’s acting credits include three seasons as a series regular lead on FOX-TV’s “Masked Rider”, a series recurring on the Oxygen Network sketch comedy series, “Running with Scissors”, and a series recurring role on Howard Stern’s “Son of the Beach”. She has over a dozen national commercials to her credit for companies such as Coke, Sprite, MSN and Budweiser. And she has guest starred in a number of shows such as Movies at Our House, Even Stevens and The Out of Timers.
In her free time, Candace has been an interpreter for the deaf and continues to be involved in the deaf community. She also enjoys yoga, karate and all outdoor activities.
ASIANCE: What is your Asian heritage?
Candace: I’m Japanese American. My family is primarily here. I’m in contact with my family here. I’m real Japanese American.
Wilhelmina is one of the top modeling agencies. They took me on. I was one of the shortest people there. I’m only 5 feet, 6 inches.
ASIANCE: You were in graduate school and then dropped out to pursue modeling?
Candace: Yeah I just have my thesis left. I came out here to pursue modeling and acting. You know how people get the acting bug? Well that was me and it just happened. I said this is for the birds. I think that was a good decision for me. I wouldn’t recommend everyone to drop out of grad school.
Right now I’m enjoying acting. I was working on Sociology with an emphasis in abnormal Psychology and I just know for me, I’m happy pursuing this. I took the scarier road and I’m following it. I’m really enjoying living in the moment and doing what I’m doing.
ASIANCE: Are you still in the production of “Falling?”
Candace: We just now finished. It should be out in early 2008. It’s a small Indie. It’s an Independent movie. It’s a drama. I’m a supporting character. It’s about a young woman who goes through depression and is able to pull herself out of the depression. I play Julie who helps her out of the depression.
ASIANCE: Is it going to be shown at any film festivals?
Candace: Yes. It will be shown throughout the film festival circuit.
ASIANCE: Tell us about being on Pepper Dennis and working with Rebecca Romijn.
Candace: Rebecca plays Pepper Dennis. When I first got the job, I knew nothing about the series. Apparently it’s a cartoon character. The episode I did, according to the cast and crew, was the best and funniest out of the whole season, which I actually take a lot of pride in.
We actually got to shoot in a real women’s correctional facility. I played a female inmate. It’s amazing the security that you have to go through just to get on the premises during the day. We were watched the whole time. It was a lot of fun but it taught me that you really don’t want to go to jail. The rooms are little tiny cubicles and you have one fluorescent light above you. The food is dreadful. Rebecca Romijn is soooo nice!
ASIANCE: What do you have coming up?
Candace: Well I have a calendar coming out. It’s called The Modern American Pinup. What’s great about it, is that it a salute to the old 1940s style pinup. That is coming out at the end of the year.
I also have another movie coming out. It’s an Indie and it’s called Faith Happens. I play a woman whose husband was involved in espionage in China. She and her husband are trying to make a new life in America. So it’s a drama. I don’t usually do dramas. I most often get cast in comedic roles. This is my first really serious dramatic role.
ASIANCE: So what was it like being represented by Wilhelmina?
Candace: I was with Wilhelmina for 5 years. That was the peak of my modeling career. Then I decided to focus mainly on acting. I still do modeling jobs of course, but my interest and focus is on acting more than anything else. I always tell people. Wilhelmina is one of the top modeling agencies. They took me on. I was one of the shortest people there. I’m only 5 feet, 6 inches. Always believe in yourself. If you have faith you can do it.
Being Asian is rare as well, especially by the mainstream modeling agencies. Yeah I got lucky and I had a great booker. I think it helps to have a little bit of an unusual look. My hair is down to my waist. Now you are not just seeing the Christie Brinkley’s, blonde hair and blue eyes, but you’re seeing a range of people. Like that model Alek Wek from Sudan. You’re seeing a lot of Multi ethnic models now, which is wonderful because it’s a wider interpretation of what is beautiful.
Even 10 years ago you never saw that many. Now you see a lot more. I like variety. I think Benetton had one of the first campaigns.
ASIANCE: Whose career would you like to have?
Candace: Actually it’s a guy, not a girl. I think that Johnny Depp is the most chameleonic character. He loses himself in the character. You don’t see him, you see the character. Same with Edward Norton. I really appreciate their acting.
ASIANCE: Who would you like to work with?
Candace: Well I already played Mel Gibson’s girlfriend, so I think I’ll end it with that. Mel was the executive producer of a show last year called Complete Savages. He played a character called Officer Steve Cox. I would come on as his girlfriend Misty throughout the show. My character was like Kenny in South Park, so I would die at the end of every episode. I died in the hot tub. I died because I ate too much turkey. All these crazy, crazy things. It was one of my absolute favorite parts I’ve had. And of course I got to play Mel Gibson’s girlfriend. It was just he and I, so I kind of feel like I’ve done that.
I really like Steve Colbert from The Colbert Report. I really find him fascinating and sharp.
ASIANCE: Were you surprised after you heard about that racial incident with Mel Gibson?
Candace: Yes I really was. A lot of people asked me that after that happened. He was nothing but professional and respectable to me and everyone else on the set. I was really surprised.
ASIANCE: Besides your mom, which Asian American women do you admire?
Candace: Connie Chung, because I remember her being one of the first recognizable Asian faces that I would see on a daily basis. She wasn’t one of the contemporary faces. We saw her in the deep South and in the West. I remember seeing her face thinking she looked like me. So if you’re growing up in Texas where there are hardly any Asians or models, it was great. I remember my grandparents and I would watch television. It was such a big deal if someone was Asian. My grandfather would scream, “Look!” Connie Chung was someone they would see every single day.
ASIANCE: Is the industry more accepting of Asian women in main roles or do you feel it is still stereotypical?
Candace: I still think it’s stereotypical in some regards. I always ask, “Why does this character have to have an Asian accent?” I get that a lot. It should be based on my acting not on ethnicity. For example, the Mel Gibson role, that was not for an Asian. Why are we on television with accents and stereotypes? I don’t think it’s funny.
ASIANCE: What would you say to Asian girls wishing to get into acting or modeling?
Candace: Hang in there. Believe in yourself. Remember you are an actor. I have personally heard Asian slurs. You have to have a thick skin. There is always going to be someone taller, skinner and prettier than you. So don’t give up. When an elevator door closes after an audition, just don’t think about it. Make friends with your competition because it’s easier that way.