You most likely recognize Suzanne Whang as the television host of HGTV’s House Hunters. She is also an actor, stand-up comedienne, author, public speaker, designer and very soon, a spiritual guide. In this interview Suzanne told very entertaining stories about her stardom and coincidences. She was the first person to send Oprah “The Secret” and she has found how The Law of Attraction is something she very much believes in. She is currently in her fifth season of hosting House Hunters, the #1 rated show on HGTV (Home & Garden Television Network), and she also hosts the new hit spinoff show, House Hunters International.
Suzanne is also a stand-up comedienne and at the time of ths interview had booked many shows in the Northeast and regularly performs one-week stints at the Improv in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. Her success in this field came when Suzanne won the First Annual ANDY KAUFMAN AWARD at the New York Comedy Festival! She is a graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in Psychology, and holds a Master’s Degree in Cognitive Psychology from Brown University.
Right now she is studying to become a Science of Mind minister and has become popular with her Playboy radio show! She is extremely comedic and yet very sincere about her ideas of life’s path and the steps she has taken and what others can do to find happiness.
I watched The Secret and I loved it so much that I decided to send a copy to Oprah Winfrey.
ASIANCE: How are you doing! What have you been up to in your busy career?
Suzanne: I have been the host of House Hunters on HGTV for 8 years now. It’s been picked up for 5 more consecutive seasons, which will take us to 13 years of doing the same TV show, which is very exciting. It’s the #1 rated show on HGTV. And there’s a new spin off show called House Hunters International. So, there are reruns on every night and then House Hunters International and the domestic shows every week. It’s very wonderful to do that show. I’ve learned so much about house hunting that I wrote a book called Suzanne Whang’s Guide to Happy Home Buying. You can get it on Amazon.com and I basically incorporate a lot of good information with some funny stories and anecdotes, and also my take on using the Law of Attraction from The Secret, a principle of quantum physics, in manifesting the home of your dreams.
I also appeared for three seasons on the NBC’s series Las Vegas and I played Holly the spa manager. It was an outrageous hilarious role. Holly basically lacked the social filter that most people have and would say crazy, funny, inappropriate things. Holly is basically an immigrant from Korea and would give advice and say overtly sexual things. It was basically just outrageous, funny, irreverent, and they let me improvise and ad-lib. I created a character that was a lot like some of the women at my Korean church when I was a little kid. I remember there were these Korean women that came to church when I was a little girl and they would just say anything that came to their mind. They would look at your face and go, “Ooh, you have a pimple!” And they would just point at it. Or, “Oh, you’re getting fat!” They would just literally say anything that came to mind. So the character was based on women in my Korean church.
I’ve also been a stand-up comedienne for a number of years. I won the Las Vegas Comedy Festival Best Up and Coming Comedian Award. I won the New York Comedy Festival Andy Kaufman Award doing a character named Sung Hee Park, fresh off the boat from Korea, again.
Basically it’s a satire of racism and stereotype in America by going right into the stereotype, shining a light on it and basically showing how ridiculous racism is in our country. And I’m also a writer. I’m writing my second book, which will be autobiographical and I am studying to become a Science of Mind minister based, again, on the Law of Attraction and quantum physics. I’m a radio show host on Playboy Radio on Sirius Satellite network on Wednesday mornings. I talk about stories about sex and sexuality in the news with a funny and positive spin. I do professional keynote speeches all over the country.
ASIANCE: On your website you describe yourself as “Little. Yellow. Different. Better.” What does it mean?
Suzanne: There was a commercial a long time ago for a painkiller called Nuprin and their slogan was “Little. Yellow. Different. Better.” And I thought, “Oh, that applies to me!” Little meaning petitie, yellow meaning Asian, different meaning different from most of the people in Hollywood and better as my way of showing my self-confidence. It was just being silly and irreverent and having people say, “I get a sense of who she is just from that slogan.”
ASIANCE: How do you like Stand-up comedy?
Suzanne: It’s one of my favorite things to do in the world. I absolutely love standing up in front of a group of people and making them laugh so hard they spit out their drink or hyperventilate or hold their sides, crying from laughing so hard!
ASIANCE: How would one find their dream house?
Suzanne: One of the things I believe is important is for you to make a “Wish-List” of everything you desire in the home of your dreams. You should get really specific and creative, not just about how many bedrooms or bathrooms and what neighborhood, but what architectural style, what layout, what kind of dÃ©cor, what you want the floor to be made of, what do you want the parking and landscaping to look like in your front and back yard, what do you want the feeling to be, do you want high ceilings… I mean, even down to the littlest detail like, what kind of moldings, and if you want ceramic countertops. You should really concentrate on creating this wish list, and then you can even make a vision-board or a scrapbook and cut out piece or fabric swatches. Start visualizing the home of your dreams and that’s how you put it out into the Universe exactly what you want. Even Olympic athletes visualize the race before they begin the race; it helps them break the world record. It’s a very powerful tool that you can use because it’s how we create things in our mind. So have a great attitude about it and imagine exactly what you want, visualize it, and take required action looking in the neighborhood for the home of your dreams. Also, know what you can afford, sit down with someone who understands mortgages, and educate yourself.
Watch Suzanne’s hosting reel. You might be surprised where you have seen her before.
ASIANCE: Is it true you introduced “The Secret” to Oprah?
Suzanne: It is true! It’s my favorite story. It’s very long and you can read the gist of it on my website blog at SuzanneWhang.com but basically here it is: I watched The Secret and I loved it so much that I decided to send a copy to Oprah Winfrey. Before I did that I had actually bought $3,000 worth of copies, about 100 copies and gave a copy to everybody that I love. Then I thought, “I should really send this to Oprah Winfrey. Because if she watched it and loved it, and did a show about it, how great would that be for the planet!” So I sent it by Fed-Ex, with a letter to her, to Harpo Studios. Then, I forgot about it. A month and a half later I got a phone call on my cell phone. I didn’t recognize the number and in this case I don’t normally answer the phone. But a little voice in my head said, “you want to answer this call.” So I picked it and someone said, “Hi Suzanne, I’m calling from Oprah Winfrey’s office.” I said, “What!!??” I almost started giggling because I had almost not answered. They said, “Listen, we got your copy and we normally don’t call anyone because we get so much mail. But a friend of mine yesterday had me watch The Secret and I loved it so much, but I didn’t own it. Then I come to work the next morning, and here is your package.” And then he says, “I had to call you because it’s so amazing. Oprah has not seen this movie, you’re the first person to send it to her. We’re headed to South Africa for six weeks.” This was back in October of 2006. He said, “I’ll bring it with us to make sure she watches it!” It was so great! I was so excited! So six weeks later, I had written in my calendar to call over there and see if they had watched it. The night before the call I was waiting for my friend to go to tea with, sitting in a coffee shop, and someone came over to me and sits at my table and says “Hi. ” I said, “Hi..” He says. “How are you… I’m following my bliss. Have you ever seen the movie The Secret?” I said, “I have! In fact I sent it to Oprah and was supposed to call over there tomorrow.” He said, “Oh my god, they are doing a show on it next week!” I asked how he knew that and he said, “I go to Agape”, which is a church in Culver City, California. “Our minister Reverend Beckwith who was in The Secret made an announcement that he is going to Chicago to film the episode about it.” I was so excited, and wondered why he had come over to ask me about The Secret. He said he had no idea and was just following his Divine Voice. So at that point I started calling Oprah, leaving messages about how excited I was and I wanted to come see the taping. I forgot about it for a while.
On January 29th I realized the 31st was the day of the taping and I hadn’t heard back from anyone. Luckily I had read the book way before and knew not to take anything personally. I decided not to say, “Oh they don’t want me at the taping they’re mean.” I didn’t do any of that. I thought. “They’re probably busy.” My boyfriend was in the living room with me and I said. “I’m just going to go.” He said, “Yeah!” So I went on the internet and found jetblue.com and they had just opened a terminal to Chicago O’Hare that month. So I got a round-trip ticket from L.A. to Chicago for $400 the last minute. I needed a place to stay.
If I believed in statistics I wouldn’t exist. I’m 45, a minority, female and I have small breasts. This is Hollywood so I shouldn’t be working at all but I’m working all the time.
I hadn’t been there in 20 years. So I remembered at the end of every Oprah show she says, “Guests of the Oprah Winfrey show stay at the Omni Hotel.” So I booked myself a room and was so excited, and my plan was to go to the airport, go to Harpo Studios, set my hair on fire, sing the Star Spangled banner, just do whatever it would take to get their attention and get a seat in the audience. So I’m on my way to the airport the next day and I get a call from a producer of Oprah saying he got my information and they did keep a reserved seat for me! I started crying tears of joy and sent messages saying, “I’m already on my way!” That night, I checked into the Omni Hotel and was right behind Jack Canfield who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul and knew all the guests of the secret episode would be staying in that hotel. So I got to talk to him, and was speaking to his wife, had a great conversation. Next thing I know I was checking into my room, they were checking into theirs and a Divine Voice suggested I call them and ask what they were doing for dinner that night which I didn’t really want to do because I was tired and had already bothered them enough. But the Divine Voice said, “No you have to go and ask.”
So I went and called them and Jack Canfield said, “All the guests of the secret episode are having dinner in the hotel restaurant in an hour. Let me call you back.” And he called me and said, “I’ve told everyone you’re the reason we’re here and we’re honored to have you join us for dinner tonight.” It was an amazing three-hour meal, and guess what, Shannon?
Suzanne: They had a party of nine at a rectangular table of ten so it was like there was an extra seat just for me. It was fantastic, and then the next day I go to the Oprah taping with them in the limousine with them because they have one extra seat in the limo heading over there. And then, the taping was great, and then afterwards, she does something called Oprah After the Show which is on the Oxygen Channel and a 30 minute informal continuation of the discussion, and that’s when I raised my hand and told Oprah the whole story when she confirmed that I was the first person to send it to her.
Then she had everyone from The Secret take a picture with her and I raised my hand said, “Oprah can I take my picture with you too?” She said, “Get up here Suzanne!” It wasn’t until the flight back from Chicago to L.A. when I realized I have this magical Creation Box where I put all my wishes and dreams into- before I had aspired to this, I had put a photo of Oprah and of me into the box and now I have a real photo of me and Oprah hanging in my living room. The whole story is to prove that a small gesture done with great love can really change the world. Because in the overall scheme of things it’s a small gesture to write Oprah a letter and put it in the mail to her but I did it with such optimism and love and hope for changing the world for the better and look what happened!
ASIANCE: That’s a great story! Can we tell all of it?
Suzanne: Absolutely. It’s really about The Secret and the Law of Attraction, and how that was working for me in the story. So it’s a story within a story.
ASIANCE: So did you use the Law of Attraction to dream up your own house?
Suzanne: I did! I knew very specifically what I wanted. I love Spanish style houses even though I’m Korean. So I love hard floors, vaulted ceilings, stucco interior and exterior surfaces and I own exactly that! A Stucco Spanish style house, built in 1929. It’s a very old house in character. The cabinet where the ironing board was once, little details like that, I have a guesthouse that I rent out and the tenant is wonderful. Beautiful landscaping, I had an interior decorator help on every room to have a personality and color scheme. I told my realtor I need privacy as a celebrity and she said, “Well we can find you a detached duplex,” I said, “That exists?” She said, “Yes, there are houses that have a two car garage and apartment above it on the same property but detached in the backyard.” And I said it was perfect, and it was the fourth house that I looked at.
ASIANCE: You graduated from Yale and Brown, with degrees in Psychology. Do you use your degree?
Suzanne: The study of psychology is of the human mind and human behavior and as an actor that’s your responsibility to get a script and try to understand what makes the character tick and the dynamic between human beings, and using the whole mind-body-spirit connectedness to figure out how to illuminate humanity by playing this role, which is what psychology is all about. Not only do I use it in my career but in everyday life to understand the human mind and five senses, memory, perception and attention, the ego vs. the id and superego. There are so many levels within psychology so I do believe I use it every day.
ASIANCE: What’s in the future?
Suzanne: I will continue to host House Hunters, and House Hunters International for the next five seasons at least. It just keeps getting picked up. Las Vegas actually is not shooting any new episodes after the writer’s strike so I am in the process of writing a sitcom for myself to star in and I am really excited about that. I am writing my second book, continue to speak across the country. It looks like I will be doing Stand Up in Provincetown, Mass. the week of June 2nd. And I do the radio show every Wednesday, Afternoon Advice, on the Playboy channel, as I mentioned, and when I become a Science of Mind Minister, I have just completed my second year of studying, my goal is to open my own spiritual center and have all my sermons be funny!
ASIANCE: What is something you can say to the readers of Asiance, similar to one of your inspirational talks?
Suzanne: I do not believe in statistics because people love to say in the entertainment industry, “Oh, it’s really hard, you will not make it” and telling me all the things that statistically speaking are difficult for a minority or a woman, or someone of my age. It is not the truth. Statistics are just numbers that people have created in the past that have nothing to do with me and my presence and future. If I believed in statistics I wouldn’t exist. I’m 45, a minority, female and I have small breasts. This is Hollywood so I shouldn’t be working at all but I’m working all the time. So it just proves you shouldn’t listen to statistics and anything you want to achieve is absolutely possible for you. So I want anyone who is reading this to know that anything you dream of is absolutely possible and if anyone tells you different they are not correct and are really not your friend, because they are not supporting you in what’s true and what you dream of doing.
Another thing I would like to say is people love to complain and any time you complain you are basically creating your imagination the things you do not want. So stop complaining about the state of the world, lack of opportunity or anything, and create something. Do something that you want and create something you are waiting for someone else to create for you. Be out there, be of service, create, laugh, be optimistic, come up with ideas, and have faith and literally the world is your oyster. It’s the best thing my parents ever taught me, that anything is possible.
And because they taught me that I believed them, and I hope that every single parent who has the honor of having a child come through them would realize the best thing you can teach your child is that you love them and they are wonderful and can accomplish anything that they want to in life. Unfortunately too many parents tell their children that they are a worthless piece of garbage and they’ll never amount to anything, which basically comes from their own fear and own inability. That’s a terrible thing to tell a child and spends their entire adult life trying to get out of that mindset. But you can do anything!
Check out www.youtube.com/suzannewhang. www.Myspace.com/suzannewhang. Also if people are interested in the Law of Attraction check out Abraham-hicks.com to get a lot of great info about the Law of Attraction.