It is true that shooting stars, while impressive to behold, burn themselves out. They dazzle us for a time and leave behind glittering but slender evidence of their presence. I am a fan, as we all are, of such phenomena, but ultimately prefer artists with staying power. The actors, actresses, bands, and singers, et al, who boast deep bodies of work are the stuff of legend for me. Actress and dancer Deborah Lee Fong seems poised to join their company.
The veteran performer has impressed many over the course of an over thirty year career with work in television, theatre, and film. Her talents in the salsa and pole dancing disciplines has brought her loads of work and accolades, but she’s long aspired to more. Pigeonholing talents with staying power is difficult. Deborah Lee Fong is one of those artists wise enough to heed their inner muse and follow them wherever they lead.
It led Deborah Lee Fong into acting. Roles in PBS’ Footsteps and Footsteps 2, the movie You and Your Decisions, and the UrbanWorld Film Festival’s Live Screenplay Reading for the screenplay Secret Santa are among her recent triumphs. Playing Agnes in the latter earned Fong a torrent of praise, in particular, and provided the festival with one of its many buzz-worthy moments.
UrbanWorld Film Festival gave Fong a perfect forum for her talents. Over twenty years of yearly events have made the UrbanWorld Film Festival a “go-to” platform for historically marginalized voices. It, however, has a pure appreciation for talent that goes beyond social concerns – the festival values performers like Deborah Lee Fong because they are the sort who are up for anything rather than playing it safe for fear of offending someone.
Fong has no such fear. Her irrepressible hunger for connecting with audiences takes her into realms crowd pleasers seldom travel. There’s no mistaking her desire to entertain audiences, it’s virtually the first edict for any performer, but Fong has another mission. Great performers can prod us to re-approach the way we think, live, and love. Fong’s roles in productions such as You and Your Decisions, Footsteps, and Footsteps 2, among others, brings us face to face with ourselves. Much of her appeal as a performer rests with her gift for accessibility and loyalty to truth.
She’ll be around for years to come and we’re better off for it. The future is rife with boundless possibilities for Deborah Lee Fong and she’s the sort of artist who will embrace each one. Fong’s fans will be eager to hear about 2022’s projects when the time is right, but newcomers to her name and work don’t have much longer to wait to see her in new work. Performers such as herself are essential for leading all of us out of the darkness of the past eighteen plus months and we can be certain that Deborah Lee Fong will be leading from the front. Let’s follow her wherever she goes because it’s going to be a great ride.