Deborah Lee Fong’s three decades and change-long journey through the wilds of the theatre, television, and film world isn’t the usual wearisome story. We have heard about the marriages, on-set tantrums, blockbusters and flops, stints in rehab, and brushes with the law. We seldom hear about the scores of performers who seek out new projects with tireless energy, who give every ounce of themselves over to everything they do, and who approach those new projects with the perpetual inspiration of the newcomer. There’s little question that’s a major part of Deborah Lee Fong’s story.
She is a trained dancer with specializations in pole dancing and salsa, but her increasing focus on acting in recent years has pushed her art higher than ever. Following up her appearances in two Footsteps productions on PBS and the movie You and Your Decisions with a star turn at a recent iteration of the UrbanWorld Film Festival. The quarter century old event founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes is a cultural beacon for inclusive storytelling and Fong made a splash there with her performance in Secret Santa, a part of the festival Live Screenplay Readings schedule. Her performance as Agnes is a high-water mark she’s ready to build on.
2022 promises to be a banner year for Fong. Her hard work has secured several confirmed bookings and callbacks; there are always more to come. This unswerving dedication is a key attribute separating her from talented dilettantes and complacent peers. She brings obvious strengths to the table. Her multi-cultural background, expertise in salsa and pole dancing, physical beauty and fitness make her a natural fit for a variety of roles. Fong, as well, won’t be easily intimidated. This veteran performer has, as many have, numerous personal and professional challenges. She doesn’t shy away from new ones. She sees them, instead, as a chance to grow.
Her personal experiences undoubtedly inform her art. The Panamanian American performer has an arguably closer connection with what the American Dream really means. No one has handed her anything. Deborah Lee Fong embodies our enduring hope that the adage about the cream rising to the top is true. She could not be denied, wouldn’t allow herself to be, and keeps pushing to this day. Fong’s character and skills are a credit to any production she is part of and that will continue without a doubt.
We need performers like this to get behind. The pandemic hasn’t left Fong mired in despair, groping for coherence in a chaotic world. Her purpose remains true. Fong is still out there, looking for that next play, movie, or production that wants to match her daring and love for bringing a character to life. The Deborah Lee Fong’s of the world are increasingly rare, so if you get a chance to catch her in live performance, on television, or a movie, interpret her presence as a sign of quality. Take a chance. You will be rewarded and, without question, continue following her from that point forward.