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NAME: Jon Jon Briones (born Ernesto)
HOMETOWN: Quezon City, Philippines
NBC Asian America asked celebrities and industry leaders to nominate individuals for our inaugural list, and Jon Jon Briones was nominated by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Lea Salonga: "In September of 1989, Jon Jon made his West End debut as part of the Asian ensemble of the original production of Miss Saigon. And now, 28 years later, he's making his Broadway debut as the show's star. He is living testament to how dedication to one's craft, determination to succeed, hard work and a little bit of fate and luck led him to this moment. As someone that was there to witness that first step as well as many more that came after, I couldn't be happier for my sometime colleague and full time friend."
How do you introduce yourself?
Jon Jon Briones
What inspires you?
Hard work, kindness and humility.
What challenges you?
Anything that is really worth pursuing in life is, should be a challenge. So, I guess whatever new work I take on, or any project that comes along.
My children also challenge me!
Tell us about the biggest risk you ever took.
I don't know if I have ever taken anything that seems like a big risk to me. I look at all things as a challenge, but not so much a risk. I take all work because I love to work! Maybe having our first child when my wife and I were starting out and had no money at all. That was a bit risky, but worth it.
What are you reading/watching/listening to these days?
I am reading "The Sympathizer" by Viet Thanh Nguyen, I am watching as much theater in New York as I can, and I am listening to "Dear Evan Hanson." Looking forward to seeing it soon (if I can get a ticket).
If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what job would you want to have?
I love acting in the theater, TV, film so much so, I would still want to be in this area. I think I would want to be a theater director.
What's your motto?
Aspire to do what you love, then do it constantly and consistently. I also have a little personal motto I say on a daily basis to people: "Be good, be safe, be kind."
I celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month because...
...I am proud of where I came from and the journey I took as a person of Asian Pacific heritage to become an Asian Pacific American. I want to make sure I share this with my family, especially my children, as they are very proud of who they are and their heritage.