Kieran Tamondong started as a performer at a young age.
His Hollywood story of going to many auditions that go nowhere is a common tale among aspiring actors like him.
The 21-year-old Filipino-American talent shared what he thinks led to finally getting the big break that changed his life.
"I’ve done this a thousand times," he said. "You get used to a lot of rejection as an actor. I'm in a place where I'm learning how to be more authentic and grounded."
Tamondong added: "Sometimes, the best auditions that I've had been where I hadn’t pushed so hard to the limit, where I really reeled it back and tried to keep it more truthful to what I feel and whatever my character — whoever I'm portraying — feels. And that actually really shone through."
In July, Tamondong received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the HCA TV Awards for his performance in "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story."
He described his reaction upon getting the good news from his manager.
"I'm starstruck by this," Tamondong added. "And she's naming off other nominees, I'm like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ These are like the top dogs that I'm literally inspired by, people that I’ve been watching for years. I’m lost for words. I'm so excited for this."
In portraying the real-life Dahmer victim, Laotian Konerak Sinthasomphone, Tamondong co-starred with his fellow Asian actors, including another FilAm talent, Brayden Maniago.
The series showed how America's systemic racism and police missteps allowed a notorious serial murderer to kill for over a decade.
Asked how he fell in love with acting, Tamondong shared: "I didn't know anything about acting until I would say, early 2010s. I was a competitor for martial arts for a very long time, and I liked the spotlight. I like to perform, I like to give the audience a good show. The applause gets me going, and it really motivates me."
He added: "I think that's where my competition mindset has stemmed from. I like competition. I like to be challenged. I like to fail over and over and over again until I can finally get something right and understand it."
Apart from acting, the actor is also busy with school as a college senior.
"My mom has always been a big supporter for me to continue my education journey alongside acting," Tamondong said. "And so I've been pretty okay at managing my time and my schedules, workloads."
The actor said he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and hopes to get a doctorate in physical therapy someday.
"It's very Filipino, I know," Tamondong quipped.
In 2019, he also appeared as the young version of Ah Sahm, the lead character played by Andrew Koji, in HBO Max’s Bruce Lee-inspired series “Warrior."
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Note: This interview was completed before the Hollywood writers/actors' strike.