"I want to use my empathy to deliver nuanced performances and convey a vast range of emotions to illustrate the human experience because I believe empathy heals and art delivers connection to not just the lonely or misunderstood, but anyone that seeks to come alive; we all want to really live. That connection isn't to me or the project necessarily but to their own truest sense of self and possibilities, and then to a divine source or your own divinity, something higher than self ... That's why I loved theatre, I've always loved being a part of a team working towards a greater purpose."
- Aya Ohara
I am a Yokohama, Japan-born, Hawaii-raised, Los Angeles based actress. I'm full Japanese and out of the entire family, my sister and I are the only ones who grew up outside of Japan! My great great ... great? grandfather was the fifth samurai general to the shogun. My father is an illustrator and zen buddhist priest. And my grandmother was one of the first Miss Shiseido models. Acting and dabbling in martial arts has been a great way to get in touch with my traditional roots.
My love of the performance arts came from my childhood, singing Sesame Street, playing with costumes, putting on plays with dolls complete with costumes and set design, and once every year dancing hula for my school's May Day Program.
Eventually, that grew into working as a stand-in for Japanese celebrities like Ueto Aya and Rei Dan, to working in theatre, dancing butoh, and being on camera myself in national commercials.
Some highlights of my career are when my troupe and I won the Hawaii State Po'okela Award for Best Ensemble - Joy Luck Club. In 2015 I was chosen to attend the ABC Diversity Workshop for EWP members. And asked to audition again in 2016.
I love to travel. I studied abroad in London, and just before the pandemic, I went on a trip to France, Ireland, and Brussels. But I'm the kind of traveler that loves to live like the locals vs the sightseeing type. So, if you're like me, you might like the world cams during quarantine. I like the bird watching ones and oddly enough watching New York's Times Square during a snowstorm!
I'd love to tell stories like Wristcutters: A Love Story or Amelie. I'd say my life reads like a weird mix of like what really happens to manic pixie dream girls and Law and Order SVU. But even though, I've been through a lot, I still think life is beautiful and I want to explore deeper themes and bring my resilience, optimism and hope into my characters. And of course, anything where I'd get to wield a sword!