Photo courtesy of Annabel Forman
Like most Northwestern students, Communication sophomore Annabel Forman is balancing extracurriculars with her classes. The difference? She’s currently acting in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Halloween special “Let’s Get Wicked.” She took a gap year to act in the show after high school and attended NU (mostly) in-person her freshman year. Now, she’s returned to Hong Kong to reprise her role this fall. The Daily talked to Forman about how she balances school while acting in a show over 7,500 miles away from her home in Ohio.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
The Daily: How did you get involved in Hong Kong Disneyland?
Forman: I was on the waitlist at Northwestern. I figured out kind of late in the college process that it was the perfect school for me. I decided that I would drive from Ohio, where I live, to speak to them in-person, but I didn’t want them to think that I was crazy. I went online and randomly Googled acting initiatives in Chicago, and the casting call came up from Hong Kong Disneyland. I fit the age and height requirements, so I went in, and then I ended up getting a job. It was such an amazing opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up.
The Daily: How are you attending college while in Hong Kong?
Forman: I have really amazing professors that I connected with in my first year (at NU), who… offered to proctor independent studies for me so I can continue to get class credit while being (in Hong Kong).
The Daily: Can you explain your role in Hong Kong Disneyland?
Forman: When I came in 2019, I was part of the workshop process for “Let’s Get Wicked,” which was a new Halloween show that Hong Kong Disneyland wrote and debuted. Now, I’m back at “Let’s Get Wicked.” My role is in English; I do not speak Cantonese, unfortunately. Thankfully, that’s not a part of my job requirement. I’m the Mistress of Ceremonies for the show, so I narrate the story (and) introduce the villains. I have a male counterpart who speaks Cantonese, so he’ll say his line in Cantonese and I’ll repeat an English version of it.
The Daily: How have you navigated the language barrier moving from the U.S. to Hong Kong?
Forman: I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than what it was, but Hong Kong is (so) warm and welcoming, and the majority of people speak or understand basic English. Everybody’s just so kind and compassionate here that it’s really quite easy to get around and navigate.
The Daily: Where do you see yourself going after your contract is up?
Forman: I am coming back to campus. I’ve got my heart set on that NU degree as much as Hong Kong tries to pull me to stay. But I definitely would love to come back after I finish school and spend a lot of time (in Hong Kong). I think it’s truly a magical place. I was always a person with a very straightforward plan in life: There was high school, college, career — type A. But taking a gap year and coming here and then leaving school to come back here has really thrown a wrench in the way that I look at the world and what I want to do with my life. I think Disney does provide great opportunities to live in foreign countries and do the work you love while getting to experience parts of the world that are just beyond amazing.
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