I’m Lynn Chen. I’ve been an actress my entire life. Now I’m also a filmmaker. Somewhere in between I was in the food world, which led to me becoming a body image activist.

I started this newsletter because I wanted a place to keep in touch. It’s named after this award I got in kindergarten, where the best my teacher saw in me was that I was “trying so hard.” I still feel like I’m seen this way.

I have found social media to be a really difficult place to be honest. Whenever I’m there, it’s hard for me not to feel like I need to show only my best. And compare it to others. Sometimes I feel a lot of joy there, but more often than not, I wind up feeling like there’s something wrong with me.


I am much more interested in the stuff that doesn’t make it onto the highlight reels. That’s why these newsletter posts will be a bit of a mess. There will be blurry photos that are too big or too small. Weird formatting. Misspelled words. Randomness.

However you ended up here, hi. I hope you’ll stick around. And if you’d like to read more of my Substack newsletters, check out The Yellow Pages (Asian/AAPI Culture) and Gen x Taste (a 40’s and over lifestyle blog) where I update a lot more regularly.

TRYING SO HARD is a monthly newsletter of career/life updates. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Subscribe to TRYING SO HARD

A monthly newsletter where I explore the ups/downs in my life as an actress, filmmaker, and human.


Lynn Chen

actress • writer • director • comforter • philosopher • lifelong mate • newsletter baroness