Lane, Rory's Pal
“Being on a successful show is kind of like being a sea turtle. Every year sea turtles lay hundreds and hundreds of eggs but only a few manage to survive and mature. It's the same with TV pilots. There are so many great ideas, but for whatever reason, only the lucky ones get picked up. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but that's how it feels to me.” Keiko Agena
Japanese-American actress Keiko Agena is widely popular among TV viewers as Lane Kim, the long-time best friend of Alexis Bledel's Rory, on WB/CW’s “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007). She was also seen as Leila Foster (2000) on the WB Golden Globe-winning primetime drama starring Keri Russell, “Felicity,” and as the voice of Yori (2003-Present) on Disney Channel's animated series “Kim Possible.” She also has appeared in such TV shows as "Renegade," "Sister, Sister," "ER," "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Strong Medicine," "The Nightmare Room" and "Without a Trace."
“I've learned a lot of things from Lane. For starters, she has this great friendship with Rory, this incredible female bond. Before the show I was a bit of a tomboy and most of my friends were guys. Now, however, I am still a tomboy, but I have started having some really great friendships with girls as well as guys.” Keiko Agena
On the big screen, Keiko could be seen in “Hundred Percent” (1998), “Cats and Mice” (2003), “The Perfect Party” (2004) and “Hair Show” (2004). Next, the actress will support Jessica Simpson in the upcoming film “Major Movie Star,” set to be released sometime in 2008.
The 5' 1" actress was chosen as one of “People Magazine's” annual “100 Most Beautiful People in the World” (2007) and has been featured on the cover of “Steppin' Out Magazine” as well as “Parade Magazine” (the December 2002 issue). She has been married to Shin Kawasaki since December 2005.
Childhood and Family:
“I am really fortunate to have parents who supported my plan to become an actress when I was a little kid. And then there was my Grandma. She was the best. She was always there and ready to drive me to all my plays and stuff.” Keiko Agena
On October 3, 1973, Christine Keiko Agena (pronounced KAY-koh ah-GEN-ah) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she began her acting career in theater. She is Japanese-American and attended the Performing Arts school now known as Mid-Pacific School of the Arts (on the island of O'ahu). As one of only four actors nationwide chosen as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, she was able to meet President Bush. She then studied drama for one year at Whitman College in Washington State.
On December 19, 2005, Keiko married Shin Kawasaki in a helicopter over Las Vegas. She recalled, “We eloped in December. We got married in a helicopter over Las Vegas. We didn't tell anybody, we just snuck out there then called people about two days later.”
During her free time, Keiko enjoys riding her motorcycle, drumming, renovating her home, playing with the theories of yoga and watching endless sitcom re-runs. She also likes eating with friends (her guilty pleasure is a popular snack in Hawaii that consists of pickled fruits like mangos, cherries and plums called Seed), playing card game and computer games, and shopping.
Keiko's favorite drinks include Sake, Lemondrop, Chianti and Bud Light, and she has said she is completely obsessed with coffee, especially cafe mochas. Her favorite movies include “Zero Effect,” “Dark Crystal,” “Henry V,” and “Thelma and Louise.” Her most treasured possession is a stuffed bear she received when she was 7. Self-described as energetic, moody and conscientious, Keiko is good friends with actress Alyssa Milano. Keiko currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and their two cats, Seth and Ben.
“The women I admire most in this business are Susan Sarandon, Bette Midler and Winona Ryder. Susan Sarandon because she's, well, Susan Sarandon. Winona because she's never compromised herself by showing her body in any of her love scenes, and Bette Midler because she has such a varied life. Her family, her marriage and her career are all priorities.” Keiko Agena
Keiko Agena began acting at local theaters at age 10 with a small part in the play “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” After graduating from Mid-Pacific School of the Arts, she packed for Los Angeles and has been working steadily in theater, television and film ever since.
In January 1993, Keiko landed a role on the internationally hit action television series starring Lorenzo Lamas, “Renegade.” Two years later, she was spotted as a guest, playing a student interviewer, in a March 1995 episode of ABC/The WB sitcom "Sister, Sister," and in the made-for-television movie based on the thriller book by Michael Allegretto, “Terror in the Shadows” (1995; starring Genie Francis and Leigh McCloskey), as a student aide.
In 1998, Keiko made her film acting debut in Eric Koyanagi's independent comedy “Hundred Percent,” alongside Darion Basco and Dustin Nguyen. Afterward, she retreated to the small screen and appeared in an episode of NBC’s popular medical drama “ER” and Fox’s hit teen soap opera “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
“Ever since I found out I got the part on 'Gilmore Girls,' my life has been changing in so many ways. It seems as though all we get is good news. I'm just so grateful to be a part of it. It's a wholesome show with an edge. I have no idea how we pull it off.” Keiko Agena
Entering the new millennium, Keiko had a recurring role as Leila Foster on the WB Golden Globe-winning primetime drama starring Keri Russell, “Felicity.” She also snagged her first breakout TV role, as Lane Kim, on the WB/CW comedy “Gilmore Girls.” She stayed on the long-running show from October 5, 2000, until its final episode on May 15, 2007. Her performance was nominated for a Teen Choice Award three times (2001, 2002 and 2003) and won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Supporting Young Actress in 2002.
During her hefty stint in “Gilmore Girls,” Keiko was spotted as a guest in an episode of the Lifetime medical drama "Strong Medicine," playing a young woman struggling with anorexia nervosa, a role which she claimed was her most challenging. She also appeared in two episodes of the Kids' WB series based on the book series written by R. L. Stine, "The Nightmare Room." Additionally, she starred in Shawn Chou's short drama film “Tomato and Eggs” (2002).
From 2003 to 2007, Keiko provided her voice for the character Yori on Disney Channel's animated series "Kim Possible." Meanwhile, she played a role in writer/director Samson Yi's comedy movie “Cats and Mice,” was seen in Cynthia Liu's 25-minute romantic drama comedy film “Red Thread” and Sumi Yang's short drama film “Western Avenue” (all in 2003). She also served as a wardrobe assistant for John Cabrera's directorial debut, “The Man Who Invented the Moon” (2003), a 33-minute comedy film starring Sean Gunn.
The following year, Keiko could be seen in actor/director James Huang's film “The Perfect Party” and in Leslie Small's romantic comedy movie “Hair Show,” starring Mo'Nique and Kellita Smith. She also lent her voice for the character Toki Yamamato in the video games “Law & Order: Justice Is Served.”
2006 saw Keiko in Josh Kameyer's 13-minute comedy film “Chances Are” and in a February episode of the CBS FBI drama series "Without a Trace." Keiko recently won the Best Female Actor prize at the Ammy Awards, which honors Asian and Asian-American achievement in film or television. She beat out Lucy Liu, Ming Na, and Tia Carrere.
Keiko is currently on set, filming her upcoming film project titled “Major Movie Star,” a comedy helmed by Steve Miner with singer-turned-actress Jessica Simpson in the title role. The film, which also stars Vivica A. Fox, Steve Guttenberg, Cheri Oteri and Olesya Rulin, will be released sometime in 2008.
“Being an Asian-American actor doesn't make it more difficult. I see it as an opportunity and a chance to help other Asian-American actors coming along.” Keiko Agena
Young Artist: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Supporting Young Actress, "Gilmore Girls," 2002