ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford native is continuing to shine on the Broadway stage.
Zoe Jensen is currently starring in “Six.” She credits her hometown and her heritage with getting her to where she is today.
May is “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month,” and Jensen is proud to bring more diversity to the stage as half-Filipina.
“‘Hamilton’ was the first time that I saw a stage actor, specifically Phillipa Soo, look like me,” she said. “I will never forget the first time I saw the photo of her in the Schuyler sisters outfit and my heart stopped. I was like, ‘oh my gosh, you look like me.'”
Jensen would eventually step into that role herself as Eliza in “Hamilton.” She grew up singing karaoke in Rockford before her big break.
“Filipino people love art and music, and it’s really what enriches our life, and I think that I’ve always been surrounded by that,” Jensen said. “I’ve always known that music brings joy to people, and that’s really what I’m trying to do with my work.”
As the world of theater becomes more diverse, Jensen is a part of it. However, she has not forgotten her days at Keith Country Day School.
“Something that my mom really instilled in is that we really focus on remembering where we come from and our roots, and I really credit them for where I am today,” Jensen said.” They were all extremely supportive. My high school drama teacher just texted me a few weeks ago that he’s going to be coming in two weeks to come see me in the show.”
Despite the hustle of the “Big Apple,” Jensen realizes the importance of slowing down and appreciating the little things.
“At the end of the day, theater is mimicking life, and the best way that you can mimic life is by living life so you know what it is,” she said.
Jensen hopes to inspire others to keep dreaming big.
“It’s my dreams come true,” she said. “I honestly never thought me a little girl from Rockford, Illinois, would be on Broadway.”
“Six” tells the story of the six wives of Henry VIII. Jensen plays Katherine Howard.