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Starring in ‘Paradise’

Alumna moves to Hawaii and later finds career in acting

Patty Lee, ’07,has never shied away from trying new things. 

That attitude has had a positive impact when it comes to her acting career.   

“I think so much of my personal success has come from being in the right place at the right time, but I’ve also developed a skill set because of all the different things I’ve tried,” she said. “At Bridgewater (State University), I learned to do new things and learned to put myself out there, which has all led to a broader degree of success.”  

The BSU alumna currently lives in Maui, Hawaii, where she works as an actor. She has been featured on popular television shows, including Magnum P.I.The Deadly Yoga Retreat and the HBO hit, The White Lotus.  

Lee caught the acting bug in third grade when she was cast as Alice in her school’s production of Alice in Wonderland.  

“That’s when I realized I was meant to be on stage. I instantly came alive,” she said.  

Lee continued to act all through high school in her hometown of Middleboro, and then majored in theater and communications at Bridgewater State.   

“I met an amazing community of people who I’m still friends with to this day. BSU definitely expanded my horizons in a lot of ways,” Lee said.   

Aside from performing onstage, she also spent time learning about the work that goes on behind the scenes.   

“I learned a lot about different elements of theater at BSU, not just acting but about building sets, lighting, sound, costumes…there were a lot of other elements I was exposed to overall that helped me better understand how much everybody puts in, beyond the actors,” she said. 

After graduating from Bridgewater State, Lee went on to work at the Huntington Theater in Boston. There, she helped build sets and went through the grueling auditioning process for local plays and commercials.   

She often found, because of her Asian heritage, that she was typecast in stereotypical “Asian” roles.   

“It was challenging, and I became frustrated to the point where I was done with acting,” Lee said. 

Afterward, on a whim, she opted to up and move to Hawaii, where she has lived for the past 14 years with her husband.  

“I decided, I’m going to start over. I came up with a different life plan. Theater became a hobby,” she said.   

Lee found a job working in marketing but kept her foot in the acting world through community theater. She continued to network and one day was surprised when she got a call to audition for a small part in “Hawaii 5-0”. She auditioned and landed the gig.   

Acting jobs picked up after that and in 2022 Lee left her marketing job to focus solely on her acting career. The decision has paid off: she’s found consistent work as an actor, and even branched out into producing.   

She’s pulling double duty as both producer and lead actor in her latest project, the sitcom, “
Moku Moku.” The show focuses on the day-to-day lives of three young Hawaiian locals and their struggles living in paradise.   

As Lee continues to move forward with her career, she is thankful for the people she’s encountered and the experiences along the way.   

“All the things I’ve experienced, including my time at Bridgewater, have pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me realize I’m capable of doing a lot of things, all have connected me and inspired my passion,” she said.   

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