Sense and Sensitivity
Omega Hsu brings her unique perspective to The Voice.
As she celebrates her 30th year as a picture editor, Omega Hsu, ACE, has also been marking her 14th season at NBC's The Voice, where she is one of two women on a 23-member editorial team.
As a woman in a male-dominated field, she observes, "We bring a different point of view. We come from a different relationship to the people around us. We can see different subtleties and sensitivities."
On a dance show she once worked on, for instance, her male colleagues saw a sexy shot when a young woman lifted her leg above the camera, whereas Hsu saw a girl who wasn't aware of how she would appear onscreen. And as an Asian woman, she is also sensitive to cultural stereotyping when the occasion calls for choosing whom to profile and how.
Fortunately, she says, "On The Voice, if you bring up a point you feel is insensitive, they listen." The essential for any editor? "Find the story within the story."
At The Voice, she explains, "I've learned how to hone in on the stories of the artists and the coaches. The show has evolved; we now do a little bit behind the scenes — why the artists are there, what kind of music they like. We also show sessions with their coaches."
Hsu began her editing career on Incredible Sunday, then moved to Rescue 911 in 1989, where she stayed for all seven seasons. Her other credits include Hollywood Game Night, Supernanny and The Surreal Life.
Born in Hong Kong, she came to the U.S. at 11 and lived in Hawaii till she was 18. She earned a BA and an MFA from what's now known as the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and in 2017 she added more prestigious initials to her résumé when she was inducted into the American Cinema Editors organization.
To encourage women to consider becoming editors, she appears on panels and speaks to college students, youth groups and foster kids. She recently hosted an ACE intern on a visit to The Voice.
"The nicest thing about working on The Voice is that they're very sensitive to being positive," Hsu says. "I don't have to work very hard to get that feeling out. Nobody's saying mean things to the artists."
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 6, 2019