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Lucy Liu Confesses It Was Not Easy Being An Asian Actor in the Entertainment Industry

Lucy Liu Confesses It Was Not Easy Being An Asian Actor in the Entertainment Industry

Lucy Liu rocks a dramatic look for the fall cover story for the London based Schon! magazine.

Here’s what the 45-year-old Elementary actress had to share with the mag:

On starting out as an Asian actress in Hollywood: “It was not easy at all. It was a long journey…I did a bunch of regional theatre and odd jobs, just trying to get my foot in the door. For me, it’s the issue about being Asian in the business. It’s a much more narrow line to cross.”

On getting cast in Ally McBeal: “[It] really launched me. It’s all about visibility when you’re on a show that popular. It created a very nice résumé that I could play off.”

On television vs. movies: “There’s an immediacy to television which I really love. You do it and you film it and it actually airs. The dynamic of movies now has changed because of the landscape of television and how accessible it is.”

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Credit: Markus&Koala/Schon
Posted to: Lucy Liu, Magazine

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  • Sadly true

    You really don’t see many Asians cast, unless it’s for “character” roles. There are so many mixed race marriages and relationships in real life, but you don’t see that represented much by the media. Guess it’s all about what the audience wants and what pulls in money. Lucy Lui broke the stereotype in Ally McBeal and she was hilarious in it. Maybe one hundred years from now, everyone will finally be more open to other races and racial slurs will become a rarity or an archaic form of thinking. Something written in history books. Wish the world was color blind.

  • Lol

    It’s hard for anyone not Jewish in all honesty..

  • Twinkle

    Damn! Anyone else think she looks like JLo in these photos?

  • Living in a box

    Not to forget, Native American, Hispanic and Arabs, also Indian.

  • Keller

    Quit fcking whining…don’t like it, do something else! Considering her mediocre talent and looks, she s gone farther than anyone in her position ever should have….

  • Bel

    It would be even harder to see an actual Asian couple on TV or films. An Asian man and an Asian woman in a relationship on TV would be rare. Awful.

  • guess who

    Has she had work done?

  • Lol


    I completely agree..she should be lucky she got that far.
    And what annoys me most is how these people never acknowledge the racism in their “cultures” too.

  • Hmm

    @Keller: She has the right to voice her opinion, as you have yours. I acknowledge yours as valid and you should acknowledge hers without using vulgarity. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. I love diversity and I love living in a place with diversity, working at a place with diversity… I love all colors… it makes this world much more interesting. It would be nice to see more diversity in the media, as long as the people hired are qualified. Watch Ally McBeal with Lucy Lui… she’s actually great in it. Give her a chance. Break down your barriers. Don’t limit yourself. You may find life more interesting.

  • NickyAngel

    She’s a very talented actress…and not to mention Gorgeous :-)

  • Icy

    She’s pretty but she wouldn’t have ever made it in Asia. Asians don’t even think she’s pretty. Also, she gets a lot of those Dragon lady roles. Guess you have to play the stereotypes to be visible sometimes.

  • Lilly

    You rarely see Asians on TV, only stereotypical roles. She is born and raised here and so are many Asians. You ppl who says she is whining stfu. Is she was black and said these things ppl would applaud her, even when there are thousands of blacks on TV! I guess if you are Asians you shold just get used to being ignored and discriminated. I bet she has learned the had way because she is Asian. It’s pk to discriminate an Asian but never a lack, jew, latino, native American, muslim.

  • jane

    she is ok. i wouldn’t say she looks average and below average among Asian women, so perhaps that is why she never went far. she also seems to have an attitude about her, something not approachable and friendly.

  • Jules

    Very recognizable facial features, Lucy should be proud of those good looks.

  • She’s right!

    Lucy is right. There is a lack of roles in film and television for all people of color, especially Asians and Native Americans. Things are a bit better for African-American and Latinos but it is no where what it could be. I applaud Ms. Lui for speaking out. Discrimination should not be tolerated against anyone. I only hope people of color will find inroads into the very tight and established entertainment industry (especially behind the scenes) that is still obsessed with hiring men and little to no people of color.

  • reba

    @Bel: It happened in ‘Lost’ and they were my favorite couple on the show!!! But I agree; it has been rare and disappointing…

  • Regius Jean Collode

    Yeah, I guess racism in Hollywood still exists. No denying it. It affects everyone, even Asian actresses.