When it comes to Lucy Liu the first thing that pops in my mind is pioneer because the Kill Bill actress is addressing the ongoing struggles with Hollywood and the diversity issue!
At 44, Lucy Liu is offering sharp, insightful comments on Hollywood and acting, while remaining quite modest and mellow. Liu has been able to cross back and forth between TV and film throughout her career, but as she herself points out, a lot of the roles she’s taken on have been really, really stereotyped, but Lucy Liu touches on lack of diversity in Hollywood for Asians. When it comes to the elephant in the room (RACISM) Lucy Liu is perfectly happy naming, and talking about it. Unlike most celebrities who want to sweep the word under the carpet and act “PC” and “hyper-sensitive” Lucy gives it to you straight saying, “I wish people wouldn’t just see me as the Asian girl who beats everyone up, or the Asian girl with no emotion. People see Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy, but not me.”
Liu addresses the issues that still continue to be prevalent in Hollywood like why is it she’s not often cast as is a woman who happens to be Chinese-American, a role where her race could be acknowledged and wrapped into the plot? Instead Lucy Liu is stuck playing a total stereotype because Hollywood has placed her in a box she can’t escape from if she wants to continue working in film and TV. It’s very depressing and sad that Hollywood is one-dimensional when it comes to race. This is why so many races say when you’re white it’s right. You get more opportunities and can get away with more. Lucy’s struggle with racism and the ongoing diversity issue in Hollywood is proof. The “Charlie’s Angels” actress goes on to reveal “it [becomes], ‘Well, she’s too Asian’, or, ‘She’s too American’. I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.”
The daughter of immigrants, Liu defied her parents to pursue an acting career, but the actress isn’t viewed as wholly “American” because of her close ties to the Chinese community. Though she explains that “If I didn’t try anything different, I’d still be doing a Calgon ad.” Lucy Liu says, “You have to be a pioneer, which means doing things that are not scheduled and different.” The Payback actress also reveals that “When you do stuff, it’s not always to please other people–it’s to please yourself. For me, the more individual you make something, the more universal it can be. You have to be a pioneer.”
Despite her continual fight for Asians to be recognized in film and not stereotyped, Lucy Liu’s latest project, “Elementary” has helped her to break all kinds of boundaries because Joan Watson is not just a woman, she’s a non-stereo-typical Chinese woman. But that is only the first step. She continues to break boundaries and be a pioneer in entertainment.