Interview by: Orchee Sorker | February 22, 2023 | Photos by: Andrew Raszevski
Lin Yin chats with Hazze Media on her journey in acting, representation in the film industry, being apart of her new upcoming film THE PORTABLE DOOR, goals for this year, and advice for aspiring creatives.
To anyone who may not know you, how would you introduce yourself? How did you begin your journey in acting?
Hi, I’m Lin Yin. I’d love nothing more than to throw away all my devices and go live in a forest. I can’t though because I’m an actor, which happened by complete accident. I didn’t even know growing up that acting was a job (available to me at least) so it was never an option. What I did know however, was I needed to live a life that felt like my own, so after rage quitting my very secure, very comfortable job in the Australian government I embarked on a wild journey that eventually led me into the mountains of rural China pretending I knew how to build drones for the most expensive film to ever be shot in the country. To my dismay, I discovered I was most interested in what the actors were doing. Once I realised I had no chance of shaking that off I answered the call and here I am.
Outside of acting, what are some things you like to do?
Anything that involves nature. I love swimming in rivers and oceans, and I picked up surfing during lockdown which completely changed the game. I’m still very bad at it though, and I’ve had a couple crazy injuries that even people who have surfed for decades can’t believe. One involved me falling from a small wave onto my foam board, and now I have a dent (yes an actual DENT) in my thigh. FYI foam boards are for beginners and are supposed to be hard to get injured on. I also am obsessed with food, but I don’t know any Asian girls that aren't.
You boast a long list of accomplishments as an actor - any that you’re particularly proud of ?
I’m very proud that in only a few short years I’m appearing in lead roles in projects that stream internationally, a dream of any actor but one that unfortunately only 1% of actors really ever achieve. I’m on TV and in movie theaters in so many countries including the US, Australia, UK, China, Singapore, and Belgium. This is thanks to the success and wide range of projects I’ve been involved with , particularly with FLUNK, which resonated so much with young people that it’s now in its fifth season and airing in the US and Europe. Another accomplishment is that, also In FLUNK I pioneered the character, a queer Asian girl, the first of her kind in an Australian-backed international streaming show, which was humbling and moving to me. There’s nothing better than bringing the stories of previously silenced communities to the forefront.
You’re considered the #1 Chinese-Australian actress working today – to what do you attribute that achievement?”
My work ethic and unrelenting belief (or delusion) that I will work in this industry. Speaking fluent Mandarin also helps!
You have worked on the same project as screen icon Sam Neil and multi-Oscar winning Christoph Waltz, that’s quite an accomplishment that a very small number of Australian actors can claim. How does that feel?”
Incredible! Being part of the PORTABLE DOOR was insane, as Christoph Waltz has been one of my favourite actors since he scared the shit out of me as the predator in INGLORIOUS BASTARDS and when I heard we were going to be in the same movie I nearly lost my mind. Sam Neil has been around forever and has worked across so many different genres, his career is super inspiring to a fellow Australian/New Zealander like myself (I’ll just lump those two countries into the one for now).
Tell us about your role in the upcoming film The Portable Door. What has been your favorite memory about this project?
Without revealing too much, I play Delia Bryson, a woman who is subject to the magic of ‘coincidences,’ orchestrated by two interns, Sophie and Paul and their instructors. Their actions change the fate of the innocent bystanders who they perform their magic on (me)! In one scene my co-star falls into a fountain. They wanted to get this shot multiple times from a hundred angles (of course), so he had to fall in, get completely wet, get his outfit fixed by a team of assistants, and repeat, for every single shot. I just had to stand and pull him out, so it was very fun for me. I saw him bring a huge duffel bag to set and he told me it was filled with spare underwear. Haha!
You have played the lead role “Freya” in the web series Flunk. How is the acting different for a web series versus a film?
Definitely the speed at which it moves. Big-budget film crews are enormous, and everyone has a very specific job. We’re all under the pump but it can take ages to set up each shot, and then shoot from so many angles. I don’t know how anyone organises such a huge undertaking, it’s a miracle films get made at all. With a web-series you’re flying through the scenes, especially if its a hand-held camera. The teams are usually smaller so everyone does everything, and you can get a crazy amount done quickly. Ric and Mel, the director and producer of Flunk have done such an amazing job its so exciting to see their project and team grow to the huge success it is today.
Being an Asian-Australian actress, what is your view on representation in the film industry? Do you think the industry is moving towards a more inclusive environment? Is there anything you want to change about the industry?
I’ll speak specifically about Asian representation: How many shows can you name with more than one Asian character, who aren’t related? How many Asian characters on TV and film can you name with depth and an important story arc?
It is slowly getting better. For years, even when Asians were on screen they were either the butt of the joke (usually the men) or highly sexualised (the women). This sadly results in real-world implications of how Asian people are treated. But like everyone else, we can be many things - the dropout, the gangster, the jock, the diva, the superhero, the nerd - we are everything, everywhere all at once. It’s essential we get to be shown that way, otherwise the world will continue to stereotype us, and even worse - we start to limit how we see ourselves.
The industry still has a long way to go. I see efforts for inclusivity but the fact is most lead actors are still white, while supporting characters are POC. This is resulting in a weird outcome where POC actors who are ready for lead roles aren’t getting them, and white actors who are trying to break in with supporting roles can’t get those. I would love to see true colourblind casting, and for more people of different races, gender identifications, and physical abilities to be in the creative and executive rooms - they will drive the change in casting.
What are your goals you would like to accomplish this year?
Continuing to do good work in film and TV, spend time with my family, and maintain top physical and mental health. I’m gaining crazy momentum in an industry that just a few years ago I didn’t even know I could be part of, and nothing is more exciting than discovering your dream and chasing it with everything you’ve got. So many people in this world don’t have this opportunity due to where they’re born, their economic circumstances, or accessibility to the arts. My dad was a man of many talents but was unable to manifest those talents in his lifetime due to civil unrest in his country, trauma, displacement and economic hardship. Everything I do now is for him.
For aspiring creatives who are POC wanting to work in the entertainment industry, what is one advice you would give?
Trust me, I understand the sacrifices and economic hardships artists suffer in this industry for no promise of security or ‘success,’ particularly if you come from a working-class or POC background. If it’s costing you your sanity and wellbeing, please stop and make yourself the priority. There is nothing more important than your health and happiness, not any job, career, or industry. But if you have the means to continue, please don’t give up!! The industry needs you, young people need you to look up to, your voice and stories and point of view need to be heard. If you quit, that’s one less of us in the industry. We can all win if we stick together and help one another.