Interview by: Orchee Sorker | March 15, 2023 | Photos by: Aravind Shanavaz
Liz Lin chats with Hazze Media on her journey in acting, her first acting role, feature film Lonesome, current goals, and representation in film--specifically touching on feminism and diversity.
To anyone who may not know you, how would you introduce yourself? How did you begin your journey in acting?
Hi I’m Liz and I’m a dog lover and I switch hobbies more than I switch my outfits. My journey in acting began when I was a wee child and my parents pointed a camcorder at me and I just loved performing for it. Officially, my journey in acting began after I completed a completely unrelated uni degree in commerce and information systems.
Outside of acting, what are some things you like to do?
I love going to dance class - the styles I love are hip hop, choreography and Chinese jazz. I also love watching long YouTube videos - vlogs and people doing mundane things as well as video essays about social and political issues.
What is one of your favorite projects while working in the film industry?
One of my favourite projects is my most recent one - a short film called ‘Mansplaining’ which is currently in post production. I play a character called Jen who is this frustrated retail worker who struggles to find her own voice. I was able to speak in both English and Mandarin, which was super fun. And I worked with an adorable 7 year old who was a mini me.
You were in an Australian queer feature film Lonesome that has been critically acclaimed internationally and nominated for a AACTA award in 2022. What was your role in the film? What is your favorite memory on set? Do you think this film accurately represented the queer community?
Without giving too much away, I play a girl called Monica who is this hip, young Sydney-sider. She runs into Casey on his first day in Sydney and it’s pretty awkward. My favourite memory on set was literally just being able to be on set with people after being in the Covid lockdowns for so long. It was just so nice to be around people again and collaborate and be creative. The queer community is large and diverse and I don’t think any one film can represent the queer community as a whole. That being said, this film does an incredible job of representing queer hook up culture in Sydney and doesn’t shy away from some of the grittier realities, trauma, and unresolved feelings that queer people experience.
Your first acting role was in a short film Fruity which was qualified for the Oscars and BAFTAs in 2022. What led you to the role? What was the storyline and your role in the film? How is acting for shorts different from feature films? Which one do you prefer?
I read the script for the film and really gravitated towards it. I loved the fun and fresh nature of the storytelling of a queer coming of age story and the all female cast and female director behind it. The story is about a high school girl coming out of her shell and trying to get a girlfriend, but it gets a bit complicated after a house party. My role is called Emily and she is the target girlfriend, but there’s a mystery around her sexuality. Shorts are not much different than feature films other than it takes less time to shoot. I definitely don’t have a preference, I love both longer form features and short films.
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?
At the time of this interview, Everything Everywhere All At Once just swept 7 Oscars yesterday. Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian actress in history to win Best Actress at the academy awards. This was a big win for the Asian community and a very emotional time. I dearly hope that with these wins the industry will move towards a more inclusive environment - it’s about time. I would love to see the industry include more asians in their storytelling - more than one Asian in a friend group or a workplace. More diverse Asian stories than just the immigrant family - queer asian stories, coming of age Asian stories and so on. Our screens need to reflect the demographics of our society.
You are passionate about feminism and diversity on and off screens. In what ways do you advocate/represent off screens?
I advocate hugely for intersectional feminism. Talking about issues that affect women of all different backgrounds and bringing awareness to that, whether that’s reading up about the experiences of women of colour and other marginalized women or supporting businesses that make ethical choices. As a woman of colour, I’m particularly interested in the intersectionality of race and gender and one of my favourite books that I recommend to everyone is by an Australian writer Ruby Hamad called ‘White Tears/Brown Scars’. Making sure that these conversations stay in the social discourse and aren’t only brought up once in a blue moon can lead to more awareness and representation.
Tell us about working in “Tough Titties” show. In what ways did it explore the theme of feminism?
This show was a collection of skits that were written to explore the absurdity of gender inequality. We had skits that explored the difficulty of getting a hysterectomy to skits that tapped into the gender roles of the 1950s housewife. The goal was to use satire and parody to engage audiences and explore issues that women face in society.
What are your goals you would like to accomplish this year? Any upcoming projects you are excited about?
This year, I’d really like to write a feature film. A big goal, but I’ve always loved writing and if I want to see more stories that represent me being told, I figured I should be the one to write it. I have an upcoming short film that I’m shooting soon, working with Josh Lavery and director Craig Boreham again that I’m excited about.
For aspiring creatives wanting to work in the entertainment industry, what is one advice you would give?
Do it. Just do it. Everything is worth exploring so if this is something you want, go for it.