Breaking Barriers and Shining on the Silver Screen: Liz Lin’s Inspiring Journey in the Film Industry

Liz Lin is a passionate young actor of Chinese-Australian heritage who speaks English and Chinese fluently. She strongly advocates for better representation of Asians, intersectional feminism, and diversity on and off the screen.

Originally born in Perth, Liz spent her early years in Shanghai before moving to Sydney at the age of three. It was during her childhood in Sydney that Liz’s love for performing blossomed. At just five years old, she began creating and staging her own shows in the living room, captivating her parents with her talent. However, as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Liz faced discouragement when it came to pursuing a career in the arts.

Despite the obstacles, Liz excelled academically and followed the “conventional” path for many years. She attended an academically selective high school and pursued a combined Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Information Systems at the university.

However, during her final year of university, Liz realized that this path was not aligned with her true passion. With immense courage, she decided to pursue her dreams in the performing arts. Liz sought training under the guidance of esteemed coaches such as Lisa Robertson, Miranda Harcourt, Kevin Jackson, and Donald Woodburn. Through acting and storytelling, her goal is to give voice to underrepresented communities, promote acceptance, and empower others.

In 2022, Liz achieved her breakthrough in theater with her debut performances in KXT/Panimo’s “Tough Titties,” which enjoyed a sold-out season, and New Theatre’s “Chimerica,” where she played the pivotal role of Liuli. Her notable film and television credits include “Lonesome,” which received a nomination for Best Indie Film at the 2022 AACTA Awards, “Fruity,” selected for prestigious festivals like Flickerfest and St Kilda Film Festival in 2022, “Women in Refrigerators” (2021), and the AFTRS short film “Mansplaining” (2022).

Liz’s journey reflects her unwavering commitment to breaking barriers and creating positive change through her craft, while also celebrating her multicultural background and heritage.

Liz recently had the opportunity to sit down with FilmCentral Magazine for an insightful interview, shedding light on her remarkable journey in the film industry. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I’m an actor and an avid fan of fashion, animals (particularly dogs), and a massive foodie.

Can you tell us something that would surprise us about you?

I have a double degree in Commerce and Information Systems.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I’ve been a massive fan of performing since I was a little kid, but it seemed out of reach. When I was in uni, I decided I was going to chase after this dream of mine. I remember a girl I worked with at Grill’d studied at Screenwise and so I started with a course there and have not stopped acting since.

What factors do you think contributed to your success as an actor?

Obsession and delusion. Both are innate traits in me and being obsessed with this art form and constantly seeking to improve and learn contributes to my success. Also, a healthy dose of delusion that everything will work out because sometimes this industry feels like a slot machine.

Which do you consider to be the standout roles of your career to date?

My first supporting lead role in the film ‘Fruity’ as Emily. This was my first acting role and first time on set, period. The story was incredible, I absolutely loved working with the team behind it, and the character was so much fun. And it premiered at Flickerfest – seeing myself on a movie screen for the first time was crazy.

A film that is currently in post-production is called ‘Mansplaining’ in which I play the lead character of Jen Li. That was such a fantastic role that allowed me to showcase a range of emotions – particularly this rageful monologue that I do in Mandarin. Working on that was such a rewarding experience.

What do you like most about acting?

Exploring the depth and range of human experience. I love delving into a character and doing research like a little scavenger.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing directors, including Craig Boreham (Lonesome), Caitlin Royston (Fruity), Suzanna Steele (Mansplaining), Alessia Francischiello (Deep Pockets, Empty Hearts). I’ve learned from directors to see filmmaking from more perspectives – they bring the words on the page to life with sound, lighting, camera work, set design, and so much more. It’s not just the acting, and I think having that perspective is so valuable and helps me adjust my performances to what the story needs.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

The oversupply of actors for a small number of roles. Which becomes even smaller when looking at roles for people of colour. Putting your vulnerability out there in your art and hearing no (or most of the time nothing at all), but continuing to do it over and over again.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

As an actor, I absolutely love bringing a script to life through a deep exploration of my character. Perhaps one of the most challenging things is learning a new skill you’ve never tried before, but that’s also so much fun.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

Work on my craft, sleep, try new restaurants, watch a lot of Youtube, dance, hang out with friends, travel, and spend time with my family and my dog. I’m trying not to be so chronically online.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Having a movie and being nominated for an AACTA Award, having that movie premiere at Sydney Film Festival and sell out for Mardi Gras Film Festival, being artistically supported by my coach Lisa Robertson, and working with incredible actors, directors, and scripts.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I’m so interested in everyone I meet because everyone is so unique and has experiences and backstories so unique to them, so I really can’t pick the most interesting.

What advice would you give to other Asian women looking to make an acting career? 

Your voice is unique and needed in this industry. Your experiences are valid and important; don’t be afraid to take up space.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

That’s the crazy thing about this career – you never know what could happen tomorrow. At the moment, I’m about to shoot a romantic thriller set in 1960s post-colonial Hong Kong, and after that, I’m shooting a European arthouse horror movie with an all-female cast.

Is there anything else interesting you can tell us?

Omg, this is like those icebreaker questions, “Tell us something interesting about yourself,” which always makes me sweat! (laughs) I suddenly have a crisis about being completely uninteresting. I’ll recommend two books I’ve read recently that I’m obsessed with and would love to be a part of if they ever adapted it for the screen. The first is called ‘Parachutes’ by Kelly Yang, and the second is called ‘The Poppy War’ by R.F. Kuang. Both are written by Asian-American writers!