‘The challenge from the beginning was just the diversity and “We don’t really know what to do with you”’
The lack of diversity in Hollywood has long been a controversial issue. And the criticism goes beyond casting, with award shows and Academies also under fire for failing to recognise diverse talent.
#Oscarsowhite was trending over award season, something that prompted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to actively bring about change last month, inviting 819 new members to join the organisation and surpassing its goal to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/ racial communities by 2020.
Since the announcement, high profile names from underrepresented communities have been speaking out about their experiences in Hollywood.
This week, it was actor Lucy Liu who got the world talking as the Charlie’s Angels star opened up about what it’s like to be a ‘black sheep’ in Hollywood.
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Lucy explained the challenges she faced as an Asian actor, recalling how she was treated differently.
‘I think I was just too naive and didn't know what was ahead of me or what I was going to be up against,’ Lucy explained. ‘I had some idea when I got to LA, because a friend of mine would have 10 auditions in a day or a week and I would have maybe two or three in a month, so I knew it was going to be much more limited for me.’
She continued: ‘But then I got really lucky with a few jobs, which put me in rooms for auditions where I looked like no other woman in the room. I thought, “I don't even understand why I'm here, but I'm going to give it my all.”
‘I think when you are somewhat the black sheep, you don't really have anything to lose, because they are not necessarily looking for you. So you may as well go for it!’
This isn’t the first time Lucy has opened up about her struggles in Hollywood, speaking out last year about how hard it was to get people to commit to her work-wise.
‘Everyone was willing to have me on their roster, but not commit to me because they didn’t know, realistically, how many auditions I could get,’ Lucy recalled to Variety last year. ‘The challenge from the beginning was just the diversity and “We don’t really know what to do with you” and “There’s not going to be a lot of work for you.”’
We're already starting to see change but we have to go further.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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