Artists Column - Zoe Lau
Welcome to the first ever Lotus Lee Foundation ARTIST’S COLUMN! In this platform we will be introducing and interviewing young artists in New York City and have them share their stories with our worldwide viewers!
Our first guest is actress Zoe Lau. Our interview started by discussing Lau’s beginnings. She explains that “The first ever performance of any kind that I did was in Kindergarten. It was my Kindergarten graduation and we had to do performances. I was chosen to be Sleeping Beauty in the graduation. This was my first theatre experience and I loved it. Then I grew up dancing while I was in High School for about 7 years with a focus on Jazz. But what really got me into acting was taking Drama classes in High School. It was my favorite subject. Something that I wanted to pursue and I wanted to do it as my college degree but I did not end up doing that because my parents were not crazy about the idea. After I graduated from Psychology my parents came to me and said “ You know what? You can do whatever you want.” So I decided to take on the degree in Drama.”
Before studying acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London (now known as Royal Central School of Speech and Drama), she graduated in Psychology from the University of Kent. Zoe gave us a little bit of insight into her relationship with her family. “ I would say that in the beginning they were a little hesitant, but my mom knows that if I don't try it I wont give up. So she let me go and try it. They are being supportive. Whenever I tell them I have a performance they always get very excited for me.”
We asked Zoe to tell us more about her previous works and which of them she is the proudest of. “In no specific order! An Off-Broadway musical called Comfort Women back in 2015. That was two years after I had arrived in NYC. I was very lucky to be in the cast.
That show was about the Japanese soldiers of World War II, how they conquered Asia, and how Japanese women were taken away to be sex slaves. Obviously, its a very heavy topic but its a topic about Asian culture that a lot of people do not know. Another show that really stick with me was the tour I did in Maine. The title of the show was “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”. Its a Japanese 10th century Folk Tale that tells the story of a girl who was born in a bamboo stock. The story gives out a wonderful message about not taking things for granted and about loving nature. It’s beautiful. I was lucky enough to tour around Maine and tell this story to different students and teacher. The last show I feel really proud of is a reading I did at Roundabout Theatre Company. It was a play written by Anchuli Felicia King. She is a wonderful creator. This was actually the second time I read for this play. I played a Singaporean - Chinese where I had to speak in an authentic Singaporean accent which I had already because I lived in Singapore for a while.
We then shifted the conversation to talk about embarrassing moments onstage and how she recuperated from them. “The first thing that pops into my head was when I was doing a show and a diaper fell onstage. One of the actors was using diapers as knee pads. I walk onstage for my scene and there was diaper just there in front of everyone. Everyone was trying to figure out a way of getting rid of the diaper while still being in character and telling the story. It felt like ten minutes when it was actually just 2. In the end, one of my cast members grabbed it and just exited. “
Living in New York City can be very fun but it can also be a challenge. “ I feel like in NY every day is different. Things come up so instantly. There are so many possibilities. Everything is always changing. That's what I like the most. Sometimes it can get a bit too busy, hectic and a little stressful. Transportation is not the best in the city.” We definitely feel the same way, Zoe!
“Sometimes, not getting cast can really bring you down.” Zoe said about the hardships of being an actor. “You start asking youself “Is it me?” “Am I wrong?” Sometimes i feel like rejection has taught me that its not just about you. It could be because of the project or just because you simply arent what they are looking for. You might have the qualities and the talent but you do not fit in that specific role. It is always a little bit harder for someone who is not caucasian to work in a country that is predominatly caucasian. I do think it is still an issue but that the industry is getting better. I’ve been cast in projects where there has been a good amount of diversity and i believe that there are a number of directors out there who believe in diversity and wanting to cast roles or people no matter their race. The concept of color blinded casting.”
Last but not least, we asked Zoe to tell us where she sees herself in 5 years. "I see myself on TV by then. Thats one specific goal I'm trying to achieve right now, in the States."
Fun Facts about Zoe:
- Zoe considers herself both a Scorpio and a Libra! Cool right?
- Zoe's favorite musical is Wicked.
- Zoe's dream musical role is Mulan.
- Before a show, Zoe likes to stretch and do a little bit of vocal warm up before stepping onstage.