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Exploring in Career Comfort Zone

Updated: Jul 12

Liaoliao Wu: The Art of Exploring in Your Career Comfort Zone

Interviewed by Roxanne Luo, YCP Student Committee Member

In an exclusive interview, we had the pleasure to invite Liaoliao Wu, a remarkable Chinese actress whose talent and determination have propelled her career to great heights. From her early beginnings of career indancingto her transformation into actress and director, Liaoliao's story is one of perseverance, passion, and an unwavering commitment to her craft.

A Promising Start as Dancer

Liaoliao's journey in the film industry began at a young age when she embraced dancing. Encouraged by her schoolteacher, she pursued a dual path as a dancer and actress. Her grandfather's sage advice resonated deeply, emphasizing the importance of commitment and perseverance in her chosen career. These values have remained guiding principles throughout her journey since a very young age.

In Film Industry

With her dedication and unwavering spirit, Liaoliao quickly made strides in the acting realm. We asked her about the film that had the greatest impact on her professional life. She shared how working with the Chinese director, Yimou Zhang, played a pivotal role in shaping her career. Collaborating with Zhang allowed Liaoliao to discover her strengths and gain a deeper understanding of her craft.

In the movie Coming Back, at the first year of university, she followed the creative process of the director and actor Chen Daoming and Gong Li.

She started to realize how to set up high standards to her future acting and directing career. In 2018, Liaoliao had another chance to collaborate with director Yimou Zhang again and she was more mature in acting and gradually on the way to uncover her potentials.

Besides the experience with director Zhang Yimou, Liaoliao has also starred in several series and films such as Hengshan Hospital (2021) and Legend of the Naga Pearls (2017). This journey of self-exploration enabled her to embrace diverse roles and refine her acting skills.

In the attempt to explore her comfort zone, Liaoliao finds that her talent can be maximized in acting when doing something she is good at, rather than something she admires. Liaoliao emphasized her unique approach of immersing herself in the characters she portrays, living and breathing their experiences. She expressed the importance of extensive research and preparation to familiarize herself with the roles, enabling her to authentically embody the characters she acts.

As much as her dedication to acting, Liao has a higher pursuit. Recognizing that she has more ambitions, Liaoliao made one of the most significant decisions in her life: to put her thriving acting career in China on hold, and pursue higher education in the United Kingdom.

Reflecting on this choice, she acknowledged the challenges and sacrifices she faced. While acknowledging that she may have missed out on certain opportunities during this period, Liaoliao remains content with her decision. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University for the Creative Arts London, she found her passion in directing.

With all the fascinating labels on a young artist, Liaoliao expressed her indifference towards fame or titles. She focuses on pursuing her artistic endeavors with dedication. “There is nothing to compare when you work in something you enjoy and present it in the way you feel like to”, as Liaoliao says.

Advice for Aspiring Artists

As our interview drew to a close, we asked Liaoliao to share her insights and advice for other young Chinese professionals. While she acknowledged the uniqueness of each individual's career plan, she emphasized the importance of seizing every opportunity, and play little attention to its immediate outcome. Liaoliao believes that accumulating experience is paramount for young professionals. Additionally, she stressed the importance of identifying and pursuing the areas in which one feels most comfortable and talented, as this leads to personal and artistic fulfillment.

Liaoliao has provided a captivating glimpse into her career during the interview. Liaoliao's journey has been marked by relentless dedication and a relentless pursuit of artistic growth. Her decision to temporarily set aside her acting career to pursue education abroad demonstrated her commitment to personal development, leading her to new opportunities and the joy of directing her own works.

As Liaoliao continues to push boundaries and explore her artistic talents, her advice serves as a guiding light to aspiring other young Chinese professionals, encouraging them to embrace every opportunity and carve their own paths in film industry and arts.


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