Tuesday, July 29, 2014 N. R. 0 Comments

 "The volume of stories in the media today speak to the state of young women in the world: hundreds of Nigerian girls kidnapped, girls in India being raped and hung from trees, a small child dying a violent death in a bathtub in New York City. It’s hard not to feel helpless after we read these stories. How do we take action? I had previously produced two documentaries about child sex trafficking. Then I was approached to direct a short narrative film based on a chapter of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s bestselling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. After reading this inspiring book, I agreed and chose to tell the story of Meena Hasina, who at 8 years old was kidnapped and sold to a brothel by her uncle. She was raped, beaten, and kept in this brothel for over 12 years and gave birth to a daughter while captive. Meena eventually escaped, and with the help of the nonprofit group Apne Aap, bravely returned to rescue her daughter, Naina. I was so inspired by Meena, who not only joined the self-empowerment group, Apne Aap, but also managed to rescue her daughter, Naina, who later attended school and received an education—something rare and coveted in most other parts of the world. Naina is now a community mobilizer, helping other girls break the cycle of exploitation."- An excerpt from Child Trafficking Must End Now published June 26, 2014 by Lucy Liu

"Connecting with women and children like Meena and Naina in my travels with UNICEF gives me every confidence that when we move awareness into action we actually create opportunities that make a real difference, ones that can be life saving. None of this is inevitable. It is preventable. Period." - Lucy Liu
Read Lucy's full article 'Child Trafficking Must End Now' over at The Daily Beast.

On working as a UNICEF Ambassador
Helping children has always been a passion of mine, which is how I became a UNICEF Ambassador in 2004. I have traveled around the world with UNICEF and have witnessed children in war-torn countries who are in dire need of simple, everyday things like clean water, pencils, and access to schools or other safe places. Source
Find out more about Lucy's work as a ambassador at UNICEF USA.

On July 24, 2014 Lucy participated in a Times Talks discussion about women in leading roles on TV and in film with fellow actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mira Sorvino, and Taylor Schilling. Here are a few excerpts from their conversation.
Why she was reluctant to play the role of Watson, in the TV show 'Elementary'
I thought originally that she script could stand alone without sort of going back to Holmes and Watson because there had been a successful show in London on the BBC, and also there were the movies that were just out, and I just sort of thought it's an added pressure. You're allowing yourself and you're opening yourself up to criticism. I mean we [actors] open ourselves up to criticism all the time anyway, but we don't extra help (laughs) ." So that was my suggestion that Rob Doherty who is the executive producer, and the creator really felt strongly about it, and if you've ever met him, he's just the loveliest person and you just fall in love with him and you trust him implicitly. So I just gave myself over to him, and we also knew that Watson was going to develop in a very slow and gradual way on the show and you know to go from somebody who is a sober companion... to someone who's going to be a partner, so it took over the span of two seasons, we really kind of opened that up and I really have to say I haven't been disappointed about it at all.

Maggie Gyllenhaal: "What would it be like to work on a really intense character on a really intense piece where you have different directors in all the time, where some of them see you and hear you, and some of them don't, it seems really scary to me."  Lucy's response: It is scary but I think in some ways you learn to chose your battles, I mean I do, like there's certain things that I feel very strongly about and I think sometimes people come in with a very clear idea of what the show is and they want to continue that balance. In earlier shows that I've done in my career where they want to put their stamp on it and their name on it and it's sort of like 'Wow that episode was so different from anything else' but it doesn't really encourage the rest of the series, it doesn't hold it up, it doesn't fall in line with it, you're not going to suddenly shoot Orange is the New Black as Southland or something like that, it doesn't work that way. I think sometimes that's when you have to really stand up and say 'Well this isn't really what the show is, and I'm not going to do that' and you have to feel comfortable  because they'll ask you to do a take and I'm sure often times you've had that where [they'll say] 'just for me, just do this take for me' that's the one they'll use on every woman (panel laughs). So, I've had to learn to say 'No. I'm not comfortable with that'. In some ways as an actor, maybe you guys feel the same way, we want to say 'Yes'. When you're starting out and you get the role you're like 'Yes, of course I want to do it. Four lines? Perfect, yes! No money, and I'm going to be shooting in a hole in a wall in China? Sure!' and so you learn to say yes all the time because then you want to inject that excitement into it, but then when you realize that you have to say no it's so hard. It's so hard to say no. It's so hard to disappoint anyone you feel like 'Ugh I don't want to hurt someone's feelings' and in the end you end up hurting your own feelings because you've done something that isn't true, and with technology it's what's going to be in perpetuity, and it's not honest and you recognize the dishonesty in what you've done not for yourself but for someone else, and it's just you know, I can't live with it.

On feeling gratitude for the success she's had in her career as an actress
I look back on my career and I feel like there have been so many wonderful moments of like you know whether it was getting Ally McBeal and then Charlie's Angels, Kill Bill... the slew of things that I've had in my career that have happened or that I've wanted to happen or was hoping that it would happen but it's not even about that, it's about that I have gratitude for what I'm doing. I really had very little encouragement towards what I was going to be doing and pursuing and I feel so grateful that I have made it this far, and I continue to appreciate that every single day and the people that I work with. It has been a really long road and my parents have been not so thrilled about the career path that I chose and also coming from a very low-income family and just looking back it almost seems like a miracle that I got to this place in my life where I can be self-sufficient and to love what I'm doing and be passionate about it. It's really mind blowing and I always have to look back and think, it could have been a very different road for me. So I always feel grateful.

What the entire Times Talks conversation with actresses Lucy Liu, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mira Sorvino, and Taylor Schilling recorded on July 24, 2014 in New York City.

The greatest day was [me] believing that I could do this against all odds.
- Lucy on the greatest day in her career 

Lucy is also a painter. In 2011, she did an interview with Hunger TV in which she talked about her artwork and career as an actress. You can go to their website to read the full Brush With Fame interview. 

Photos: Getty