Episode 32: Elizabeth Liang - "What ARE You??"
Elizabeth Liang is one of those people who I knew of and shared contacts with, but had never actually spoken to until this interview. Lisa, as she’s known in these streets and I basically managed to run in the same expat circles, for what seems like forever, without actually connecting.
But I knew when I started this podcast she was definitely someone I wanted to have on here.
Like some of my recent guests, Lisa had a highly mobile childhood. Her story starts in Guatemala, but quickly takes a turn in Costa Rica, Egypt, Panama, Morocco and the United States. And those experiences have featured prominently in her work. As an artist, she has used her voice to tell beautifully profound and much needed intercultural stories . She is the creator of the award-winning film, Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey, that documented her memories of travelling in between cultures, identities and spaces.
In addition to being an actor and a public speaker, Lisa , for years, was one third of the Hapa Happy Hour. The podcast which was launched in 2008 was one of the few during its run, dedicated to discussing the experiences of mixed-race individuals, especially those with Asian identity.
Lisa and I talk about what it means to be different, particularly when you don’t fit the preconceived assumptions of others when it comes to race and ethnicity. She describes what it means to be Asian-ish and highlights the strange entitlement that arises when others want to emphatically define and dismiss your identity. Lisa also shares how she has used her art to process the wonderful messiness of it all.
Lisa’s been asked many times throughout her life, the question, “What Are You?” and in this episode, as you’ll hear, there’s no simple answer. And that’s quite alright.
- Her third culture kid story through Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Morocco & Panama
- Understanding the impact one’s culture has on how they perceive others
- Confronting those who want to decided how she identifies
- How her play Alien Citizen provided her a platform to navigate her global experiences
To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts.