Olivia Liang of American Martial Arts TV Series 'Kung Fu"

Do You have to know Kung Fu to act in a Kung Fu series? Let’s investigate this answer with the biography of Olivia Liang!

Olivia Liang was born on May 11, 1993 in Southern California, USA. She was a big Disney fan as a child. While growing up in California, when she heard on the radio the line “Does Your child want to be on Hannah Montana?”, she said to her mother that she would like that, and her mother replied that her chances were one in a million.

She was interested in acting from a very young age, but she grew up with dancing. She didn’t pursue acting till she was a student at the University of California San Diego. When she was 18, she wanted to become an actor and not go to college, but her mother forbade her. When she was 20 years old she finally convinced her mother to let her go and be an actor no matter what odds were against her. Years later Olivia got her chance in the series Kung Fu where she embodies the life of Nicky Shen. Nicky Shen dropped out of college and started to study at the Shaolin monastery in China before returning to San Francisco to fight crime.

Image credits: https://unsplash.com/photos/PA6L-SiUtSc - Wu Dae
Image credits: https://unsplash.com/photos/mqKKCsZgzXQ - Charlein Gracia

Liang had a recurring role in the CW's Legacies and she plays Alyssa Chang on the Vampire’s Diaries offshoot. She also acted in Hulu’s Crawlers. Other productions include Dating After College and Handle With Care: A Holiday Story from Wong Fu Productions.

The take on with the Kung Fu series that is often associated with the 1970’s version with David Carradine as the leading actor, opens up with Nicky protecting herself and those closest to her with jabs, strikes, spins and kicks while barely breaking a sweat. Liang was not allowed to do any of the intense wire work because of potential injury which would lead to delay of production. But she says that we can see about 65% of her in fight scenes. She also admits that it felt really fun and empowering to do those scenes.

An interesting fact is that Liang didn’t learn Martial Arts before she started to play in the Kung Fu series. She said that not everybody does Martial Arts just as not everybody does not speak a second language.

Liang hopes that the series would introduce the Chinese - American experience to the public. She said that there are a lot of places in the world where a large Asian population does not exist and she thinks of the project as people inviting them to their homes to understand them better. She also said that the series introduces Asian-American role models that will break the silence that surrounds them. For her it is important that Asian-Americans do not feel invisible.

The recent rise of anti-Asian hate crimes has made Liang more empathetic to the matter of races. She opened up to racial questions in the country because she felt for the first time that there was a possibility that she could get hurt because of the way she looks.

Liang sees that there is more of a “ collective Asian-American pride” in the last few years and she felt more empowered by playing the role of an Asian-American badass woman.

To conclude, there is always a way to find pride and hope for the Asian-American people, so keep trying and fighting on a large level as Olivia or at the level that is possible to you. Whatever the manner, it wont go unnoticed.

Written by: Mislav Zlomislić




Mislav Zlomislić is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. He is a former student of Zagreb school of economics and management, Zagreb, Croatia


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OBRAA.org: Olivia Liang of American Martial Arts TV Series 'Kung Fu"
Olivia Liang of American Martial Arts TV Series 'Kung Fu"
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