15 Rising APIA Stars Talk Identity, Solidarity, and Unapologetically Taking Up Space


Ashley Liao’s acting credits have range. She played a princess in Disney’s Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, voiced a precocious girl with superpowers on the anime series Scissor Seven, and was the teen counterpart to Ali Wong’s Sasha in Always Be My Maybe. The 19-year-old Chinese American actress is perhaps most famous, however, for her portrayal of Lola Wong on Fuller House. Though the Netflix reboot aired its fifth and final season last year, Ashley will soon play a character named Simone on Physical, a Rose Byrne-led dark comedy series premiering on Apple TV+ on June 18. Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning Ashley does all this in addition to studying communication at UCLA.

What does it mean to “belong” as an APIA in Hollywood?
“I think the idea of finding your group of friends is so, so important in an industry as cutthroat as Hollywood. I find a lot of encouragement and kindness in my social media DMs from girls that say things like, ‘You played the first character on TV that looked like me!’ or ‘Lola reminds me of myself!’

In every project I have worked on, everyone has been wonderful and inclusive. I am so thankful for the roles that I have played where the character gets to bend the viewer’s perception of what it means to be an Asian American. In my upcoming Apple TV series, Physical, Simone truly had me working on what it meant to be an Asian American in the ’80s, and getting to explore that was so much fun (and included many conversations with my parents)!”

Who in the APIA community acts as an inspiration or role model for you? Why?
“When I think of who has inspired me the most in the APIA community, I instantly think about my beloved friend Miya Cech. Every time Miya and I hang out, I am constantly reminded of the kind of work ethic I strive to have. At only 14, Miya has taught me about patience, friendship, and sass! I see so much of myself in her, and I am so thankful to be her friend. I cannot wait to see everything she does; I’ll always be her number one fan.”

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