Interview with Michelle Lim Davidson about Australian Films, television & diversity.

goldstone

  1. What made you want to do acting as a career?

I started dance lessons when I was five & had a keen interest in singing too. Even though I was up on stage dancing in competitions almost every weekend I was extremely shy. Acting started for me when parents sent me to drama lessons to ‘bring me out of my shell’. It worked and I feel in love with acting. I never in a million years thought I would be an actress.

  1. What were the challenges you found when you started?

I graduated from WAAPA in 2010. At my graduation showcase I had some industry professionals tell me ‘As an asian girl you’ll never work on television, it’s not us it’s the networks they just won’t hire you’ and ‘You should learn karate if you want to have a career on film’. I was shocked, this may sound completely naive but during my time at drama school I was never aware that my ethnicity could possibly limit my future employment. Ironically I booked my first job on television and there was no karate required.

  1. Who were your role models growing and why?

I honestly can’t remember having specific role models growing up, I didn’t have any people in particular that I idolised. However there was a lot of people growing up who supported and encouraged me to believe in myself. I wouldn’t be where I am today without people like my dance teachers, high school drama teachers, my family & friends guiding and supporting me.

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4.What is your career highlight (or highlights?) & Why?.

I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on a diverse range projects. One highlight is being a presenter on Play School. I had one mother tell me her daughter was watching Play School & had never seen an Australian/Asian woman on tv. She was so excited & said‘Mummy she has the same eyes as me, one day i’m going to be on tv like Michelle’. It’s so amazing to hear your work can encourage & inspire a little girl who just wanted to see someone like her on the T.V.

  1. What do you think about Colourblind casting in Australia?

In my 6 years of being a professional actress I have witnessed many excellent changes in colourblind casting. For me i’ve never understood why it’s not just common sense to reflect the diversity of our society on stage and screen, it seems so straightforward in my mind. I hope in years to come this is no longer an issue. For now we need to continue to fight for diversity until we see equality for all who work in this industry.

  1. What do you think about the diversity issue in Australian TV/ Film / Theatre?

I like to remain positive about the diversity issues in our industry for I truly believe change is happening. I am also grateful for all the people who have campaigned for change over many years so artists like myself in recent years have had better opportunities to work in this industry. We still have a long way to go but i’m positive that we can continue to move forward. There is a keen and vigorous discussion around diversity in the industry which is exciting to be a part of. I find initiatives such as the Equity Diversity Committee very encouraging and inspiring and I would like to continue to be part of the change.

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  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? (What do you want to achieve?).

This is a tricky question to answer for me. I haven’t thought about what i’m doing tomorrow let alone if 5 years time. I’m very much take each day as it comes along. I hope I still have to opportunity to act in tv/film/theatre. I hope I can venture overseas to the USA and challenge myself as an actress. I would like to continue to grow and become a better artist and I hope I’m doing an interview in the future about how diversity in the Australian entertainment industry is about how diversity in the Australian entertainment industry is no longer an issue.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Lim Davidson – Play School (ABC), Utopia, Goldstone

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