Lucy Liu Recalls It Was 'Lonely' as an Asian Trailblazer in Hollywood, Says She's 'So Proud' of AAPI Entertainment Community Today

Lucy Liu is being honored as a trailblazer in Hollywood

Published Time: 12.05.2024 - 23:31:09 Modified Time: 12.05.2024 - 23:31:09

Lucy Liu is being honored as a trailblazer in Hollywood.

The actress, 55, was named a Gold Legend at the 2024 Gold Gala on Saturday, May 11, in Los Angeles. The gala, organized by Gold House, celebrates Asian/Pacific Islander excellence in entertainment, sports, business and more.

Regina King — who directed Liu in the Netflix series A Man in Full, which debuted earlier this month — presented her with the award, introducing Liu as "an actress, artist, director and advocate."

"Her breakout role was the fierce and cunning Ling Woo in Ally McBeal ... followed by her becoming a Charlie's Angel, making her the first Asian American woman to play a leading role in a major Hollywood Asian film," King said, listing just a few of Liu's accomplishments.

Liu starred in the 2000 blockbuster Charlie's Angels, getting top billing alongside Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. In 2021, Liu discussed the importance of her character. "As part of something so iconic, my character Alex Munday normalized Asian identity for a mainstream audience and made a piece of Americana a little more inclusive," she wrote in a 2021 op-ed for the Washington Post.

Looking out over the diverse sea of attendees, Liu said, "I love that we are all here tonight because there is no ceiling. And I've never seen that for myself and I want to all collectively to understand how special this moment is that we are as a community."

"I share this award with you because you have lifted me up, given me strength. You have mad -

e me so proud," she added.

Liu also reflected on how far representation has come since the late '90s/early '00s when she was one of the few Asian leads in network TV and studio films.

"I feel like it's been very lonely and I wish so much that there was more encouragement from my family, because just a little bit goes so long in where you're going, in your journey," she admitted. "It's hard when you're the first person in the room; when you're the only person that is different."

"And we are here now and we are collectively special because of that," she added, noting the progress that Asian/Pacific Islanders have made in front of and behind the cameras.

"I said no to the award originally because it was probably childhood trauma, like you don't deserve it or you didn't earn it," Liu said half-jokingly. "But I'm here because of this community."

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Liu is continuing her advocacy work, telling PEOPLE exclusively on the red carpet that she's heading to Washington, D.C., to meet President Biden and speak on a panel. She'll be reuniting with her 8-year-old son Rockwell there to celebrate Mother's Day.

Other Gold Legend honorees this year include former Top Chef host/author Padma Lakshmi and HYBE founder and chairman Bang Si-Hyuk.

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