My name is Elizabeth Thai.
I work as an actor, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Being an actor has given me some amazing experiences and opportunities. Number one, it’s allowed me to live a life doing what I love and I am so grateful to be able to say that. I think the need to be creative and expressive lies in all of us. I think that as artists in any genre, we get to live out that need for expression not just for ourselves but for everyone else who enjoys our work, is inspired by what they see, or is moved emotionally in response to it. I know I personally have witnessed so many great performances by other actors and their artwork is a big part of what inspires me to keep going. Perhaps the largest challenge for me as an actor is to stay motivated when the work is slow and to continue to believe in myself. When I see an incredible performance I am reignited by the fire to create again.
A little bit about my past:
I was born in South Vietnam. In 1981, my family did what so many other families were doing in Vietnam, we escaped by boat in search of a better life elsewhere. My mother, brother and I left in the middle of the night, crowding onto a tiny boat with many other people. After a very traumatic week at sea, we arrived at a refugee camp where we stayed for seven months until my father, who had come before us, was able to sponser us to Canada. When we arrived in Canada, the Canadian ambassador asked my mother when my and my brother’s birthday was. Due to the stress of the trip, she couldn’t remember so we were both given July 1st, Canada Day, as our birthday. It’s still my “official” birthday in Canada to this day.
After ten years in Toronto and one divorce, my mother, brother and I found ourselves in Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province. I can definitely tell you it was pretty shocking to go from inner city Toronto to what I considered the country. I remember thinking I had gone back in time. There wasn’t even a respectable shopping mall and for a ten year old urbanite, unthinkable! If you had asked me then if I thought it was a good move, I would have asked you how many kinds of crazy you were and yet, life has a funny way of working things out for us.
PEI ended up having a very robust community theatre scene. Since there was no decent shopping to be had, I ended up auditioning for local plays instead (don’t ask me how they relate). On the most likely chance that you’ve never been there, PEI has a predominantly Caucasian population. Thank goodness the artistic community was so willing and open to casting a small strange Asian girl in many “white” roles. And that’s how I found acting.
Fast forward now a couple of years. At the ripe and wise old age of twelve I figured I should know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember debating between being an actor or being a biologist and joining Greenpeace to save the world. It was actually my mother who pointed out to me that when the science fair came rolling into town, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement but if there was an audition at our local community theatre, I was often the first one in line. Hmmm….good point Mom. Ok, decision made!
Around that time I started honing my talents as a triple threat. I studied ballet, singing, and acting and auditioning for every play at the local community theatres. When I was eighteen, I left PEI and headed west to start my new life as a struggling acting student. Schooling took me to Vancouver where my love went from musical theatre to the more naturalistic style of film and television.
This is where I’ve stayed since.