During this time of social distancing and dark theatres, Vancouver Presents continues to check in with members of our arts community to find out how they are staying creative and managing during the pandemic.
Today we check in with Vancouver-based actor, playwright, and acting coach Jessie Liang.
1. How are you staying creative during the pandemic?
I decided to launch my own business two weeks into my quarantine called Acting Expanded. It comprises of online courses for actors and one-on-one coachings, and right now, I’m designing merch too. Aside from entrepreneur fun, I’ve returned to an old hobby of mine: cross-stitching. I’m this close to finishing a Daenerys and Drogo one!
2. What’s the one thing getting you through?
Part of it is my introverted self, really loving being able to live as a recluse, and the other is being able to keep in touch consistently with my friends and family.
3. How are you staying in contact with family and friends who are not in your bubble?
Whatsapp, Wechat, Zoom, Instagram and Houseparty.
4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during the pandemic?
That we’re dealing with two kinds of deadly viruses right now: COVID19 and racism. Their vaccines couldn’t come early enough.
5. What do you feel the most grateful for right now?
The healthy and safety of my loved ones and my own. Especially since most of my family and friends are either in Brazil, the US, or Asia. My roommate is also Brazilian, and we talk all the time about how privileged we are to be in Vancouver throughout all this.
6. What is something you are doing now that you don’t normally?
Sleep! And call people. I’m a millennial. Texting is the only acceptable form of communication when not in person.
7. What skill have you developed since the pandemic started?
Anything and everything related to launching your own online business.
8. What have you missed the most?
Automatically hugging my friends and family when we see each other. Then going out to restaurants or breweries on weekends.
9. Your #1 pandemic survival tip.
Get busy with your hands – bake that bread, plant that garden, journal, etc. – and then wash those hands.
10. Your biggest indulgence since the pandemic started.
I was indulging in nicer cabernet sauvignons, but I splurged on making my own negronis now, and I have no regrets.
11. What have you stockpiled?
Chocolate and embroidery thread.
12. What have you been reading?
Untamed by Glennon Doyle.
13. What have you been watching?
Insecure, Queer Eye, and anything touched by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
14. What have you been listening to?
Chromatica. And all of the podcasts.
15. What are you doing for exercise?
Long walks and YouTube workouts.
16. The one thing you haven’t been able to live without?
Aside from streaming services? Playing Skribbl.io religiously with my mom and sister.
17. Do-it-yourself haircut or the natural look?
My hair is so long now, it’s reminding me of the high-school Jessie that was voted “Rebel Without A Cause,” and I’m not mad…
18. Night owl or early riser?
Night owl. I’m on a regular 5 am bedtime, 1 pm rise sleep cycle now.
19. Will you be the first out as restrictions are gradually lifted or taking a wait-and-see attitude?
Wait-and-see. I took the bus down to play tennis in Stanley Park last weekend, and it’s given me enough anxiety to warrant at least seven days of self-isolation. There are way too many people without masks and not social-distancing for my taste.
20. What’s the first thing you will do when this is all over?
Plan a trip.
Meet Jessie Liang
Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Jessie Liang is a Vancouver-based actor, playwright, and acting coach. She is a graduate of the prestigious Acting Program at Studio 58 and holds an HBA in Management from the University of Toronto.
Jessie’s best-known television roles include shows like Get Shorty and Charmed, and most recently, she reprised the role of Janet in the Arts Club 2020 tour of Kim’s Convenience before COVID-19 cut the run short.
She is the resident artistic producer for the award-winning theatre company Solo Collective and has kept busy with her online acting courses and coachings at Acting Expanded. She speaks fluent Portuguese, with a pinch of Spanish and Mandarin, and always chooses with Toad when playing Mario Kart.