Photo: Kathy Luu
It’s become somewhat of a cliché for homegrown actors to start out on the Australian television screen – cue the Neighbours opening theme song – before being launched into international stardom. But Grace Huang doesn’t fit the typical mould. She didn’t actively pursue acting at all, simply “falling into it” when she was modelling in Taiwan and offered a television role whilst there. Fast forward six years and Grace has nine films and four television series under her belt, most recently the sci-fi thriller Infini starring Luke Hemsworth and Daniel McPherson. She has since reached another milestone off the big screen, being named the ambassador for luxury Australian pearl brand Kailis. We caught up with Grace recently and grilled her on life in the limelight and what really goes on behind the scenes.
Tell us a little about what you’ve been up to in the last 24 hours…
The past 24 hours have been all about Kailis. News of my ambassador role has just been released, so I sat down for a few interviews and photo shoots surrounding that. It’s wonderful to work with such an amazing and iconic Australian brand and as a proud Aussie-Asian, I thought it was perfect when Kailis approached me to represent their brand across the Asia-Pacific.
I’ve also been doing interviews to promote Infini. My performance in it has shocked many people! It’s the most raw and vulnerable I’ve ever taken a performance and it’s forever changed me.
Share with us your earliest memory of wanting to be an actor.
I was always the adventurous one in the family, questioning why and just an unconventional thinker. When I had to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I could never make up my mind because every job was cool and I wanted to be all of them. A cop, ballerina, doctor, lawyer, a spy or a psychologist – everything! Now I have chances to be them all so it’s perfect.
I fell into acting though, so it was never something I pursued. I’m glad about the series of events that has led me to it. I would be bored and miserable otherwise!
How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to be an actor?
Well, I fell into acting so there was not really a moment like that. I was modeling in Taiwan and got offered a major role in a tv show. I’ve always been one to take on challenges and my parents have always encouraged trying new things so I thought ‘why not?’ and jumped straight in. I fell in love with the way a role takes over your whole being. The magic and process of becoming someone else makes me feel alive.
What would surprise people the most about what goes on behind-the-scenes of a film set?
There is a hell of a lot of waiting and a lot of work that goes into producing a television show or film, which audiences easily ‘consume’ in an hour or two. Often many people visit the sets and after a few hours of hanging around, they’re exhausted and want to go home. They realise it’s not all fun, glamorous or full of exciting action every second.
Being born in Taiwan but growing up in Australia, did you ever struggle with your identity?
I wouldn’t say that I struggled with my identity, but it was just hard to balance [being Australian-Chinese] when I was young. There weren’t many Asian people around the Sydney neighborhood when I was in primary school so I naturally assimilated with my Aussie friends and surroundings. It was only in High School where I had more Asian friends and that was when I could share certain cultural discussions and [found] that common ground.
Having just been named an ambassador for Kailis, can you share with us your earliest memory of trying on pearls?
My mother has a beautiful single strand pearl necklace and when I was about 8 years old she let me try it on, and that was my introduction to pearls. I remember the cool feeling of it on my skin, the lustre of the pearls and it felt so elegant. Ever since then, I equate pearls with elegance, confidence and gracefulness.
Now for some quick questions. Which fashion bloggers are you loving?
Margaret Zhang, Olivia Palermo, Chiara Ferragni, Nicole Warne, Aimee Song and The Native Fox.
Best Instagram accounts you’re following?
All of the above fashion bloggers, plus @DoYouTinder (hilarious) and @ChrissyTeigen (great variety).
Best meal you had recently?
Best book to keep you company on long flights?
I watch movies and sleep! Reading on planes puts me to sleep.
Weirdest item in your handbag?
Grace is the newest Asia-Pacific ambassador for luxury Australian pearl brand Kailis.
Photo courtesy of Kailis