8Questions: Dyana Liu of Cartoon Network’s Tower Prep

People complain that there aren’t enough Asian Pacific Islanders on TV. And it’s true. So when someone actually makes it, we should celebrate and recognize them. That’s why I’d like to highlight the über talented and beautiful Dyana Liu. She is the newest star of the Cartoon Network’s second live-action show Tower Prep. Her character, Suki Sato, is NOT the stereotypical dragon lady, geisha, or awkward nerd (although her character is very intelligent). She’s as three dimensional Asian American female as I’ve seen on television for a long time.

People complain that there aren’t enough Asian Pacific Islanders on TV, and it’s true. So when someone actually makes it, we should celebrate and recognize them. That’s why I’d like to highlight the über talented and beautiful Dyana Liu, the newest star of the Cartoon Network’s second live-action show Tower Prep. Her character, Suki Sato, is NOT the stereotypical dragon lady, geisha, or awkward nerd (although her character is very intelligent). She’s as three dimensional Asian American female as I’ve seen on television for a long time.

Full disclosure: Dyana is a good friend so I’d watch anything she was on even if it was BAD. But Tower Prep is actually pretty good, and I’m not the only one saying that — check out these positive reviews on Variety and the LA Times. And I’m pleased to say that Dyana has been getting some coverage as well. This article from Alloy lists her as one of the 10 characters they’d like to room with at boarding school.

Tower Prep is on the Cartoon Network on Tuesday nights. Check your local listings for times.

Dyana Liu is a Taiwanese American from Ithaca, New York. According to her IMDB bio, she is a descendant of the Han Dynasty emperor, Liu Bang. You can also hear her voice on the Nickelodeon show Fanboy & Chum Chum. My interview, after the jump!

Tell us about your character… Who is she? What is her background?
Suki Sato is the daughter of a wealthy business magnate. She loves her family, but questions whether the love is reciprocated. Her absentee father’s argument with her mom at home one day causes her to up the volume on their living room television in an attempt to drown out their voices. The next thing she knows, she awakens to the strange surroundings that is Tower Prep with no memory of how she arrived or method to contact home. Suki’s ability is perfect mimicry, which allows her to imitate others’ voices with precision. She is known as the “brains” and techie of the group and is as loyal a friend as one can be. Her friendship with the other three is priority in her life, and she will do anything in her power to protect them and ensure their happiness. Although quiet and introspective, she is braver than her size would indicate and possesses a heart of gold.

Your character’s power on the show is mimicry, but if you could have any super power what super power would you choose?
I’ve always thought it’d be cool to have the ability to teleport. No more sitting in lovely LA traffic. Course, that’d actually be a “superpower” and not just an enhanced ability like the students at Tower Prep have, but why not dream big? 😉

If you could “uninvent” one thing in the world so that it would no longer exist, what would you choose?
Can I have two? One would have to be the existence of all cancers. The other would have to be the extinction of dinosaurs.  (NOTE: Dyana would like me to make the following correction) “Course, if I had actually read this question correctly upon first pass…I’d have realized that neither of the two were actually ‘invented.’ So to pick something I’d like to actually ‘uninvent’…it’d have to be land mines,specifically when used in guerilla warfare, as they’ve killed too many innocent people over time.”

Any advice for other API actors?
Not specifically to API actors, but to actors in general. It’s been said time and again–keep persevering and always be prepared. You’ll get knocked down a lot and rejected in infinitely different ways in this industry, but pick yourself back up and forge ahead; and if it means for you to lose sleep and stay up longer just to memorize lines and get it in your bones for an audition the following day, do it. When opportunity comes a-knockin, you’ll be ready to greet it. Remember to stay humble and be nice to everyone on set–their jobs are often many times more difficult than yours. Lastly, have fun and raid crafty!

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Author: Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (www.CHOPSO.com), the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.