My Bag

Actress Elizabeth Lazan is going places

With a home and jobs here and in the United States, actress Elizabeth Lazan splits her time between the two countries

For Singaporean actress, host and producer Elizabeth Lazan, having to split her time between two countries is no big deal.

Speaking to The Straits Times last month, the 34-year-old beauty says: "Home is where the heart is and my heart is both in Singapore and in Los Angeles. I'm a child of the world."

She was in Singapore for the play Whale Fall, a production by The Necessary Stage which was directed by Alvin Tan. She played one of the two female leads.

"I have a family home here in the east and an apartment in LA with my husband. I think I've travelled about every two months this year," says Lazan, who is married to American-Italian glass artist Ivan Lee Mora, 39. They do not have children. Her mother is Australian-Italian, while her father is a Singaporean Chinese.

Lazan says: "For me, the long flight is just a day when I can watch movies, read and disconnect from the world. The jet lag can be harsh, but I think I have mastered it."

The duality of her living situation perhaps reflects the actress' multifaceted identity. "The dinner table at home was always a mix of different food, from Western to Chinese."

She was born and grew up in Singapore, but moved to Australia when she was 18 for further studies.

Elizabeth Lazan works in Singapore and New York and lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Elizabeth Lazan works in Singapore and New York and lives in Los Angeles with her husband. PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

After getting her bachelor's degree in media and communications at Monash University in Melbourne, she returned to Singapore when she was 23 to start her show business career. She signed with agency Fly Entertainment and began working as an actor and host full-time.

Her first TV gig was hosting children's reality programme Jobs For Juniors on the now-defunct Singapore channel Kids Central.

In 2010, she received a scholarship from the National Arts Council and gained admission into highly acclaimed acting conservatory The William Esper Studio in New York.

"I actually thought about choosing London or LA at the time, but when I auditioned in New York, my heart and soul just felt like, 'Okay, this is home for now.'"

After graduating from the conservatory in 2012, she continued to work in New York and Singapore, and moved to LA in 2015.

"I knew at some point, I wanted to explore living in LA because it is TV and film land."

Her notable gigs include hosting events such as the Singapore Biennale and acting in stage production Fat Pig by Singapore-based theatre company Pangdemonium and Singapore film-maker Kelvin Tong's The Faith Of Anna Waters (2016).

She also recently co-hosted and produced Crack The Cookie Code, a food and travel TV series which sees two best friends travel across the United States to explore fusion cuisine.

  • ON HER BAG

    I just got this Melissa bag in Singapore. I like bags that are big enough to store all my things but are not too bulky, so this is perfect. The colour also fits my feminine street style. I usually keep to quite basic muted black and white colours. But I like that this gold shade is a little bit out of my comfort zone, but still quite safe and easy to match.

Lazan says: "I'm a foodie and having lived in America for a while, I've always been intrigued by dishes like Singapore noodles, which doesn't exist in Singapore. It made me curious about how Chinese and Asian food is interpreted in Western culture."

She co-hosts the show with film-maker and real-life best friend Jeane Reveendran.

"I called her and said, 'Let's find out about the East in the West while travelling from the East to the West across the US. And film it.' And that's how the whole idea started."

On her interest in bridging cultures, she says: "I feel like the world is getting smaller and it's just natural progression for me to pull these cultures together."

But she admits it is not easy being a minority actress in Hollywood.

"Though I feel like I can be moulded into any role, I do get comments like 'you're not Asian enough' or 'you're not Caucasian enough'."

While films and TV shows such as Wonder Woman, Fresh Off The Boat and the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie are good examples of minorities in lead roles, she says there is a long way more to go.

"I feel Hollywood is opening up slowly. Multicultural races are a growing demographic in the world, but they are not represented on screen. More stories need to be told about everyday people and everyday people are not just one race."


Things in her bag 

IPAD MINI

I've had this for five to six years. I use it for my audio books. There is a lot of driving in LA and in Singapore. I get motion sickness in the car if I read, so audio books work better for me. I'm currently listening to this book called Life, a memoir by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. I'm a big fan of the band.

JOURNAL

I use this to take down inspirations, thoughts, notes, questions and to-dos. I've had this journal for about a year now, it was a gift. I feel like an adventurer when I look at it.

MINTS

I love this flavour. I always have it and eat one before auditions and meetings. It's always good to have fresh breath.

GENTLE MONSTER SUNGLASSES

This is my favourite pair of sunglasses. I got it in New York. It just fits my feminine street style completely. It goes with anything I wear whether it is a chill outfit or if I'm dressing up.

MOON STONE

This chocolate moon stone is a gift from my husband. In ancient times, it was known as a traveller's stone and I carry it around with me wherever I go. It is for safety and enhances creativity.

KIPLING POUCH

This was a gift from a friend and I love that it has different compartments. I use it as my wallet and keep my phone and make-up in it.

LUCAS' PAPAW OINTMENT

This is a magical ointment. I use it to soothe cuts and wounds and as a lip balm. I use it on my skin as a moisturiser too.

Correction note: This story has been updated for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2017, with the headline 'Going places '. Print Edition | Subscribe