Eileen Li was born to Chinese immigrant parents in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in Toronto, Ontario where she currently resides. At a young age, Eileen showed interest in visual arts and music before finally sticking to the dramatic arts. After initially attending the University of Waterloo for a degree in kinesiology, she decided to pursue her passion for acting and finished instead with a degree in the dramatic arts. From there, she went on to perform in various theater festivals including Factory Theatre’s production of TOUGH at the 2010 Magnetic North Festival and SOUVENIRS OF HOME at the 2010 Summer Works Theatre Festival. She also toured with the Manitoba Theatre for Young Audiences Theatre with OFFENSIVE FOULS.
Since then, Eileen has appeared in several major film and television productions and has several credits to her name including ORPHAN BLACK (BBC AMERICA), DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION (MUCH
MUSIC), NIKITA (CW), SHOOT THE MESSENGER (CBC), KIM’S CONVENIENCE (CBC) and ALPHAS (SYFY). Coming up next, you can catch her as Lara Yun on in the highly-anticipated series 21 THUNDER (CBC). She can also be seen in the second part of season two of the hit sci-fi show SHADOWHUNTERS (FREEFORM) and JACK RYAN (AMAZON).
Outside of acting, Eileen is passionate about staying active and is a certified yoga instructor. Most recently, she has started training in a style of martial arts called “Choy Lee Fut” and has also picked up Muay Thai. A self-proclaimed nerd, Eileen is a big fan of anime. When she’s not working out or watching her favorite anime series Sailor Moon, Eileen can be found hitting the best food joints in the city.
We had an opportunity to chat with Eileen. Check out her interview.
Eileen, you have several amazing projects releasing soon to add to your impressive resume. We can’t wait to speak with you about them! Let’s start with 21 Thunder. You play Lara Yun. Tell us more.
Getting to play Lara was such a great opportunity. She’s the medical intern for the team who gets involved in some risky business with some shady people. It’s not often that I get to play characters who are as strong and badass as she is.
Tell us about your auditioning process for your role.
I sent in a tape for my first audition. Then I had a Skype audition at a local casting studio for my callback. It was my first Skype audition and I remember not being able to see anyone’s face on the screen. They were cut off from the shoulder up and it proved difficult to figure out who was talking to me. It wasn’t until our first table read that I was able to put names to faces.
It’s set to release July 31, 2017 on CBC. What can the audience expect?
The show follows the star players of an under-21 soccer club in Montreal. Soccer is such an international sport and Montreal is a very diverse city and the show reflects that. There are so many characters, with really interesting back stories, that everyone will fall in love with. The show is going to be high-paced with a lot of action and drama. You can expect to be kept at the edge of your seat throughout the season.
You’re also starring in Shadowhunters. Tell us about your role.
I play Aline Penhallow and I get introduced in the middle of season 2B of Shadowhunters. She’s a character from the original Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Aline is a childhood friend of Alec and Isabelle Lightwood as well as the cousin of Sebastian. She’s a total badass but you also see her struggling with her sexuality and her fear of coming out to her parents. She’s an Asian woman and a lesbian so many of the fans are really excited to see that representation. I’m already feeling a lot of the love from the fandom.
OK, let’s talk Jack Ryan. It releases in 2017 on Amazon. You play Noreen Yang. Tell us more.
The series Jack Ryan is based off the Tom Clancy series of the same name. It follows Jack Ryan, played by John Kransinski, and his journey from becoming a CIA analyst to a field agent. Noreen is part of Jack’s CIA analyst team. She’s the youngest of the bunch and she has an obsession with baseball. She, along with the rest of team, help Jack with his mission’s throughout the series.
Thus far, what has been the best experience working in the industry?
Getting to work with Wendell Pierce on Jack Ryan was such a great experience. He is such a power house but also super nice and down to earth. He had a lot of encouraging words for me and I’ll never forget his kindness. I also ran into him at the grocery store while we were filming in Montreal. I told him I was looking for cheese curds. The next day, when I told him I couldn’t find any, he had production run out and get me some! What a classy guy.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
That’s it for now but the great thing about this industry is that anything could change within seconds. I am excited to see what else this year brings so make sure you stay tuned!
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to do anything I want, I would do ___________?
Travel the world and eat all sorts of food.
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Featured Image Credit: Amrita Singh.