Lien Mya Nguyen is a lady of many talents on both sides of the camera. She describes herself as “your next door nerdy neighbor Asian assassin, model, actress, writer, comic book addict, gamer, zombie killer girl.” All of which is true, of course.
Born in Houston to parents of Vietnamese descent, Mya’s family moved back to Vietnam in 1992. It was there she began her career in front of the camera after landing a modeling contract when she was 15. She also won several awards from pageants while in Vietnam, which gave her a taste of the being a target for the Vietnamese paparazzi. After returning to the States in 2000, Mya continued modeling and competing in pageants, but then branched out to acting by the mid-2000s. Writing, directing, and producing soon followed, as well as several other behind-the-scenes roles. It’s now safe to say that Mya’s done pretty much every job there is on a film set.
Currently calling the Pacific Northwest home, Mya has made quite a name for herself in indie films, particularly in the horror genre. She’s appeared in such titles as Eddie Brown Jr.’s Camera Phone, and her own Undying Love for You. As this goes to press, she just returned from Dallas, where she was filming scenes being re-shot for Remy St. Paul’s Deadfall: Ground Zero, which began filming in 2014 and is slated for release in 2018 (despite IMDb mistakenly listing it as being released in 2014). Learn more in her exclusive interview that follows. Above photo by Tavis Jewett-Hill.
LIEN MYA NGUYEN: Filming has been great, I actually got back a few days ago. Still recovering from injuries and aches from fighting scenes. Director and creator Remy St. Paul fed me pretty well to prepare for the fight scenes (laughs).
CHRIS: So did you begin acting on stage when you were in school?
MYA: I started acting and modeling at the same time when I was 14 turning 15 in Vietnam. I joined an agency and I stayed with them until I went back home to the US in 2000.
CHRIS: Besides acting, you were in several pageants when you were younger, and won some. What are your most notable pageant awards?
MYA: I took second place in the Miss Enchantuer Vietnam Ha Noi 2000 (sponsored by the French fragrance and powder “Enchantuer”), including Miss Congeniality in the same pageant. I was crowned Miss Beaumont Texas International 2005 and I was second runner-up in Miss Texas International 2005. I also did other contests like taekwondo and took home the silver for the 45kg weight class and I was Aerobics Miss Perfect Fit 2000.
CHRIS: I’ve heard you say that you wanted to be an actress from a very young age. Was there ever a time when you considered doing anything else?
CHRIS: I suppose you’ve been in enough horror films to be considered a Scream Queen. Would you be happy to be dubbed that?
MYA: I would love to be considered a Scream Queen! I would happily carry that title proudly!
CHRIS: I assume you’ve found that being Asian can be both an advantage and disadvantage when it comes to getting cast for certain parts. How often would you say being Asian has helped you get a part?
MYA: I would have to say being Asian has had more advantages than disadvantages for me. Especially when knowledge of martial arts as well as willing to do my own stunts have helped me get projects without too many problems.
MYA: I would have to say the only time being Asian is a disadvantage is when they aren’t casting for an Asian (laughs).
MYA: I haven’t had crazy paparazzi going crazy on me here in the US, since I’m not famous. In Vietnam, just winning a pageant is enough to make me very well-known to famous.
CHRIS: Who have been some of your favorite people to work with on either side of the camera?
MYA: I would have to say I absolutely loved working with George C. Romero on Zombie Days. It was an honor. To be honest, I love working with just anyone who is creative and passionate about their projects. There might just be too many to name (laughs).
CHRIS: I won’t ask for any names, but are there some people, once again, on either side of the camera, whom you’d never work with again?
MYA: I will def not give out names, but I do have a handful of people I don’t think I would ever want to work with again for many reasons, but the main reason would be that they are not professional in many aspects, not just one.
CHRIS: The latest addition to your filmography is entitled Beasts of the Field. What can you tell me about that one and your character in it?
MYA: Deadly Affection is currently in pre-production. I was originally just planning to help produce it as I am one of the writers of it. But time after time, the producers Carmine Caradonna and William J. Campbell III, kept pushing for me to take a part. They wanted me to play the lead, named Emma, but I just wanted to stay off screen and just work behind the camera. They convinced me to take a role, so I picked a supporting role name Janice. Recently, they have decided I take on the role of Emma. Since I wrote her the way she is, I would be best to play her, knowing exactly what I wanted to see in her.
CHRIS: You used to be on a podcast show entitled The Contagious Podcast Talk Show, but I see you haven’t done that for a while now. Has that ended for you?
MYA: My co-host and I got quite busy with our work and lives so that we couldn’t continue on. My former co-host John Ginder has taken a step off of the entertainment business to focus on his life, school, and work. I have thought of continuing when I do have time, but as you see, I have a lot going on. I will continue again one day.
CHRIS: Any plans to host or co-host another podcast show?
MYA: Well, If I have time again I will probably pick up the Contagious podcast again. I have been asked to co-host a podcast a few times, but I just cant commit at this point and time.
CHRIS: Who have been some of your other favorite photographers to work with?
MYA: Besides Ray Tarrant and Aya Kasper; Garth Mortensen, Lee Gochenour, Tavis Jewett-Hill, Patrick Smith, etc. etc., just to name some.
CHRIS: You don’t go further than implied nude and state you don’t do nudes. Despite that, do you often get offers to do nude photo shoots?
MYA: I get offers to do nude all the time and the price rises as I tell them I don’t do nude. There have been offers of just wearing a mask so no one will know it’s me. The price has risen up to about 7k.
CHRIS: You also sing and have written songs that have been included in some of your films?
MYA: I actually gave singing a chance and realized that it is def not something I have talent in (laughs). No, I haven’t used them (my songs) in my of my projects, as I feel I did not deliver the songs to their potential. I had a great time giving it a try, though. Thanks to April Sky Music.
CHRIS: Do you have any hobbies, skills, or interests that you don’t include on any of your bios?
CHRIS: With that, I’ll again say thank you for doing this, Mya. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
MYA: I would like to say thank you, Chris Charles, for giving me this chance to be part of Idol Features! I appreciate every single person in my life, especially my boyfriend Stephen Oost. He has been by my side for as long as I can remember without any complaints.
CHRIS: Oh, just one last question: Did you catch anything the day you shot Fishing with Lien Mya Nguyen?
MYA: I’m actually surprised you mentioned that (laughs). I didn’t catch anything, no. I think I caught a few mosquito bites (laughs). Chris Rennirt is a great friend who took that video. He is also CEO of Space Jockey Reviews!