Poppy Liu is a bilingual, first generation Chinese American actress born in Xi’An, China and raised between Minnesota and Shanghai.
Poppy began performing at age 4. Her early performance background began with traditional Chinese dance which she performed for 10 years from childhood through early adolescence. At age 14 Poppy moved to Shanghai with her family where she began studying theater and, after training at RADA several years later, developed a love for classical text. Upon moving to New York Poppy made her theater debut as a member of the original cast of the 5 years and running Drunk Shakespeare appearing most frequently as Lady M. Around the same time Poppy became active in New York’s downtown theater and puppetry scenes and founded what would later become a community-centered production company with the mission of centering and uplifting the stories of queer, femme, and migrant communities.
Poppy’s entry into film began with a number of collaborations with Chinese American and women indie filmmakers. In 2016 Poppy produced her first narrative short film Names of Women (2017) which she toured around the country speaking at numerous college campuses and conferences. In 2017 Poppy and her collaborators began producing Mercy Mistress (2018), a viral web series based on the memoirs of a Chinese American professional dominatrix in which Poppy stars as the title character Mistress Yin. The following year Margaret Cho and her team joined ‘Mercy Mistress’ as executive producers.
In the fall of 2018 Poppy made her network television debut on NBC’s New Amsterdam (2018) guest starring as Amy Chiang, a first generation Chinese American girl struggling with depression, followed by guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Better Call Saul (2015) shortly after. In 2019 Poppy appeared as a series regular on NBC’s Sunnyside (2019), starring Kal Penn and executive produced by Michael Schur, and was recognized as one of ‘Fall TV Breakout Stars’ by TVLine for her portrayal of Mei Lin alongside her costar Joel Kim Booster.
In addition to acting and producing, Poppy is a full spectrum doula and serves on the Board of Directors for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
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