Exotic, worldly, and an undeniable talent on the rise, Dianne Doan is quickly making a name for herself in the entertainment industry through the complex characters she brings to life on camera. As one of the most up and coming actors in 2015, Dianne can first be seen with a starring role in the Disney Channel Original Movie “Descendants,” slated to premiere on July 31, 2015.
Directed by the legendary Kenny Ortega, “Descendants” is set in a present day, idyllic kingdom and follows the children of some of Disney’s classic villains. When the trouble making offspring [children of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, The Evil Queen, and Jafar] are offered a chance at redemption and allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the offspring of iconic Disney heroes, pandemonium ensues. Dianne stars as strong and confident “Lonnie,” the daughter of heroine Mulan and who unlike her other classmates is open to having the four wicked descendants attend their school.
Next, Dianne can be seen as one of the newest series regulars on season four of the critically acclaimed, History Channel series “Vikings.” The series is inspired by the tales of the raiding, trading, and exploring Norsemen of early medieval Scandinavia. It follows the exploits of the legendary Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok [Travis Fimmel] and his crew and family. Dianne enters the series as the mysterious “Yidu,” who arrives on the boats from Paris where she was traded as a slave and brought back to Kattegat. She immediately intrigues Ragnar, who must know more about her past. “Vikings” will return with brand new episodes in early 2016.
Born and raised in Abbotsford, British Columbia [outside of Vancouver] Dianne got her start in acting in grade nine when she started taking drama classes as an elective. She loved the exploration and freedom acting gave her, and she never looked back. Additional credits on the television front include: ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” TV Land’s “Impastor,” and Cartoon Network’s “Tower Prep.” On the film front, credits include the short film WHEN I SAW YOU, and indie film LAST NIGHT IN SUBURBIA [currently in post-production]. Dianne got her start in the entertainment industry as a professional contemporary dancer, and in 2010 she competed on “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” on CTV.
While working in film and television are two of her greatest passions, Dianne also loves to travel the world, and spend time hiking and in nature. She is also a self-described foodie, and loves to try new restaurants. She currently splits her time between Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Ireland, where she films “Vikings.”
Tell us about your starring role as Lonnie in “Descendants”?
Lonnie is the daughter of Mulan, she’s kind of quirky, lovable and confident. She doesn’t quite have her place amongst the high school hierarchy but she’s totally fine marching to the beat of her own drum until she finds the right people who allow her to shine through. Those people end up being the villain kids.
How did you got the role?
I actually auditioned to be a dancer in the movie first, just because there wasn’t an acting role available for me. The weekend after, I got the call to audition for the role of Lonnie, so I went in and read for Kenny and Wendy, an executive producer. And the rest is history!
Are castings scary or make you nervous?
I used to get so nervous. I’d prepare one thing and as soon as I got into the room in front of the camera I’d freeze up. I’ve gotten better over time. But waiting in the casting room never gets old. It’s just so awkward to sit in a room where everyone somewhat resembles everyone else.
Tell us about “Vikings”?
The show is gearing up for it’s fourth season and we are in the middle of shooting it in Ireland. Myself and a couple very talented actors are coming in as series regulars, so there’s going to be a lot of new plots and interesting story lines and some new faces in Kattegat! I can’t share too much about my role unfortunately but I am introduced as a slave coming in from Paris. And then traded in Kattegat. The interesting and most fun part about my role is that, the Vikings haven’t ever met anyone like me. From where I come from and the views and traditions that I follow. So they are very curious about my way of life. It was fun that I was able to create this character from scratch essentially, because I had no references to take from.
Any other exciting news you want to share with us?
It’s gearing up to be a busy next couple of weeks, with shooting and the premiere of Disney Descendants coming out on the 31st of July.
What part of your job do you find the most challenging?
Being away from friends and family for long periods of time is hard. When I first start a job, the first month or so is the easiest, I settle into a routine of the new environment. But after that, it gets a little lonely and when I’m tired from long stints of filming, I really start missing people. Luckily with Vikings, the cast all get along so well, so we all hangout when we have down time.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
My parents. Such a typical answer. But they have worked so hard for everything that we have and I’m so grateful and appreciative for what they’ve done for my sisters and I. Not just that but they support me in everything that I do, it’s been a struggle to get them on board and to understand that acting is what I want to do with my life.
Being raised in a very strict Asian household, my parents didn’t support me wanting to be an artist at first. But they have always been the two that I call for advice or comfort. There’s not much I could do without them.
How do balance your personal life with your acting life?
I’m a very one track minded person so work always takes over my life. But I’m learning to balance both sides. It’s a struggle because I let my work consume my life and then burn out after a couple months. But being so far away from my loved ones, I’ve learned to carve out time to talk to them, appreciate the time off that I have and to take care of myself.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
The free food and pampering you get on set! Haha just kidding, being on set and watching other actors and directors work. I like being a fly on the wall, observing and learning. And honestly, it’s not the hardest but early call times into late nights on set can get exhausting after a few weeks. You have to learn to prioritize sleep and taking care if yourself. You end up losing sight of a normal day to day.
How do you spend your spare time?
When I’m shooting and I have a day off, it usually consists of sleeping and getting chores done. I try to get back to a routine that I know. I do try and spend as much time outdoors when I’m home. Vancouver is so beautiful that way, hikes, beaches, anything to get myself out of the house.
3 things you can’t live without?
My passport, so I can run away when I get the chance.
Music. Changes any mood and is very calming for me.
Best advice ever given?
If you want something bad enough, you better be prepared to work for it. And don’t expect anything to be given to you. Dark chocolate.
What are guilty pleasures food wise?
Sushi (I’m from vancouver!)
My mom’s home cooked Vietnamese food, anything she makes is genius.
The list can go on forever
Where do see yourself in five years?
Hopefully still working, growing as an artist.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think the power of social media is amazing. The amount of people you can reach is endless, plus there’s a sense of community and support.
It does make me a little nervous, sharing too much online, since I do cherish my privacy but at the same time I love being able to let my followers in on my life on set. It’s fun to share what goes on behind the scenes. When it comes to my family and personal life though, I’m more cautious.
Where we can follow you?
I love hip hop and RnB. People are usually shocked when I say that.
Artist wise, on set, I love listening to James Vincent McMorrow. There’s something so soothing and calming about his voice. And his lyrics are often times heartbreaking. He’s a beautiful artist.
Quote: Go confidently in the direction of your life
Travel Destination: Bali has been on my list of places to visit.
Drink: Soy latte
Song: Sober – Childish Gambino
Sports Team: FC Bayern Munich
Black shirt: Richie Lybaton
Gray shirt: Dominic Chan