When her first monologue, performed at children's theatre company Act 3's graduate showcase when she was seven, was met with applause, Elizabeth Lazan recalls thinking: "It is so fun to pretend to be someone else."
Since then, she has been hooked on acting. Now, the home-grown actress-producer has landed a new role: She is part of the team representing Singapore at the inaugural ASEAN International Film Festival, a three-day event being held in Sarawak till tomorrow.
The team comprises 10 actors, directors and personalities from Singapore artist management company Fly Entertainment. It includes actors Amy Cheng and Jimmy T, as well as TV personality and fashion show producer Daniel Boey.
The film festival aims to showcase regional work and brings together industry players from all 10 ASEAN countries. Members of the Hollywood and Bollywood film industries, such as producers Gary Levinsohn of Saving Private Ryan and Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Studios, will also attend.
Lazan, 30, will present the award for Best Supporting Actor, take part in an actors' panel and moderate a directors' panel.
"There is great talent and lots of great locations in South-east Asia," she says of the fast-growing film industry in the region. "Why not shoot films here?" Born to an Italian Australian mother and a Chinese Singaporean father, Lazan grew up in Singapore and studied in Australia. She has a degree in media and film studies from Monash University.
The youngest of three daughters, she was known by her real name, Elizabeth Tan, when she worked in the TV and film industry here.
Viewers may remember her for her supporting role in the 2009 Mandarin romantic comedy flick starring Joseph Chang and Ann Kok, The Chef, which travelled to the Shanghai Film Festival. She also hosted the lifestyle show, Chakia & Sneakers, on Channel 5.
In 2010, she left for New York City's William Esper Studio to study acting for two years after she won a National Arts Council grant.
She had to come up with a stage name as there was another actress called Elizabeth Tan and the rules are such that no two actors in New York's acting union can have the same name.
The name Lazan was derived from combining her mother's surname, Lazzari, with Tan.
She returned to Singapore late last year and is now filming a Channel 8 drama series, I'm In Charge, in which she plays Rebecca, a scheming KTV bar owner.
The drama, which stars Chua Enlai, Elvin Ng and Sheila Sim, will air in May.
Lazan also hosts a lifestyle show called Lunchtime Primetime on Toggle Eve, a new online platform that includes free-to-air content.
She is engaged to Mr Ivan Mora, an American glass maker and freelance jewellery designer, and now splits her time between Singapore and New York City, where he lives.
She is also looking forward to championing Singaporean fashion talent at the film festival in Sarawak.
The six female members of the Singapore contingent, including herself, will wear outfits from home-grown designers at the closing gala dinner tomorrow. The identity of the designers will be kept under wraps until then.
Lazan describes her own style as "edgy but feminine" and says she has a soft spot for vintage clothing because of the romantic and eclectic elements.
Before moving to New York City, she co-owned an online vintage store called 60 Nicholson - named after her address during her university days - which specialised in vintage dresses.
"I would love to revive it in some way," she says. "Another project to consider for this year."
7 Things in her bag
1 iPHONE LENS
I bought this fish-eye macro lens from the brand Ollo in New York to attach to my iPhone. I love taking pictures. I use it to record travel videologues too.
2 BODY LOTION
My eldest sister gave me this body butter from British beauty brand Soap & Glory. It's great for dry skin and I love the rosehip and cocoa scent.
This silver necklace with pave crystals was designed by my fiance, who is a freelance jewellery designer in New York. It's my good luck charm for auditions.
I spent a month in Venice last year when my fiance was doing a glass-making residency there. Despite the language barrier, I became friends with his glass master, Vittorio, who gave me this postcard. It makes me think of him and his lace-maker wife and reminds me to live a simple life.
I picked up this book, Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, during my last trip to Australia. It has elements of horror and mystery. I have a penchant for dark humour.
This is a journal I picked up in Florence. The vintage-style design and ties make me feel like I'm in an old movie, and inspire me to keep exploring the unknown.
7 ESSENTIAL OIL
I like to dab essential oils, such as this woody one distilled from the Palo Santo tree, on my temples and behind my ears. It improves my immunity and the scent is relaxing. It's from an American essential oil brand called Young Living.
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