Dianne Doan – From Mulan To Vikings, Has Become Hollywood’s Hottest Rising Star
It’s hard to make the leap from being a small town girl with big dreams to being a boss ass bitch on top of the world, but these days the future has never looked brighter for Dianne Doan. After landing a job with Disney playing the daughter of legendary badass Mulan, the 24-year-old starlet was tapped to move on to bigger and sexier things with a role on the historical drama “Vikings”.
We talked to Dianne about ambition, what it’s like to work for Disney as a twenty-something, and the wonderful weirdness of having your own doll.
What was the first thing you can remember wanting to be when you were a child? Like, have you ever not wanted to be in entertainment?
I’ve always wanted to be a sailor scout or a spice girl. But in all seriousness, I had a fascination with being a lawyer– Something about putting away the bad guys!
I know you were a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, so I have to ask, what came first, your love of dancing, or your love of acting?
My mom enrolled me in ballet class when I was 10, and I had no idea that world existed! I fell in love immediately and other styles of dance soon followed. I also got the opportunity to dance professionally as a contemporary dancer in Vancouver when I moved out there for a couple years, before putting all my attention into acting.
How did you go from being a contestant on a reality show to a working actress?
I moved to Vancouver to pursue acting and while there, I found the amazing dance scene that Vancouver has to offer. “So You Think You Can Dance” was a great opportunity, but very early in to the process, I realized that reality TV wasn’t for me. I never felt comfortable in front of those cameras– It felt like they were trying to dig up some sort of story, and the artistry of the dance was gone. As for acting, its always been a dream of mine to pursue an acting career. Acting itself scares the hell out of me, pushing boundaries and comfort levels, which is also what drew me to it. I find it very rewarding.
In the Disney Channel’s “Descendants” you play the daughter of Mulan, what’s it like to play the offspring of such an iconic character?
Let me first start by saying that Mulan is my favourite Disney character, so playing her daughter was unreal. I wanted to make sure that a lot of Mulan’s characteristics were instilled in Lonnie. Mulan represents such a strong female role model in my eyes. I made sure that Lonnie was confident, fun and marched to the beat of her own drum; not letting the pressures of school cliques define who she is.
Is it weird for you that your character has her own doll, or have you already bought your parents like five of them?
HAHAHAHA!!! It’s surreal. Honestly the weirdest feeling to know that kids are going to go out and buy a doll that’s modelled after my character. I joked at first that I was going to go out and buy a whole bunch of them and sign them…… Christmas presents! *jokes*
Did you feel any trepidation about working for the Disney Channel as a twenty-something?
It never really crossed my mind to be an issue. If I wanted my career to go in that direction, then I think I might have had to accept that it would have been short lived. But this movie in particular was something magical. I learned so much during the whole filming process. As far as age goes, as soon as we stepped onto that set and met the cast, we were a little family. And I happily took on the role as “Big Sister”.
What’s it like to go from shooting a movie for the Disney channel to shooting a series on the History channel?
Night and day. Obviously the subject matter is on a different level compared to Disney. There have been darker scenes that I’ve had to do that have pushed my boundaries as an actor, and that’s all I could really ask for: to be pushed and to grow in my work.
I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. Not to mention, I got to move to Ireland and immerse myself in this beautiful world that they’ve created over the passed three years. The whole cast and crew are so unbelievably dedicated and talented. I can’t wait for season four to come out.
What’s it like filming in Ireland? Do you ever get to go out, or are you mostly just cooped up on set walking around in fur and loincloths?
Ireland is such a beautiful country; it really is it’s own character within the show. I’ve had some long days on set but luckily I’ve also had some down town in between days to explore. Not to mention, the cast members are also great tour guides, always making sure we have a good time.
Is there anything that we should all know about vikings that we just don’t?
Before I watched the show, I had the perception that Vikings were all about violence, conquering lands and more violence. The show does a great job of showcasing the importance of family and loyalty. Vikings are portrayed as people who are looking to make a name for themselves, to earn respect and to leave a legacy. There’s a great deal of vulnerability underneath all those battle scenes. 😛
Now, I know you’re going to school for marketing, and yet you also have this very active acting career, what’s that all about?
Academia has always been important to me, and furthering my education after high school was something that I wanted to do for myself. Of course it’s taken me a lot longer to finish my degree due to work. So now it’s just a question of when my schedule will open up to allow me to go back and finish my schooling. Luckily, I’ve somehow been able to really focus on school full-time for the last couple of years but as of lately, work has been my main priority.
Where does your drive come from? Like, how do you keep up with doing so many things? Don’t you ever get tired?
Haha, yeah it’s exhausting. But I’d rather be busy going after what I want than sitting around. I got my work ethic from my parents at a very early age; they raised my sisters and I to go after what you want and work hard until you get it. Nothing is too far out of reach, it may take time but persistence will lead to outcome. That is something I aim to live by. Plus when I find that I’m burned out after a few months of work and school, I’ll run away for a few days to recharge. That’s always my excuse to get down to LA and visit friends.
Now last but not least, I hate to do this, but it’s time to touch on a very serious subject, if you could hook up with any celebrity, who would it be?
Hmmm Ryan Gosling. I’d feed him spoonful’s of cereal! (hope you get that reference)