There’s no denying that Lucy Liu has had an enviable Hollywood career. However, as an actor of Asian descent, she’s faced her share of systemic racism, particularly early in her career.

As she explains in a new interview for the Sydney Morning Herald, she now sees that her inexperience and naivety are what allowed her to press on against all odds.

“I think I was just too naive and didn’t know what was ahead of me or what I was going to be up against,” she admits of her early days in Hollywood.

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“I had some idea when I got to L.A., because a friend of mine would have 10 auditions in a day or a week and I would have maybe two or three in a month, so I knew it was going to be much more limited for me,” she adds.

“But then I got really lucky with a few jobs, which put me in rooms for auditions where I looked like no other woman in the room. I thought, ‘I don’t even understand why I’m here, but I’m going to give it my all,'” Liu continues.

“I think when you are somewhat the black sheep, you don’t really have anything to lose, because they are not necessarily looking for you,” she explains. “So you may as well go for it!”