A graduate of the class of 2013, Christina (Poppy) Liu was a senior during my first year at Colgate University. I was blessed with the fortune to witness her finish both of her thesis projects throughout the year, and even luckier to get to know her personally in the spring semester. Poppy continues to be an inspiring force as she explores the world beyond Colgate. Now, three years later, as a senior beginning to look at life beyond Colgate, I was able to ask Poppy a few questions so that others can hear some words of wisdom and might better know the amazing artist, actress, and human being that she is.
How were you involved in WMST/feminism at Colgate? How does it apply to your life now?
I was a Women’s Studies (WMST) major (double major with theater), directed The Vagina Monologues twice, and interned at the Center for WMST for three years. I also wrote and produced an original play, This Is Not A Play About Sex, in my last two years of my time at Colgate. WMST and feminism applies to every aspect of my life: the way I choose roles I want to perform as an actress, the way I took no bullshit from men while I was a bartender in the city, the way I practice communication with my partners, the types of communities I immerse myself in, the way I watch films, everything.
What are you up to now?
I’m rehearsing for three shows that are all geared for full production in the winter and spring of 2016 (The Gambler with Phoenix Ensemble Theatre at The Wild Project, Double Falsehood with Letter of Marque Theater Company at Irondale, and BODY with Blessed Unrest at The New Ohio Theater). I am also building the theater company I founded called The Collective Sex, the project that birthed out of This Is Not A Play About Sex.
What advice would you like to give current WMST concentrators?
Stay soft, stay loving, stay tender. This work can be challenging, and it can make us hard or bitter. It takes lots of courage to stay in your softness. Love is the strongest choice. After you have moved through anger, through pain, through judgment and injustice, right as you are about to think "Ugh, is this how it's always going to be? Why bother?" right at that moment, choose love instead.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for students at Colgate and/or seniors who are graduating soon?
My biggest piece of advice is to not give a fuck what people think about you. For real. Measure yourself by your own internal value system. Build your own internal value system. What things do you love? What do you have tons of passion for? What is stopping you from doing those things? To hell with what people expect of you or think of you. We waste so much of our energy worrying about how we appear to the outside eye.
Learn to find peace in the fact that everything changes. You won't be doing "one thing" after you graduate so don't feel a need to answer, "What are you doing when you graduate?" The answer is everything. Just start somewhere. The secret is it really doesn't matter where. What did I first do when I graduated? I made it an adamant part of my "plan" to start bartending in NYC. Period. I got a bartending job eight hours after I moved into the city. I spent all of my other free time figuring out what I loved about this city, sponging in as much as I could, and when I found threads I wanted to follow, I did.
A few more words of wisdom:
- Spend some time with yourself. You learn so much in solitude.
- Surround yourself with the type of person you want to become.
- Adopt a pay-it-forward attitude.
- Don't have a plan, have passion.
- Don't take yourself too seriously.
- Monica Hoh '16, Information Technology and Resources Intern