In one photo, Liu stands at the center of a group of “professionals” wearing an engineer’s hard hat.
“I did one stock photo shoot for 100 bucks cash in 2014 … and I have ended up on HUNDREDS of ads and storefronts and pamphlets and textbook covers,” the 30-year-old actor wrote.
Born in Harbin, China, Liu immigrated to Canada at the age of 5. He was raised in Erin Mills, an area of Mississauga, Ontario, and attended high school at the University of Toronto Schools.
Liu then attended the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School, where he received an honours business administration (HBA) degree. After graduating, he worked as an accountant at Deloitte but was laid off in 2012 at the age of 23, according to The Canadian Press.
Liu took the time to reevaluate his options before deciding to pursue a career in acting. His pivotal point arrived in the form of an online call from a Craigslist listing for extras on the set of Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim”.
It was the first time I had ever set foot on a set. I’d show up at 4 in the morning, getting paid $11 an hour, significantly less than I was as an accountant,” Liu told The Globe and Mail in 2017, describing the experience as a “totally different world.”
“But I fell in love with the whole thing. The set was so big and intricate. I was surrounded by not just working actors, but also everybody from the grips to the gaffers to the ADs [assistant directors]. It felt to me like everybody was so passionate about what they were doing, so focused.”
“Pacific Rim” came out in 2013. That experience led to more opportunities — including the stock photo shoot.
Liu is upset about the shoot from a business perspective.
“Moral of the story: Think twice before doing a stock photo shoot because they own the photos FOREVER,” he wrote on Instagram.
Liu currently stars as CBC’s “Kim Convenience”. The show, now in its fourth season, premiered in October 2016.