Simu Liu of the blockbuster film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings just celebrated an earth-shattering event in his life last April 12—the day he got laid off from accounting firm Deloitte a decade ago.
"Ten years ago to the day, I was lead into my managing partner’s office at Deloitte and told that they were terminating my employment effective immediately," Liu began in a lengthy essay posted on his social media accounts, with a screenshot of his 2015 tweet about the incident.
Liu recalled details of the harrowing incident, in which a lady from their human resources department and a security guard escorted him "back onto the floor in front of the entire open concept office."
"It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop," the 32-year-old actor said. "Nobody moved, offered a whisper of encouragement or even looked in my direction. I fought back tears of humiliation, grabbed my things, and never looked back."
Liu said he thought his life "was over" after getting fired, as it meant wasting "countless time and money" that his family had invested in him.
"Years of schooling, gifted programs, trying to live up to my parents’ expectations. It all came crashing down in an instant," the Chinese-Canadian actor said.
Years after getting fired from his accounting job, he said he tried figuring out how to break into the acting industry, four of which he described as "running around like a headless chicken," while struggling with credit card debt and taking any job he could.
Liu served as extra and stuntman in several movies and music videos, as well as minor roles in television series. He also had more prominent roles in 2015 crime drama series Blood and Water and 2016 sitcom Kim's Convenience. The former was nominated—and won—several awards, including "Best Comedy Series" at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards and "Most Popular Foreign Drama" at the 2019 Seoul International Drama Awards.
He also used to be a stock photo model on the side.
"Another three years were spent trying to break into Hollywood, sinking my precious life savings into something many would call a pipe dream," Liu noted.
It was in 2019 when he got his big break. Disney announced at the San Diego Comic-Con that Liu will portray the titular superhero Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's 2021 movie. It grossed over $432 million (P22.5 billion) worldwide, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of that year. It also set several box office records and received positive reviews from critics.
"It’s really only been these past three years that anything I’ve done has begun to bear any fruit," Liu said, noting that while luck has played a "substantial role" in his successes, he'd still find purpose and meaning in the pursuit of success on his "own terms" and not his parents' definition.
He ended his post by thanking his former employer at Deloitte Toronto.
"To Paul Gibbon and the offices of Deloitte Toronto; sincerely, honestly, THANK YOU. You did for me what I never had the courage to do myself; you destroyed a life that I was building for someone else, so that I could finally begin to build a life for me."
Liu's fans and peers have expressed their support in the comments of his social media posts.
Here are some of them:
You're not disrespecting anyone by living the life you want to live— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) April 12, 2022