150 Neighbours

Commemorating Canada's 150th Anniversary in Scarborough

Ellen Wong

Ellen Wong is on the cusp of worldwide fame. She has been chosen as one of the “Rising Stars” highlighted at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, thanks to her memorable and unique performances in films like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – which earned her a Scream Award nomination – and the Netflix series GLOW. Born and raised in Scarborough, Ellen graduated from L’Amoreaux Collegiate, and believed performing was the right path for her. Her parents were Chinese-Cambodian refugees who struggled at first with her determination to become an actress. As she told NBC News, they said, “You probably won’t make it. You probably can’t do that. We’re not from a type of family that can afford to go and do that.” A backpacking trip through Cambodia helped Ellen understand her parents’ fears – the opportunities and options she took for granted in Canada were not plentiful for Cambodian young people. She talked to her parents about their perspective, but asked them to let her take the risk of quitting her job and pursuing acting roles for one year, without comment. They agreed, and her success is now a source of great pride.

As for how cultural diversity in film and television can improve, the Ryerson University graduate says,

“Here we are, the next generation…we can take a different path. We never got to see ourselves represented on screen. We need to change that. We can change that.”

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