Lucy Liu Honored at Gold House Gala: ‘You Have Made Me Feel Proud. I Feel Like It’s Been Very Lonely’

Lucy Liu was honored with the Legend award at the third annual Gold House Gold Gala on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Liu delivered a passionate speech after accepting the award from Regina King. “What I love about Regina is that she always makes choices that are for her,” Liu told the audience. “When I started over 30 years ago, there weren’t a lot of choices that I could make for myself.”

More from Variety

Liu — whose credits include “Ally McBeal,” “Elementary,” “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” “Charlie’s Angels” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Presence” — talked about having to make casting decisions “because of limitations.” She said, “I love that we are all here tonight because there is no ceiling, and I’ve never seen that for myself. I want us to all collectively understand how special this moment is that we are together as a community. I share this award with you because you have lifted me up, you have given me strength, you have made me so proud. I feel like it’s been very lonely.”

Liu confessed she had initially turned down accepting the award, blaming childhood trauma. She said she didn’t feel deserving or that she had earned it. Speaking about her decision to accept the honor, Liu said, “I’m here because of this community.”

Padma Lakshmi designed the gala menu by chef Vijay Kumar of Semma in New York and also received Gold House’s inaugural Gold Legend Award.

“I’m so happy that Gold House exists,” Lakshmi said. “It’s such a wonderful organization that has brought us all together in solidarity.”

She continued, “Growing up, I wish I’d had something like this to look to. When I was a kid growing up here in San Gabriel Valley — I grew up in New York but I went to high school here — I always felt out on my own. I have always felt like I had to translate who I was and explain my culture to everyone…that can feel a little bit lonely. I don’t feel lonely anymore because of all of you here tonight. I’m so happy to be claimed by all of you. I feel like Gold House has given me this community, and it’s a community that I’ve always longed for.”

The gala honored the most impactful Asians on the company’s A100 list, which recognizes the 100 AAPI individuals who impacted American culture and society in the last year. Variety’s senior artisans editor Jazz Tangcay was among those honored with Jung Kook, Keanu Reeves, Hayao Miyazaki, WME’s Ginger Chan and more.

Jon M. Chu and Michelle Yeoh were on hand to present the Gold Ally award to “Wicked” star Erivo. Before Erivo stepped on stage, Chu and Yeoh treated audiences to a never-before-seen clip from the upcoming movie musical “Wicked.”

During her acceptance speech, Erivo called on the audience to join forces and collaborate more on projects. Erivo, who plays Elphaba in “Wicked,” shared her experience of connection to the audience.

“As a Black woman, [of] African heritage, the child of an immigrant, I find that there is this innate connection to my golden siblings,” she said. “Our destinies are forged in the understanding that we have to overcome and defy the odds.”

She added, “We are in search of the very best of ourselves, often at first for our parents, and then we learn to harness that power for ourselves. We have a kinship that is unspoken.”

Erivo pointed out the power of partnering. She referenced the LGBTQ+ community and its history of partnering with the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s and Malcolm X to enact change. “I love the work we put into the world but we almost always do it separately and quite frankly we’re so much more flavorful when we do it together.”

Gold House co-founder Bing Chen closed the night by updating the audience on the company’s initiative to build the Gold Bridge. Now in its second year, the metaphoric Gold Bridge is designed to bridge industry from content to commerce, bridge communities and bridge continents. Chen said, “We are building the most helpful community with the smartest capital resources. We are getting there because we are cross-pollinating creative opportunities.”

Chen closed out the night by telling the audience, “Remember, instead of begging for a seat at someone else’s table, we now have the power across the arts of business to build on talking about this.”

The inaugural Gold House x Billboard Founders Party followed. Nymphia Wind, the newly crowned queen of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” kicked off the event with a lip sync to Lady Gaga’s “You and I.” A100 honoree Steve Aoki, who flew in fresh from an event in Las Vegas, was the night’s DJ.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.