From Dance Class to Disney

A look into Lisa Pan’s (‘26) life as an actor…and Bishop’s middle schooler


Lisa Pan ('26)

Lisa Pan (‘26) was cast in the Disney show Just Roll with It while auditioning for another show with the same casting director. “It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes casting directors will like you and they’ll save you.”

Lisa Pan (‘26) is beginning to make a name for herself on the screen, having been featured in commercials and the Disney show, Just Roll with It. This eighth grader is certainly not like any other middle schooler you will ever meet. She is very well-spoken, outgoing, and has already accomplished a lot more than some high schoolers. 

Lisa didn’t start performing because of the talkative personality she has now; she actually started out because she did not talk at all. She recalled, “My mum thought that was a problem because she wanted me to have some sort of active social life, so she signed me up for a dance class.” From there, after a recommendation from her dance teacher, she went into musical theatre and then singing. 

Later, she was told she should get an agent. Lisa laughed as she remembered that the first time she talked to her agent, the agent said, “She can’t act.” Her agent did not believe she could act since she was supposed to act out a scene in which her character had to cry. “I can’t cry. To this day I still can’t fake cry,” Lisa smiled with a glint in her eyes.  

She does have a talent for voices, however, and has already done some work with voiceovers. Her toddler impression is more than accurate. If you closed your eyes, you would genuinely believe that a three-year-old was talking to you. While talking about acting, she explained, “You have to make a lot of voices, like ‘I can do a lot of baby voices, and it’s really, it’s like I’m a toddler, but I’m not,’, She grinned at the shocked reaction she caused. “I spoke in my toddler voice a lot when I was little…I can still switch into it sometimes, when I just feel really small.” 

You might be surprised to hear that she was actually never too serious about acting. Lisa was not the kid who said that she wanted to be an actor, or even famous, when she grew up. In fact, she aspired to be something that most children don’t even think about as a career path. “I said I wanted to be a doctor, because they help people… but then I decided I wanted to be a dermatologist when I grew up.” 

For the moment, however, she is committing quite a lot of her time to performing. Lisa is currently working on another show that she cannot disclose. However, she was able to describe the audition process. “I didn’t want to do the audition because it was only two lines in the audition, but my mom told me to just do it, try it, and it was like, ‘You’re casted.’” On having this opportunity and being able to get auditions, she expressed, “I just feel really lucky, honestly.” 

Lisa didn’t start having a lot of auditions until the middle of quarantine. She recorded a tape, just for fun, but it showed her agent that she could do comedy. She said that following this, her agent “wanted to sign [her] up for Nickelodeon and Disney,” and Disney sprouted other things.

On her development as an actor, she articulated that her improvement came not from acting, but from writing books over the summer. “You can dive into a character’s emotions, you create the character, you live in the character, you know what the character’s feeling.” 

You could watch Lisa talk about writing in a silent film and see the passion she has for creating stories. She truly loves writing, and she also loves reading, especially the fiction series Percy Jackson. “Rick Riordan does a really good job of developing characters and being very inclusive,” she said. “I thought that was really cool, and I fell in love with his series.” After reading this series, she described her guilty pleasure with a laugh, “I wrote a lot of fanfiction.” 

She’s progressed a long way since her fanfiction stories, creating an account on the online reading platform Wattpad which has been gaining a following. Although she used a humble tone, you could see her pride as she said, “I’m nearing 400 [followers], which makes me really happy because I didn’t think anyone would read my books when I was younger. Then I posted it online, and I realized people actually read and I actually might have a chance.” 

She even writes when she doesn’t have a notebook or computer in front of her. If Lisa is bored, you will most likely see her typing away as if there is a laptop in front of her. She shared, “When I’m bored, I type random things I’m thinking on a table. People always wonder what I’m doing, and I tell them I’m silent typing.”

Lisa has also started writing a book. “It’s not that long yet,” she explained. The key word in this sentence is “yet,” as Lisa Pan has a lot to say, many stories to tell, and a lot of passion and creativity to express it.