Havana Rose Liu Was Hand-Picked for the Spotlight

All clothing and accessories by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.

Havana Rose Liu’s story echoes those of Old Hollywood, when stars were chosen merely for the way they existed, their radiance catching the eye of the right person in the right place at the right time. Today, the 25-year-old says that she was “dragged” into the spotlight. After years of rejecting overtures from photographers on the streets of her native New York out of fear of being trapped in a stranger’s basement, she finally gave in and started modeling. “I was street cast by the same casting director probably three or four times. Finally the last time, I was like, ‘Okay, I will see what comes of this.’” What came was a slew of commercials, short films, and eventually, features. “My inspiration for performance comes from life more than anything else,” the New York University graduate muses. “I was all over the map before. Somehow, acting is the intersection of the things I am interested in.”


After a number of supporting roles in projects including Netflix’s The Chair, Mayday, and The Sky Is Everywhere, Liu starred in her first feature film last year, the 20th Century Studios thriller No Exit, as Darby Thorne, a recovering drug addict who stumbles upon a kidnapping at a rest stop during a blizzard. Liu learned she had been chosen for the role while she had Covid, and immediately felt skeptical. Really? was her first reaction. This year, the actor will appear in the highly anticipated queer comedy Bottoms directed by Emma Seligman that also stars Rachel Sennott and The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri. “It’s everything I crave out of a rich, punchy comedy,” says Liu, who herself identifies as queer. “I didn’t even know how much I craved that until I read the script.”


Makeup by Sara Tagaloa
Hair by Tiago Goya
Nails by Blue Arios
Photography Assistance by Maya Guice
Fashion Assistance by Tallula Bell Madden, Molly Novack, and Tom Grimsdell
Makeup Assistance by Hannah Jaclyn
Hair Assistance by Sadaf Azimi