Mother of four children, actress/writer/director/producer Asti Livingston was born on April 21st, 1976 in a fort in the Philippines. Descendant of the Indonesian royal family Kusumadiningrat and the warrior clan Tjokrodiwirio, she spent her early years in the jungles of Kalimantan, before living in Jakarta, Manila, San Diego, Richmond, London, and Toronto. Asti earned her wings while raising her children, became chair of the First Canadian Chapter of the Ninety Nines Women Pilots Organization which had Amelia Earhart as the 1st President. She is an active member and speaker for the Canadian Women in Aviation, winner of the Gold Cup Air Rally, multi-engine and float plane pilot, and the only woman in her class at the commercial flight program at the Waterloo Flight Centre in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
In film, she co-produced the short film Bevy of Brollies which won Best in Music and Best in Screening at the 48 hour Film Festival. Founder and president of Livingston Studios, Asti established a voiceover studio in Toronto that became the home of the VO in TO. Since then it has evolved into a film studio. She competed in the Provincial and Canadian National Fencing Tournaments. When not working as an actress, writing or directing a film, she is underwater teaching and leading dive teams as a divemaster and safety diver. An advocate for the ocean, sharks, and other marine life – Asti greatly enjoys writing and underwater photography and filmmaking as she travels and explores the world.
Meet the Artist: Exclusive Interview with actress Asti Livingston
NY Elite: What are your latest and current movie projects?
Asti Livingston: Well, we finished filming Morse Code and it’s currently at post-production. I hope that The Princess gets green lit, and we get to start filming a new series that I have created.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about your character in “Morse Code”?
Asti Livingston: In Morse Code I play Jules who is an agent who is stuck with two women she’s just met while trying to complete her mission. In The Princess, I will play the princess (smiles). And in the new series I get to play a dive master.
NY Elite: What was it like working with the director?
Asti Livingston: It was very good, definitely a learning experience. Jasmin Geljo co-directed it with me. He is my mentor that I have great respect for. I truly value his opinion. After working with someone for a while you end up completing each other’s sentences, so it makes it even easier in bringing our vision of the story to life. I always enjoy working with a director I can trust and have a fantastic rapport with. Jasmin has quite the sense of humour, so we have a lot of fun on set. It makes the entire experience all the more incredible.
NY Elite: In which movies have you played a lead role?
Asti Livingston: Morse Code. More lead roles with strong female characters in movies with fantastic stories will be positively amazing!
NY Elite: Among all your roles so far, which has been your favorite one and why?
Asti Livingston: My favourite role so far… I would have to say playing Jules, because I got to do an underwater scene. (laughs) I am a fish. Can’t help it. There’s some diving involved in filming this one so I loved it. I really enjoyed playing Jules because she has a lot of essence to her being. Plus, I can relate to her in many ways. Some scenes really hit home.
NY Elite: What do you enjoy most about your acting career?
Asti Livingston: Oh, definitely the food! Craft on set is just incredible!! (laughing) Hooked from day one because of it! This lovely woman brought hot soup to me as I was standing on my mark. I was wearing such lovely wardrobe but not the most practical given the freezing temperatures. It was the dead of winter for an outdoor shoot — so the hot soup was God sent! In all seriousness (smiles)… here’s my serious face… no really… I love that I get to play these amazing characters, these personalities.
There’s something freeing about it. Being in their shoes I discover an opportunity to understand things more. In a way it forces me to open my mind to other ideas, thought processes… something so incredible about it. I feel honoured whenever I get cast for a role, it means the team trusts me, they believe I am the best person capable of bringing a soul into the character. There’s so much responsibility entailed with it, and such a privilege.
NY Elite: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
Asti Livingston: Other than diving? Flying, singing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, kayaking, pottery, boating, cooking, baking, fencing, and climbing coconut trees.
NY Elite: Are you working on your next project now?
Asti Livingston: Of course! The new series I am so excited about!
NY Elite: What personal advice would you give to someone about impressing the directors during audition? How to audition?
Asti Livingston: I don’t know about impressing the directors. Never really went in for an audition with that mindset. I would say really know your material, truly understand the character, and bring a little something of you in it that gives it essence. I’ve been at both sides of the casting process and I can tell you how dry it gets seeing one person after another doing exactly the same thing. Be yourself while playing that character. Don’t fear it. Enjoy it! Relax. Do the best of your abilities, always. As soon as you have made the choice, stick to your guns! Trust your training, and let your instincts guide you. Most of all… have fun!
NY Elite: What causes/charities you actively support or feel strongly about?
Asti Livingston: Covenant House in Toronto… it’s to help provide food, shelter, clothing, support, training and education to the children and youth who are homeless. I love going to Eat to the Beat every year where you have the top 60 female chefs cook and serve these amazing dishes with all the funds raised from it go towards breast cancer research and support. I support CANFAR which raise awareness and try to generate funds to assist with HIV and AIDS research in hopes to discovering a cure.
Second Harvest helps with gathering food before it is wasted and ensure less people go hungry and have access to good, healthy, nutritious food. There’s a small orphanage in Indonesia that my mother supports that I try to help every time I am in town. And, during our dives around the world I always make it a point to collect whatever garbage I find in the ocean. Take pictures of the debris I find destroying the coral reef, and untangle the fishing lines and hooks that usually chokes the reef system and its marine creatures.
NY Elite: What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
Asti Livingston: My incredible four children that I am so proud of, my ever supportive parents, grandmother, wacky loving family scattered across the globe, my fantastic husband and partner Frank… who might I say have the patience of a saint. And of course, my dearest and closest friends that’s been through hell and high water with me all these years. Am truly grateful for my health, my loved ones health, food on our table daily, the opportunity to travel and learn, for fresh air, clean water, for God still listening to my prayers despite my quirks and imperfections, and the gift of being given a second chance at life.