DESIGNING WOMEN - getTV Interview with Connie Lew
Tonight we're excited to welcome Designing Women to getTV! In celebration of the series' 30th anniversary, we're counting down our 30 favorite episodes from the first five seasons. One episode that just might make the list - "Oh, Suzannah" - features a young Connie Lew. She plays a Vietnamese orphan named Li Sing who joins the women when Suzanne (Delta Burke) becomes her foster mother. We soon see little Li Sing mirroring Suzanne's expensive taste. Be sure to watch the countdown to see where her episode might be! Connie recently sat down with us to share her memories of being on the show and stealing every scene she was in.
Thank you so much for joining us, Connie!
How young were you when you started acting? What drew you to acting?
I think I was about 8 or 9 years old when I started acting. My mom’s co-worker knew a Chinese manager who was looking for new clients to represent, especially Asian children since there were not many in the industry at that time. Since I liked to sing and dance, my mom thought it might be fun, and it certainly was.
How did the opportunity to be on Designing Women come about? Were you already familiar with the show?
I recall there was an audition. I wasn’t too familiar with the show before auditioning since it was a show for adults, and my parents did not watch much television at the time. I do remember being very impressed with the producers and everyone else I met with in being cast for the role.
You had incredible chemistry with Delta Burke. What was it like collaborating with her? Did you rehearse with just her before you rehearsed with the group?
Delta was wonderful as was the rest of the cast and crew. It truly was an amazing experience rehearsing with everyone. One funny story - during rehearsal, Delta hit her head on a desk even though she was standing during the scene. No one could figure out how that happened since the desk was so low! We all laughed about it, but only after we made sure she was okay.
How many days did you work?
I think I was on set for one week. Most of the time was spent rehearsing, and I recall the last day was filming before a live studio audience.
What are some of your favorite memories of working on Designing Women?
It has to be getting to know and spending time with all the people on the set. Everyone was incredibly nice and extremely talented. Meshach [Taylor, who played Anthony] gave me a Valentine's Day card because I think we had rehearsal that day. I was so moved.
Do you remember anything about your experience with those costumes?
I recall that the tiara that was used on the set was Delta's real tiara, and I was really nervous about not breaking it when I was wearing it!
What about any challenges for you? You were so young when you were on the show.
There's a scene where I needed to speak with a Southern accent to emulate a school friend, which I had never done before. That took some time rehearsing and, to this day, I can speak in a better Southern accent than I can with a Chinese accent.
That's so funny! In contrast to your experience working on Kids Incorporated, Designing Women was more a show for adults. How was the experience different for you as a child actor, if at all?
I did not really have any sad scenes when I was on Kids Incorporated whereas there were a few sad scenes on Designing Women, particularly at the end when I had to leave Suzanne. This role definitely challenged me, and I was really lucky to have such an amazing director and cast to serve as role models.
You're an attorney now! How did you transition from acting to law?
In litigation, it helps to connect with people and convince them of your position. It’s very similar to acting in that regard, so it seemed like a natural fit to go into litigation. Plus, I liked the stability of knowing I would have a regular paycheck [smiles].
People would love to know what you’re doing these days. Anything you’d like to share?
I’ve been married for almost 10 years to my husband, who I met in law school (he’s also a practicing lawyer like me). We have two amazing kids, and my daughter looks just like me when I was young! I would love if she or my son could have an experience like I had on Designing Women.
We so appreciate you taking the time to talk with us, Connie, and sharing your experiences on Designing Women. Thank you!
Thank you for allowing me to venture down memory lane. It was one of the best acting experiences I’ve had. Being on this show was one of my all-time favorite childhood experiences!