Mabel Li Sucks: “I Love Making Elaborate Snack Plates”

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Amid the increasing pressure to self-optimise and make our lives aesthetic, it was only fair to restore some balance to the universe by prodding our favourite artists to reassure us that they’re actually human beings who in many ways, still suck. 

Thankfully, actor Mabel Li has taken to the task with chutzpah as she’s regaled us with several ways in which she is less than perfect, from the fact that she used to hold it in when she had to pee (for God’s sake Mabel! Go pee!) to living by the motto YOLO in Grade 6. We live and we learn.

What doesn’t suck, though, is that Mabel is a star on the rise — after delivering an incredible performance as Zhang Lei in New Gold Mountain, the NIDA graduate stars alongside Aisha Dee in the brand new Australian thriller series Safe Home, which premiered on SBS last week.

But let’s not get bogged down in all of that accomplishment, shall we? Here’s how Mabel Li sucks.

Junkee: A mistake that turned into an opportunity?

Mabel: Wearing a giant baseball hat on an angle in primary school. I think it made me more approachable, though?

Cringe quote you used to live by?

YOLO in Year 6. 

Worst advice you got and blindly followed?

That you should hold it in when you need to pee — learnt a grave lesson from that when I was five. 

The worst failure you’re up for sharing, and what you learned from it? 

Again, that you shouldn’t just bear it and grin when you need to pee, just go

Anything you used to be wrong about?


Embarrassing internet habit? 

I don’t know if I’m embarrassed about this at all, but I love watching videos and documentaries about monkeys and apes. Recently, the crested black macaque has caught my eye!

Ideal morning routine versus actual morning routine? 

Ideal: Wake up dewy, moisturised, glistening, fox trot out of bed, have breakfast served, tousle your dogs’ hair, smile.

Actual: Open my eyes, dry, brush the eye poo off, remember you need to do some emails.

Something very off-brand for you?

I have flossed my teeth with my hair before. I’m so sorry if you’re reading this. 

What do you waste money on?

Cute stickers. 

Worst procrastination habit?

I love making elaborate savoury and sweet snack plates for myself when I’m putting off doing something important.

Mabel Li stars in new thriller series Safe Home, premiering on SBS and SBS On Demand from Thursday 11 May at 8:30pm.