How Years of Masking Autism Led to Sue Ann Pien's Acting Pursuit

Getty / Brian Ach

“As We See It” star Sue Ann Pien’s early years as someone on the autistic spectrum had a lot of influence on her decision to pursue acting. In a recent interview with “People,” the 42-year-old actor explained that she often would “mask” or “camouflage” characteristics about herself that were not deemed “socially acceptable.”

“I was taught from a very young age to act my way through life. I had a really strong, uncanny ability to pick up languages and different accents and I would just mimic. I would watch how people walk and it was like character study,” Pien recalled. “And then I was like, I love this, I’m doing it anyway, why not do it professionally?”

The actor, ironically enough, was able to stop performing when she was cast on the Amazon Prime Video series as Violet, an autistic woman navigating adulthood and dating. “For so many aspects of Violet, I didn’t really have to act. I just had to pull from my own experiences, my history, who I am, what I went through,” Pien told “People,” adding, “It was cathartic in a lot of ways.” “As We See It” is currently streaming on Prime Video.

Pien recently spoke to POPSUGAR about working on “As We See It” alongside Jack (Rick Glassman) and Harrison (Albert Rutecki), who play her roommates who are also on the autism spectrum. “It was incredible to be surrounded by so many people who are on the spectrum,” she shared. “It was the kindest, most compassionate environment I’d ever been in because there was so much empathy and understanding towards the sensitivities that I felt very cared for.” In addition to “As We See It,” Pien has been in “Everlasting,” “Citzen Mars,” “Ballers,” and more.

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