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Wild Ones: Olivia Sui & Grizzy

The actress, comedian, podcaster, and professional foodie on how a rescue puppy taught her how to be a doting dog mom.

by Nisha Gopalan
September 16, 2021
Olivia Sui sitting down with her dog
Courtesy of Olivia Sui

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The pandemic has changed Olivia Sui. And if you talk to the creative multihyphenate, she’ll readily admit it. That’s because — in addition to being an actress (Scream Queens), comedian (Smosh), podcaster (Fish Cheeks), and professional foodie (Liv a Lil) — as of last year, she became a dog mom. “I really didn’t know that this was the missing piece of my life and my heart, as cheesy as it sounds,” she says, earnestly, about Grizzy, a mixed breed puppy she adopted from the Labelle Foundation in LA. “I connect with Grizzy so deeply and emotionally.” We talked to Sui about the many other marvelous ways having a pup has transformed her life.

Tell me a little about Grizzy.

Grizzy is half Chihuahua and half Australian Cattle Dog. She’s almost one and a half. She is super high energy — which can be annoying sometimes — but the sweetest thing about her is that she won’t wake us up in the morning. This morning I woke up early to let her out, but she didn’t want to go out; she wanted to stay in bed.

What is the coolest thing about her personality?

She loves people. And you can just feel her happiness. She makes me want to be a better person. We always have friends over, and she’s kind of like a mini-host. She’ll check in on everybody, making sure everyone has their drinks and is happy.

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to adopt a puppy?

Training tips? Hmm. You’re making me think maybe my dog is not as well-behaved as I thought [laughs]. She knows how to give her paw and she can flip over. I guess one thing I could’ve done better is not let her eat my food. I love food and I think she deserves a yummy piece of salmon once in a while. That was not a good idea. Now she thinks that she deserves it and begs for food. I’m like my mom — my mom likes to feed me. Now, she looks at my dog and says, “She’s too skinny!” I’m like, mom, she’s a puppy, relax.”

olivia sui and her puppy grizzy
Courtesy of Olivia Sui

When did you realize you wanted to adopt?

I remember I saw a video of her and I just knew. I first requested to foster her, but when we showed up, somebody else had been given Grizzy to foster. The [shelter worker] was like, “Nope, there’s no calling dibs on dogs!” So I convinced the other foster mom who got Grizzy to switch. Three days later, we had a family discussion and were all in tears, bawling, because we didn’t want to give her up. So we said, “You know what? We’re adopting her.”

How did you know she was the one?

You just know in your heart. I never thought I would have the capacity to… Growing up in a very Chinese family, our mom did not allow dogs in the house. I didn’t even know how to behave around dogs. My boyfriend used to make fun of me because I was so weird around dogs. Then I got Grizzy. I can’t imagine my life without her now.

Based on your social posts, you love to dress her up. But does she love that?

No, she’s so not cool about it. My mom just loves Grizzy so much. She wants Grizzy to dress up in these weird plaid outfits with bows and stuff. She bought Grizzy a sweater with a poop emoji. I was like, “No, mom. She should just wear her normal fur — we don’t want her to overheat.”

As a former ballerina, you do a lot of dances on TikTok. Does Grizzy ever dance with you?

There’s a cute, funny dance video I did with Grizzy. I don’t know if it’s still on my TikTok page. But basically, I was holding her up, and I edited the bottom of the video with, like, really fast dancing feet. When I move too much, Grizzy thinks it’s time to play. We’ll be dancing — sometimes we do TikTok in my living room — and she’s racing around us because she gets too riled up.

olivia sui walking puppy
Courtesy of Olivia Sui
olivia sui snuggling with puppy grizzly
Courtesy of Olivia Sui

What are her favorite activities?

We love walking the reservoir and going to the dog park — she has so many friends there. And she loves playing with my boyfriend’s family’s dog.

You also cook a lot in your videos. Do you cook for her?

Oh my god — I should do that! Right now, we give her The Farmer’s Dog. She loves it.

You’re working on these charitable food collabs with Liv a Lil. You have your podcast. You’re doing the YouTube stuff. How does Grizzy fit into that schedule?

Luckily a lot of the things that I do, I do at home. My boyfriend is also at home sometimes; he’s an actor as well. The days we can’t take care of her, his parents watch her. Or, my office is pretty close and on lunch breaks, I’ll check up on her. The cutest thing is when we come home, she’s just sitting there waiting by the window.

How does Grizzy impact you creatively?

I totally understand what it means to be a mom and be a caretaker of an animal. Dog movies resonate so deeply with me now. And dog TikToks are so funny to me. That’s all my brain craves: dogs being cute and silly.

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Nisha Gopalan

Nisha Gopalan has been a writer/editor for The New York Times, New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and NYLON magazines. She currently resides in Los Angeles.