Chyna Chuu is an actress, screenwriter, model, martial artist, and singer. She has studied acting at San Francisco's A.C.T., Bay Area Acting Studio, and Second City. She also has a Bachelors and Masters degree from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is a karate world champion, having won over twenty first place titles in numerous tournaments, and also studies wushu at the National Wushu Training Center. Her recent credits include national commercials for Franklin Templeton and DSW, co-star credits on CBS shows "The Unit" and "Numb3rs", a lead role for the Fuji Film Eterna Vivid 500 demo film with famous DPs Phedon Papamichael, Dion Beebe, and Kramer Morgenthau, and print campaigns for Midas and American Express.
On set with Phedon Papamichael.
Flying side kick.
The youngest of four children, Chyna grew up wanting to perform. "She could sing the entire theme to a Chinese show called Chu Lui Xiang when she was fourteen months. We were so surprised, since our other children had known how to talk, but not sing when they were her age," states her mother. Chyna comments, "My relatives and family friends would request for me to sing but I wouldn't agree unless I could stand on the top of a table and sing. I think I was around two then. I can imagine how dirty the tabletops must have become since I was always walking around barefoot."
Chyna wanted to be a model and an actress when she was younger, but the arts were heavily discouraged in her academic family. So she put her mind to her studies, becoming the first in her school's history to enter in the Westinghouse Science Talent Competition. Not only did she enter, but she became one of 300 semi-finalists worldwide. Many accolades during high school included being one of six Long Island students selected for the Cold Spring Harbor Partners for the Future research program, one of fifteen students representing Nassau County for the New York Math League state competitions, display of her art at the Nassau County Museum of Art, National Organization of Women 'Women of Achievement' award, acceptance into the New York State Science Honor Society, an accomplished perfoming violinist, and an all-around player on her All-County championship varsity volleyball team.
She graduated the top math and science student in her high school class, and went on to attend MIT like her three older siblings. She majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, graduated early in 3.5 years with her Bachelor's degree, and a year later obtained her Master's degree after just turning 22. Along this time, Chyna was also pursuing singing and songwriting and opened for famous Asian singer Coco Lee for the 2002 Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA) conference, as well as singing at weddings, and various competitions.
Performing at ITASA.
She also worked at MITV, a local MIT station, and produced and hosted a show called "All Fresh", showcasing MIT talent groups like the Logarhythms and Imobilare.
Article from MIT "The Tech" campus newspaper Vol. 158 No. 22.
It wasn't until she moved out to California to work for Apple Computer that she finally decided to pursue acting. Her first job was hosting an intro and outro for the show "One Life" for World AIDS day, which led to a promotion as the main news anchor for the show. The next year and a half were a whirlwind - in parallel with taking classes at the acclaimed American Conservatory Theater and the Bay Area Acting Studio, Chyna was able to get her first lead role in an indie feature called "Doublespaced" (which went on to win Berkeley Film Festival “Grand Festival Award for Features"), modeled for three runway shows, and nailed the lead roles in two music videos. She won a contest and was selected as Miss Sing Tao October 2005, earning her first magazine cover, and was 1 of 12 finalists for the Miss Sing Tao 2005 beauty pageant title.
In this short time her resume grew to include many acting/modeling/singing credits, and Chyna decided to leave her engineering job at Apple to move to LA to chase her true dream of becoming an actress and affecting people with her work. She was a lead in the USC produced pilot "The Real Life" which went on to win the “Award of Excellence for Pilot Not Yet Broadcasted" from the Accolades Competition. She landed a voice-over role in Disney's "Hannah Montana" where she was doing a Southern accent, and also did the voices for several animated EnlivenArt productions. She was handpicked by producer Lara Ziskin to model Gong Li's actual "Curse of the Golden Flower" costume on stage during the televised 79th Annual Academy awards "Best Costume Design" segment.
Backstage at the Kodak Theater wearing Gong Li's costume from the film.
She recently obtained her 1st degree black belt in Seido Karate and would love to do a martial arts film with her idols, Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Her first screenplay is currently in development, and she is finishing her second. She is a member of MENSA and resides in Los Angeles with her chubby bunny, Meow Meow.
Copyright (c) 2010 Chyna Chuu