Gemma Chan has already turned into a household name after the actress starred in the hit movies Crazy Rich Asians and Captain Marvel.
However, for this 36-year-old London-born movie star, fame came to her after lots of sacrifices. In her various media interviews, Chan shared about facing a new role in Hollywood, dealing with nervousness, and giving up law to pursue her acting career. According to Chan, people don’t believe that she is naturally quite shy. She worked hard to mask her being shy. She did this so that she would not appear anxious or nervous.
Despite her newfound success, Chan admitted that she is not yet used to walking on red carpets. She even worried about making speeches, saying that she doesn’t want to be at the center of attention wherever she goes.
Chan took up law at Worcester College, University of Oxford. Instead of accepting a job at Slaughter and May’s law firm after graduation, Chan pursued her acting career.
Chan found difficulty in breaking the news to her parents that she is not pursuing her law profession. Her parents, who were both immigrants, looked up to her education to improve her life in the future.
Chan said she was initially attracted to law after watching films that showed courtroom dramas and barristers giving excellent speeches.
When she left drama school and accepted roles in British television, Chan initially saw the dim opportunities for artists of color.
However, in her own words, she wanted to give herself a try. “But I really wanted to try and make it work in the UK. I wanted to give that a chance,” said Chan, amid her drama school teacher bluntly telling her that she would have more chance in acting career if she would go to the United States.
As luck and fame have now favored Chan, this elegant and sassy actress said she is starting to get used to it.
From her initial acting career in British television shows to playing different roles in movies like Mary Queen of Scots, Captain Marvel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the blockbuster movie Crazy Rich Asians, Chan has slowly claimed her place in Hollywood stardom. She was invited to become part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The smashing success of Crazy Rich Asians also paved the way for Chan to meet her favorite celebrities, like singing star Celine Dion. “It was me and her and her dancers, just dancing on this bus. It was the best half an hour of my life. I can’t believe it happened. Nothing will top that. I pole-danced on a bus with Celine Dion,” Chan told The Guardian.
For quite some time, Chan was a talk in tabloids during her past relationship with comedian Jack Whitehall. As their affair ended in 2017, Chan said she preferred not to talk about it anymore.
10 interesting facts about actress Gemma Chan
Before making it big in the Singaporean romantic-comedy film Crazy Rich Asians, Chan played various supporting roles. Here are the 10 exciting facts about Chan:
1. Gemma Chan was born in London and grew up near Sevenoaks in Kent.
Although she is not growing up in a crazy wealthy household, Chan’s British accent is authentic. She was born in London on November 29, 1982. Her father, an engineering graduate, immigrated from Hong Kong to UK. Her mother, who is a pharmacist by profession, also immigrated from China.
2. Gemma Chan was a certified fashionista and model.
In 2006, Chan became one of 12 models who vied for a spot in Elle fashion magazine on reality TV show Project Catwalk. However, she did not manage to make it to the next level in Episode 5.
3. Gemma Chan is a huge Michelle Yeoh fan.
Chan never failed to announce her immense admiration and respect for her fellow Asian actress Michelle Yeoh in her social media accounts. Chan said that she admired the actress Yeo, who started to carve her name in the cinema during the early 1990s.
Chan found it hard to believe that she finally worked together with Yeo in Crazy Rich Asians. “I’m still pinching myself that we are in a film together,” Chan wrote online. ️
4. Gemma Chan appeared in different fantasy, action thriller, and science-fiction films before her fame in Crazy Rich Asians.
From 2014 to 2017, Chan landed in supporting roles in movies like Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Stratton, and Transformers: The Last Knight.
5. Gemma Chan’s movie character had a strong connection with Shum Jr.
Chan’s character as Astrid Leong and former Glee star Harry Shum Jr. reportedly made an evident connection in the movie Crazy Rich Asians when the latter made a small cameo at the last part of the movie.
6. Gemma Chan played an alien role in the film Captain Marvel.
Chan is as Minn-Erva or Doctor Minerva, being her Marvel comic book character. As the movie also had its first female leading character, played by Brie Larson, Chan said it was an exciting experience. Chan, as Doctor Minerva, played the role of an alien Kree race member and geneticist.
7. Gemma Chan finished her schooling at Drama Centre in London in 2008.
Chan was consistent in her dream to succeed in her acting career. Her studies at the Drama Centre in London were sufficient proof of her talent and tenacity. Her learning and experience at the Drama Centre helped propel her movie career.
8. Gemma Chan is a trained pianist and violinist.
Aside from being a talented actress, Chan is also an outstanding musical artist. She had a diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
9. Gemma Chan worked as a model to pay for her studies.
Chan is not only intelligent but also a hardworking person. To support her education, she started working as a model until top-notch brands took notice of her exceptional beauty and modeling skills. She appeared in international products like Reebok, Nokia, and Nivea, among other famous brands globally.
She also joined during Valentino fashion house shows. Top glossy magazines also regularly featured her on the covers.
10. Gemma Chan is a fierce advocate.
Chan went to Lebanon to be with children who became refugees from the Syrian conflict. She traveled to Lebanon in March 2017 as part of the #SaveTheChildrenUK advocacy campaign.
She also took part in The Body Shop’s “Forever Against Animal Testing” campaign. She protested against sexual misconduct that became widespread in the film industry. She joined in a signature campaign for the said advocacy.