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Gemma Chan | The Charismatic British/Asian Entertainer



Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan was recently seen playing the role of Sersi in the 26th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Eternals. Besides being one of the most talented stars of this generation, she’s actively involved in fundraising campaigns for underprivileged children and stands firmly for Asians who’ve been facing hate crimes. 


Gemma Chan has been on the top of her game with major and minor roles in mega-blockbuster movies. She has been a part of Transformers: The Last Knight, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Captain Marvel, and Crazy Rich Asians. Gemma faced it all gracefully, from being bullied in school to experiencing discrimination as a youth. Today she’s one of the most popular actors worldwide. 

Early Life and Struggles

On the 29th of November, 1982, Gemma was born at Guy’s hospital in London, England. Her father was an engineer, whereas her mother worked as a pharmacist at the same hospital. Her mother had emigrated to Greenock, Scotland, with her parents from Pre-Cultural Revolution Communist China via Hong Kong. Gemma’s father went through difficult times in his childhood. A single mother raised him in Hong Kong with five siblings. The family of six lived in a small cabin on a hillside. Later, they moved to a single room in a block that lodged thirty other families.

During the Cultural Revolution, all the houses were burned down. Gemma’s father, along with his family, became homeless. But, he was determined to help his family and worked hard to escape the situation. Soon, he started earning and sent most of his earnings back home to support his siblings’ education. One day, he met a Chinese woman who had grown up in Britain. The two ended up together and moved to London. 

Struggles with Racism/Bullying

Returning to Gemma, she did not get the opportunity to grow up in a diverse environment. She was raised in Kent along with her younger sister Helen. She was admitted to Newstead Wood Girls’ school in Orpington, Bromley, roughly 30 miles from Kent. Her school mainly consisted of white children, and she was the only Asian in her primary school class. Gemma was different, and it was not a good thing back then. She felt awkward and self-conscious. The urge to fit in didn’t get off her mind. Children made fun of her. They used to intimidate her for her Asian features and eyes. She spent her childhood wishing she wasn’t different.

Complex relationship with father

Gemma’s relationship with her father hadn’t been easy. She derived both pain and gratitude from her relationship with her father. After Gemma was born, her father spent most of his time serving the merchant navy. Her father wanted her to focus on her studies and constantly emphasized three things. 1- Nothing should go to waste. Whether it’s food, clothes, car, or any other household item. 2- Things will be reused until they can’t be mended. 3- Learn how to swim. As a child, Gemma could not understand the reason behind these rules and often found it frustrating. It was difficult for her to interpret why her father was obsessed with education, his aversion to waste, and the constant reminders of being grateful.

But, he also used to express his love for his daughters by taking care of their eating habits. He used to cut fresh fruits for them and ensured that both girls drank two glasses of milk daily. He devoted his time patiently while teaching swimming to his daughters.

College Life 

Gemma learned a lot from her father and turned out to be an excellent student in her academics. She excelled as a ballet dancer, swimmer, and violinist. She was admitted to Worcester College, Oxford University, for her higher studies. Her parents encouraged her to study law, but she decided she wanted to act in the middle of her course. She was doing well at Law School and received a job offer from one of the leading law firms in the city. But, she decided to reject the bid. When she told her parents about her decision, they strongly opposed her. Her father didn’t talk to her for months, and her mother asked her, “How many faces do you see on the screen that look like us?” 

But, Gemma had already made up her mind, and nothing stopped her from pursuing her passion. After completing her graduation, she decided that she wanted to enroll in one of the most prestigious drama schools in the United Kingdom, The Drama Centre at Central Saint Martins. Gemma worked as a model for a year to save up money for admission. She did all of this secretly because she did not wish to upset her parents. Finally, she joined the alma mater of many successful actors like Michael Fassbender, Emilia Clarke, Russel Brand, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and so on.

Life at The Drama Center

After joining, Gemma’s drama teacher warned her about the struggles she’ll be facing as a woman of color. She told her, “You need to remember that you might never be a part of a periodic drama unless the drama is about an Eastern community.” While at the Drama School, sometimes she didn’t even get a chance to audition because of her ethnicity, but Gemma was well prepared for the struggle. 

New Beginnings

Within a year of leaving drama school, Gemma was lucky enough to grab the opportunity to star in an episode of Doctor Who. She played the role of a geologist named Mia Bennett. Following this, Gemma played a supporting role in the 2009 British psychological thriller Exam. The following year, she played minor roles in movies like Pimp and Shanghai. Between 2010-2013, Gemma appeared in several films, TV series, and theatre acts.

Breakthrough Roles

In January 2014, Gemma appeared as Amy Chang in the commercially successful Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. In 2016, she played the role of an American witch in the BAFTA-nominated Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Between 2015-2018, Gemma portrayed the character of Anita/ Mia Elster in the critically acclaimed sci-fi television series Humans. She received positive reviews for her performance. 

In 2018, she gained worldwide recognition with the character she played in the box office hit Crazy Rich Asians. Her role as the fashion icon and socialite Astrid Leong-Teo earned many positive reviews. The following year, she succeeded through her supportive role in Captain Marvel, her first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the same year, she appeared on the cover of the September issue of British Vogue.


In 2020, Gemma played the role of Alice alongside Meryl Streep in the American comedy-drama Let Them All Talk. The film premiered on HBO Max and received positive reviews. Next year, she appeared in the Marvel blockbuster Eternals

Also read: Richard Madden | The Charming Star of Hollywood

How old is Gemma Chan?

Gemma Chan is 40 years old.

What is the net worth of Gemma Chan?

Gemma Chan’s net worth is approximately $6 million.

Is Gemma Chan married?

No, Gemma is not married.

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