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The Young and Upcoming Asian Stars in Hollywood

Updated on February 20, 2013
A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awaits!
A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awaits!

The New Hollywood movement is coming and Asian stars are a part of it! Young Asian stars can be seen on film, the cable networks like the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, and on the internet.

They are the bright future of the entertainment industry.

Here are the upcoming Asian stars in Hollywood:

Suraj Sharma during a promotion for "Life of Pi"  in 2012.
Suraj Sharma during a promotion for "Life of Pi" in 2012. | Source

Suraj Sharma

Suraj Sharma, the Indian actor, who captured the audience's imagination in "Life of Pi," had a storied beginning when he got the part of "Pi Patel." He never intended to audition for the part and he went along only because of the encouragement of his brother, who had dreams of grabbing the coveted role.

Not only has Suraj's performance in the film brought wide acclaim but many believe he has a bright future in Hollywood or even in Bollywood for that matter.

At only 19 years old, he plans of having an acting career in some capacity. For now, he is studying at the St. Stephens College in New Delhi, India.

Even if Suraj Sharma never acts again in another film, his story is worth mentioning and under the belief that anyone can be a star in Hollywood.

Hailee Steinfield
Hailee Steinfield | Source

Hailee Steinfield

Hailee Steinfield, 16, burst upon the Hollywood scene with an impressive performance of the Western remake, "True Grit" (2010) with Jeff Bridges. "True Grit" was Steinfield's first feature film but she played the role of "Mattie Ross" like a true veteran which brought critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for "Best Actress in a supporting role" and a British Academy Awards nomination for "Best Actress in a Leading Role." Her performance brought a slew of awards from the Toronto Film critics, the Chicago film critics, Vancouver Film Critics Award, Online Critics Society, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award and many, many more.

Steinfield, who is Jewish-Filipino, has a bright future in Hollywood and has upcoming movies in 2013 with "Can a Song Save Your Life," "Hateship Loveship," "Ender's Game" and the highly-anticipated remake of "Rome and Juliet" in which stars along with Douglas Booth, Paul Giamatti, and Ed Westwick.

She is currently filming "Three Days to Kill."

Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens, who is Irish/Chinese-Filipino-Spanish, has been in show business since 2003 when she made her debut on "Thirteen" as "Noel." Her first starring role would come a year later in "Thunderbirds" playing the role of "Tin Tin."

Since then, Hudgens, 24, has been largely seen on cable television in "Drake and Josh" on Nickleodeon and "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody" on the Disney Channel. Her big break would come in 2005 when she was cast as "Gabrielle Montez" opposite Zach Efron on "High School Musical" (HSM) on the Disney Channel. HSM would spawn a sequel and eventually the 3rd film would land on the big screen.

Since then, the actress has been trying to find her niche in the entertainment industry. She released two record albums which were mildly successful and two feature films "Bandslam" (2009) and "Sucker Punch" (2011). "Sucker Punch" which was much-hyped and had an impressive cast of young Hollywood actresses like Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, and Jamie Chung was supposed to be Hudgen's breakout role but the film fizzled at the box-office.

Hudgens has been featured on the sequel of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" with "The Rock" and Josh Hutcherson and will be featured on the independent film "Gimme Shelter" which stars Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser.

Her biggest film to date is the R-rated film "Spring Breakers" which is set to release March 22, 2013. The film stars Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Heather Morris, and James Franco in a story about 4 naughty girls, who find themselves in more trouble in South Florida then they can handle.

Jamie Chung
Jamie Chung

Jamie Chung

Jamie Chung, who is Korean-American, was part of an ensemble in the MTV series "Real World: San Diego" (2004) and since then has been featured in many films. Sports blog Bleacher Report named her the "most successful among the Real World alumna."

Chung, 28, has had a successful career mainly in supporting roles. Her career includes an impressive resume of Daytime Television, Reality-television, prime-time television, and feature films. Her Daytime TV was on "Days of Our Lives" in which she was featured on 10 episodes. In prime-time, she made guest appearances on "ER," "Veronica Mars," "CSI: NY," and "Castle." Her feature film resume is lengthy with appearances on "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," "Sorority Row," "Burning Palms," "Grown Ups," and the "Hangover 2." She did have two starring roles in "Dragonball Evolution" (2009) and "Sucker Punch" (2011).

Chung had a busy year in 2012 with her films, "Premium Rush" which starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the remake of "Man with the Iron Fists" along with Dave Batista and Lucy Liu.

In 2013, the Korean-American actress will be featured in the airplane disaster film "7500," and the sequels to Hangover 2 and Sin City.

Harry Shum Jr.
Harry Shum Jr. | Source
Jenna Ushkowitz
Jenna Ushkowitz | Source

Harry Shum Jr. and Jenna Ushkowitz

Harry Shum Jr. and Jenna Ushokowitz are currently on the popular television show "Glee." The two play "the Asian couple" on the show.

Shum, 29, is a Chinese actor who is a regular cast member on the Fox hit show playing the role of "Mike Chang." The extremely talented dancer and choreographer who was the "silhouette dancer" on the iPod commercials before making it on Glee. He has appeared on "You Got Served" (2004), "Stomp the Yard" (2007) and the "Step Up" series 2 and 3 (2008 and 2010 respectively).

Ushkowitz, 25, is a Korean actress who was adopted by an American couple. She is a singer and Broadway musical actress ("The King and I" and "Spring Awakening") who plays the role of "Tina Cohen-Chang" on Glee.

So far, no film or other television commitments have been made from both of them since their schedule is busy enough already with "Glee."

Steven Yeun at the 2012 Comic Con San Diego, promoting "The Walking Dead."
Steven Yeun at the 2012 Comic Con San Diego, promoting "The Walking Dead." | Source

Steve Yeun

Steve Yeun may not be one of the younger stars at 29 years old but he started his acting career just only 6 years ago. Born in South Korea, his family immigrated to Canada and eventually settled in the state of Michigan.

Yeun had some guest appearances on shows Warehouse 13, Big Bang Theory, and Law & Order: Los Angeles but he hit it big in 2010 when he was cast as "Glenn" in the AMC apocalyptic zombie series "The Walking Dead." Already in its 3rd year, the show has averaged an astounding 7-10M viewers.

At this point, Steven need to think about looking for a backup when the series is done because on "The Walking Dead," you never know when your character will be "killed-off."

Nevertheless, the show has provided lots of exposure for Yeun, who has made more money than he would when he was studying to be a Doctor in College.

Let's hope he can continue to ride that wave of success and have a long career in Hollywood before he's through.

Roshon Fegan at the premiere of "The Muppets" in 2011.
Roshon Fegan at the premiere of "The Muppets" in 2011. | Source

Roshon Fegan

Roshon Fegan, who looks younger than his actual age of 21, is featured on Disney Channel's "Shake It Up. " Fegan is of African-American and Filipino descent and has has posted on his resume as being a songwriter, dancer, actor, rapper, and producer.

He made his acting debut as the "amazed kid" in "Spider Man 2" (2004). Since then, he has been mostly featured in Disney productions such as "Camp Rock 1 & 2,"Kickin' It," and his current show "Shake it Up." In between, he managed to appear on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" last year, where he finished in the top 6.

There's no telling what the future lies for the young actor but he has a strong foundation laid by Disney, where they have a knack for picking talent.

Freida Pinto and Dev Patel
Freida Pinto and Dev Patel | Source

Freida Pinto and Dev Patel

Indian actress Freida Pinto and British Indian actor Dev Patel are a real-life couple in Hollywood but their start in the film business was extremely successful with the award-winning movie, "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008).

The career of Pinto, 28, has taken off with roles in Woody Allen's "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" (2010) and the surprise blockbuster "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011) with James Franco.

The same success has followed Patel, 22, with "The Last Airbender" that bombed with critics but did well at the box-office. He did a successful stint on the British teen drama "Skins" and won 2 British Academy Awards.

Pinto recently appeared in "The Immortals" as priestess Phaedra and in the film "Black Gold." In 2013, the beauty will be seen inthe independent film "Desert Dancer" and in "Knight of Cups" which also stars Christian Bale and Natalie Portman.

Patel had featured roles on "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," on HBO's "The Newsroom," and the upcoming "About Cherry."

Actress Kristin Kreuk
Actress Kristin Kreuk | Source

Kristin Kreuk

Kristin Kreuk, 30, who is Dutch-Chinese, is well known from the hit TV show "Smallville" (2001-2009) and the role of "Hannah" on the NBC series, "Chuck." In 2009, she had starring role in "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li." In 2011 she was featured in two films, "Vampire" and "Irving Welsh's Ecstasy."

She is currently on the CW network's show "Beauty and the Beast."

"Pretty Little Liars" star Shay Mitchell
"Pretty Little Liars" star Shay Mitchell | Source

Shay Mitchell

Scottish-Irish/Filipino actress Shay Mitchell, is part of an ensemble on the hit show, "Pretty Little Liars" on ABC Family. The show won "Best Cable TV Drama" at the Golden Globe Awards on January 15.

She is also a spokesperson for Pantene Nature Infusion Hair Shampoo line.

Justin Chon at the Twilight Saga promotion in 2011.
Justin Chon at the Twilight Saga promotion in 2011. | Source

Justin Chon

Justin Chon, 31, is an upcoming star but the actor is considered a veteran, who has been in showbiz since 2005. However, his star began to rise when he played a supporting role in the Twilight Saga series beginning with "Twilight" (2008), "Twilight Saga: New Moon" (2009), "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (2010) and his last appearance on "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" (2011).

He's also appeared on television in Disney's "Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior" (2006) and on Nickelodeon's "Just Jordan" (2007-2008).

Chon's latest venture is the upcoming raucous film, "21 and Over," in which he stars as a College student, who lives out "all his fantasies" on his 21st birthday before embarking on a career in medicine.

The Korean-American actor will also be featured on "Innocent Blood" and will be making his directorial debut on the upcoming film "Man Up!"

The Future Looks Bright

The future of young Asian stars in Hollywood is certainly bright. The entertainment industry is slowly becoming diverse and progressive, paving the way for Asian stars to get leading roles in Television/Film that were not possible 5-10 years ago.

The Asian community can only hope that Hollywood continues to provide more opportunities for Asian actors and that they (Asian actors) would be placed in positive roles that reflect the diverse society as it is today.


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    • profile image

      Shahalam 20 months ago

      Love for every one....

    • profile image

      mikikko 2 years ago

      Those east asians are technically american...

    • profile image

      dick 5 years ago

      The east asians aren't east asian enough.