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Gemma Chan
Date of birth 29 November 1982 (1982-11-29) (age 27)
Place of birth London, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Hair color Dark Brown
Eye color Brown

Gemma Chan (born on 29 November 1982[1]) is an English actress and model. She is perhaps best known for playing Mia Bennett in the Autumn 2009 special of the BBC's Doctor Who The Waters of Mars with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan.


Early life

Gemma Chan was born in London, England on 29 November 1982 but was raised in Kent, a county located in southeast England. Her mother is of Scottish-Chinese heritage and her father grew up in Hong Kong. She majored in law at Worcester College, a constituent college of Oxford University. When she graduated, she was offered a job with a leading law firm.[2] In lieu, she decided to pursue an acting career, and wound up at the prestigious Drama Centre London where such actors as Paul Bettany, Anne-Marie Duff, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan trained. Spotted at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones (The History Boys, Kidulthood, Welcome to Sarajevo), she then signed to acting agent Nicki van Gelder, who has guided the careers of Samantha Morton and Helena Bonham Carter.

Fashion Business

In 2006, Gemma was one of the models in Project Catwalk, the UK version of Miramax's Project Runway. She was one of the top three models who made it to the final competition[3], but did not win the final challenge[4]. Even so, she continued to work as a fashion model to fund her drama school training, appearing in campaigns for Nokia and Selfridges & Co and numerous magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan and the Sunday Times Style. Gemma was recently photographed by Rankin for a campaign for Nivea Visage, having previously worked as a model in order to fund her studies and drama school training.


Gemma went on to train at the prestigious and notoriously tough Drama Centre London. She was discovered at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones, and proceeded to sign to acting agent Nicki van Gelder. She appeared as a guest star in the Autumn 2009 special of the BBC’s Doctor Who (The Waters of Mars) with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan, which aired 15 November 2009, playing geologist Mia Bennett.[5] In 2010 she will be seen in the World War II drama Shanghai directed by Mikael Hafstrom, alongside John Cusack, Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li.[6] She has also completed filming on the psychological thriller Exam directed by Stuart Hazeldine, alongside Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon and Luke Mably.[7] The film has been nominated for the Raindance Award at the 2009 British Independent Film Awards,[8] has been critically acclaimed in Empire Magazine and is also heading for an early 2010 release. She recently finished filming on the British independent feature Pimp directed by Robert Cavanah, with Billy Boyd and Danny Dyer and is currently working on the comedy drama Submarine directed by Richard Ayoade, alongside Paddy Considine and Sally Hawkins. Gemma appeared on stage in the British Premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s last play Turandot at the Hampstead Theatre, London, directed by Anthony Clark. A passionate supporter of human rights, she has also made a film for Amnesty International to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[9]

Personal life

Gemma Chan currently works in England.


Year Film Role Notes
2006 When Evil Calls Molly Nelson
2009 Exam Chinese
Pimp Bo Currently in post production
2010 Shanghai Shin Shin Filming Completed
Submarine Kim-Lin Currently filming
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Project Catwalk Herself 10 episodes (was finalist)
2009 Doctor Who Mia Bennett 1 Episode (Autumn 2009 Special The Waters of Mars)


External links

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