21 Korean American Actresses Who’ve Got it Going on

Lingua Asia_Korean American Actresses in Hollywood

Want to know which Korean American actresses are big in Hollywood?

These ladies are just as comfortable throwing high kicks as they are strutting the catwalk.

On top of acting, you can add Broadway musicals, rapping, standup comedy, directing and activism to their list of talents. (´▽`ʃ♡ƪ)

Here are some actresses you might not know were Korean!

Sandra Oh (산드라 오)

Of course, I should start with Sandra Oh! I don’t know why, but to me, she has such a warm image of long-lost Korean emo who immigrated to Canada/States whom I’m always happy to see.

Sandra Oh (Miju Oh) is a Korean-Canadian-American actress.

She was born in Nepean, Ontario, Canada to middle-class South Korean immigrant parents. Sandra convinced them to let her try acting for a few years and return to university if it doesn’t work out (not an easy thing to ask Korean parents, believe me!).

I’m glad she did!

If you’ve caught any of the last 18 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (it’s seriously that many), you’ve seen her as Cristina Yang. She’s also killing it (pun very much intended) as the titular character in Killing Eve.

Denyce Lawton (데니스 로턴)

Denyce Lawton is a Korean/African-American actress and model, and that’s just the beginning.

She was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up on army bases overseas with her family. Denyce later moved to the United States, mostly in Neptune, New Jersey then in Washington D.C.

She got her start as a backup dancer for artists like Puff Daddy and worked her way up to A&R at Priority Records in New York and Publicist for 20th Century Fox Films. Very impressive.

She’s best known for playing Dana Carter for four seasons of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Lawton has also made appearances on The Hot Zone as Sheila Willis, Chicago P.D. as Maya Williams and Castle as Lillian Hernandez.

Denyce is also conversational in Korean.

Hana Mae Lee (하나 메이 리)

From starring in blockbuster films to gracing the covers of magazines, Hana Mae Lee is a Korean American actress, model, comedian and fashion designer. So talented! ^_~

She was born and raised in San Fernando Valley, California, but speaks fluent Korean since her dad used to get mad at her for speaking English at home.

You’ve seen Lee stealing scenes as Lilly Onakuramara in the Pitch Perfect film franchise and as Sonya in The Babysitter.

Ella Jay Basco (엘라 제이 바스코)

Ella Jay Basco is a Korean/Filipino-American actress and singer-songwriter who got an early start at six-months old! Not surprising, since she was born into a family of famous actors in Los Angeles, CA.

After starting her acting career at such a young age, Ella is best known for starring as Cassandra Cain in Birds of Prey. The sky’s the limit for her!

She’s also the niece of actors Dion and Dante Basco (Rufio!).

More about Korean American actors

Linda Park (린다 박)

Trekkies rejoice! Linda Park is a South Korean-born American actress, but was born in Seoul.

As soon as she graduated Boston University with the BFA in Acting, she landed a role as Hannah in Jurassic Park III, the one with the talking raptors, but not with Chris Pratt.

Linda is best known for her role as Hoshi Sato on the TV series, Star Trek: Enterprise, guaranteeing her a steady income for life at comicon. She spends her free time exploring her love of dance by practicing ballet.

Hettienne Park (헤티엔 박)

Hettienne Park is a Korean-American actress and writer who we need to see more of.

She was born in Boston, MA, grew up in Wayland, Massachusetts, got BA’s in both Economics and Religion at the University of Rochester. Then, she moved to New York City and studied acting at the William Esper Studio.

You may remember her as the captivating Beverly Katz on the TV series, Hannibal (I loved that show)! It’s tough to act with Mads Mikkelsen, but she more than held her own.

She recently played the head of NASA in Don’t Look Up on Netflix who quits in disgust.


Moon Bloodgood (문 블러드굿)

Moon Bloodgood is a Korean American actress and model who we also don’t see enough of.

She was born in Alliance, Nebraska, but was raised in Anaheim, California. Her father is American and her mother is Korean.

Moon is best known for her role as the bad*** but beautiful Blair Williams in Terminator Salvation, as Starfire in Pathfinder and as Anne Glass on TV series, Falling Skies.

Awkwafina (아콰피나)

Nora Lum, known as Awkwafina (not related to the character on Bojack), is an American actress, rapper and comedian.

Awkwafina was born to a Chinese American dad and a Korean American mom in Stony Brook, Long Island, New York.

She’s been blowing up with major roles in Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell and Ocean’s 8.

Nicole Bilderback (니콜 빌더백)

You might not know her name, but you’ve probably seen her in every teen movie and TV show in the early 2000s. Nicole Bilderback is a Korean-born American actress, writer and producer.

Nicole got her first major role in the movie Clueless. *ding ding

You’ve also seen her on TV programs like Dark Angel and Dawson’s Creek, as well as the films Bring It On and Bad Girls From Valley High.

Claudia Kim (수현)

Claudia Kim (Kim Soo-hyun), also known as Soo-hyun in South Korea, is an actress and model.

She moved to New Jersey at the age of five with her father, who was stationed there working for a large corporation, and lived there for six years.

Claudia dreamed of becoming an international lawyer in middle school, then anchorwoman in high school, and she did! Claudia worked as an intern reporter for The Korea Times and Arirang TV.

The news couldn’t hold her and she moved to Hollywood to pursue bigger dreams.

Claudia has appeared on the TV series, Queen of the Game and Marco Polo, as well as the films, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Dark Tower and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Ashley Park (애슐리 박)

Ashley Park is a triple threat of actress, dancer and singer. She’s a seriously good singer.

She was born in Glendale, California but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ashley battled leukemia in high school and won! After that, she wanted to be around people all the time and got into theater.

She’s best known for her portrayal of Mindy on Netflix’s Emily in Paris. Even though she played a Chinese character, Ashley Park is of Korean descent, and even took on Zico’s ‘Any Song’ dance challenge with Lily Collins.

Ashley is also a second cousin (육촌) of Justin H. Min.

Jenna Ushkowitz (제나 우슈코비츠)

Another accomplished vocalist, Jenna Ushkowitz is a South Korean-born American actress, singer, producer and podcast host.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jenna was adopted at the age of three months and raised in East Meadow, New York.

As a kid, she began her career in print advertisements. Then, she did Toys R Us (wish we had that growing up in Korea), Burger King and Hess Toy Truck TV commercials at ages 3, 6 and 11.

More about Korean toys

Ushkowitz shines in her performances on Broadway in The King and I, and as Tina Cohen-Chang in Glee.

She’s a two-time Tony Award winner for her work as a producer of the Broadway musical Once on This Island and the Broadway play, The Inheritance. Wowee! ~\(≧▽≦)/~


Jamie Chung (제이미 정)

Jamie Jilynn Chung (제이미 정, 정지린) is a second-generation Korean-American actress.

Her parents immigrated to the United States after the Korean War and her father ran a restaurant. As Jamie notes, her parents are “typical passionate Koreans who would sacrifice everything for their children.”

Naturally, her parents wanted Jamie to work in finance, so she studied Economics at the University of California, Riverside.

But, after a fun turn of events, she made her debut on the MTV reality series, The Real World: San Diego and the rest is history.

She starred in films, The Hangover Part II and Sucker Punch. Jamie also appeared on Dexter: New Blood (TV Mini Series) as the spitfire Molly Park.

If you’re a Dexter fan who was disappointed by the finale, watch New Blood, but not the finale. That director cannot land a plane.

Jamie is also known as a Hollywood fashionista who runs her own fashion blog.

Margaret Cho (마거릿 조)

Margaret Moran Cho (조모란) is a Korean American stand-up comedian, actress, fashion designer, LGBT social activist and musician.

She was born into a Korean family in San Francisco, California, and grew up in a multicultural environment in the 1970s and 1980s.

Margaret Cho is best known for her stand-up comedy, which I find it hilarious, but perhaps not suitable to feature here. You know what I mean. ฅʕ•̫͡•ʔฅ

She also had an unfortunately short-lived sitcom on ABC in the 90s called, All American Girl that was about 20 years ahead of its time.

Arden Cho (아든 조)

Singing songs and kicking a**. Arden Cho is a Korean American actress, singer and model. She’s best known for her role as the sword-swinging Kira Yukimura on Teen Wolf.

She was born in Amarillo, Texas, USA and grew up in San Antonio and Plano, Texas.

Her parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea two years before she was born, and ran a Taekwondo gym. As you may have guessed, Arden also has a black belt!

Arden won the 2004 Miss Korea Chicago beauty contest, and got the opportunity to participate in Miss Korea in Seoul.

She almost starred in a K-drama, but things didn’t work out due to dieting and plastic surgery requests. Whaaaa?? ╰(‵□′)╯So glad she said no.

Tati Gabrielle (타티 개브리엘)

Tati Gabrielle is a gorgeous American actress who’s only just begun.

I recognize her from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but had no idea she was half Korean!

Her mom is Korean American, so she grew up using chopsticks and eating kimchi.

Tati is captivating in her roles as Gaia on the TV series, The 100, Prudence on the Netflix original series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Marienne Bellamy on the Netflix series, You.

Expect to see a lot more of her in the future.

Fivel Stewart (파이벨 스튜어트)

Fivel Stewart should be included in the dictionary when you look up multicultural.

Her mother is of Japanese, Korean and Chinese ancestry while her father is of Russian, Scottish and Native American (Blackfoot) descent. Close enough ^^

She’s also an American actress and singer who was born in Beverly Hills, California.

Fivel is best known for Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, Freeze and Pit Fighter.

Grace Park (그레이스 박)

Grace Park (박민경, Minkyung Park) is an American-Canadian actress who’s been a star of the small screen for decades.

Born to Korean parents in Los Angeles, California, USA, she moved to Canada at the age of 22 months.

She was raised in Kerrisdale, Neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada and got her big break at 25 in the Canadian TV show, Edgemont.

Grace has been landing big roles in Hawaii Five‑0, A Million Little Things and Battlestar Galactica ever since.


Samantha Futerman (서맨사 푸터먼)

Samantha Futerman is a South Korean-born American actress, writer, director and activist. She has a life story that would make a good novel, or documentary.

Futerman was born in Busan, South Korea, and was later adopted by her American parents.

She has an amazing story of how she appeared in KevJumba’s YouTube video, High School Virgin, and found her identical twin sister, Anaïs Bordier, living in London.

Samantha made a documentary film about it called “Twinsters”.

You’ve probably seen her in Memoirs of a Geisha.

Lindsay Price (린지 프라이스)

Lindsay Price is an American actress and singer.

Lindsay was born in Arcadia, California, to her American father of German and Irish descent, and her mother (Haeja) who was born in Korea.

Her parents were actually raised together as siblings, since the family adopted the orphaned Haeja after the Korean War.

She’s best known for her roles as Janet Sosna on Beverly Hills, 90210 and as Victory Ford on Lipstick Jungle.

Soon-Yi Previn (순이 프레빈)

You probably know that she’s the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and musician André Previn. What you might not have known is that she’s also an actress!

Soon-Yi is most famous for her roles **ahem** in Wild Man Blues, NBA on NBC and Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven. Now refrain from Googling further.

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