Regina Ting Chen may not have been encouraged to have fun, but that didn’t stop her from doing so.
Growing up in a Chinese family, Chen says her parents wanted her to go into a field such as business or cardiology. But that didn’t stop her from performing for her own family, often forcing her siblings to play with her or telling exaggerated stories to her grandmother.
“My grandmother was an immigrant and raised me for most of my childhood. He was afraid to leave the house, he was just afraid of the world outside, especially because he didn’t really speak English, “Chen recalled. “In fact, I would tell her what would happen during my day, sometimes embellishing my story so that she could live as a substitute through me. I just wanted to make her laugh, I wanted her to feel all the things I felt during my day, whether they were real or not. ”
Chen graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Spanish and a minor in business. She was approached for the opportunity to be a local model in Texas, and her agent offered to take acting lessons.
“I was really excited because the idea that I could do it had never crossed my mind before,” Chen said.
However, there was a time when Chen thought he needed to take a break from acting and create a career where he could save and return to acting later. She moved to Houston with her current husband with the intention of working for ten years (she was given the position of assistant manager with a starting salary of $ 60,000), save money and then start working again.
“I hated him so much. I thought, how can I do this for ten years and then go back to what I love to do? So that moment was when I realized that acting would be forever and I had to leave, “said Chen. “It took three months, not so long, but it was long enough for me to realize that I don’t care how much money they throw at me or how hard I have to work elsewhere. It took me a while to realize that this is what I want to do forever. “
Since then, Chen has earned a number of acting credits, including The Queen of the South, Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the Emmy-winning HBO limited series Watchmen, and CW’s Black Lightning and Dynasty. However, these days you can see her as Miss Kelly, the guidance counselor who appears in the latest season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
Chen had been a big fan of the show before, and as a self-proclaimed science fiction writer, she was very excited to be chosen for the show.
“I had a feeling that the tension was high. “Stranger Things is probably the biggest show in the world for everyone to watch,” Chen said.
For Chen, she loves how immersive it can be to be on set when working on Stranger Things.
“One of my favorite things was how dedicated they were to creating the world in the ’80s, down to the last detail in pencil,” Chen said. “I love that even the notebook I would touch would be from the old school. This made my job so easy that I just entered this world and I think I live in this period of time. ”
Chen was amazed at how well received her character was. She noted that she had heard both adults and children react to how close to home he had hit them.
“It was even better than I imagined, because my character is recognizable and I’m so moved when people I don’t know and fans of Stranger Things reach out and say you remind me of my advisor at the time.” said Chen. “Adults and children, I hear from all of them. I’m just amazed that people like Miss Kelly.
Moreover, Chen was happy to be able to bring a little Asian representation to the show.
“I had the feeling that I was under pressure because I was the first person in the cast to be represented by Asians. I’m not saying there weren’t Asians before, but one who has a name and is involved in the plot, “Chen said. “I don’t think it was intentional, like ‘We have to put an Asian here and this is going to be Regina,’ but it did happen in the end, I feel so honored, and I’m going to work so hard to keep being the best.” a representative I can be. ”
Nevertheless, Chen is glad to be able to bring this performance to the screen.
“I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be,” Chen said. “I don’t always like to be cheeky like that, but thinking about all the work I’ve done, it made me present this type of role in the best way I can so that I can meet others like me who are interested in acting. and I say there is hope. “
Keep up with the latest from Chen by following her on Instagram @reginatingchen.