Regina Ting Chen talks about early days in entertainment, joining the cast of “Stranger Things” and more

Regina Ting Chen may not have been encouraged to indulge in the show, but that hasn’t stopped her from doing so anyway.

Growing up in a Chinese family, Chen says her parents wanted her to pursue a field like business or cardiology. But that hasn’t stopped her from performing for the same family, often forcing her siblings to perform with her, or telling exaggerated stories about her to her grandmother.

“My grandmother was an immigrant and raised me most of my childhood. She was afraid to leave the house, she was just afraid of the outside world, especially since she didn’t really speak English, ”Chen recalled. “I would actually tell her what would happen during my day, sometimes embellishing my story so that she could live indirectly through me. I just wanted to make her laugh, I wanted her to feel all the things I felt in my time, whether they were real or not.

Chen went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in economics. She was approached for a local modeling opportunity in Texas and it was her agent who suggested she take acting lessons.

“I was really excited because the idea of ​​being able to do it never crossed my mind until then,” said Chen.

However, there was a time when Chen thought he should take a break from acting and establish 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 landed an assistant manager position with a starting salary of $ 60,000), save money, and then start acting again.

“I hated it so much. I thought, how can I do it for ten years and then go back to what I love to do? So that moment was when I realized acting was going to be forever and I had to leave, “Chen said.” It took three months, it’s not very long, but it was long enough to realize that I don’t care how much money I have. they throw at me, or how hard I have to work somewhere else. It took me to realize that this is what I want to do forever. “

Chen has since racked up numerous acting credits, including Marvel’s “Queen of the South,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” HBO’s Emmy-winning “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 was a huge fan of the show previously and, as a self-proclaimed sci-fi nerd, was very excited to be cast in the show.

“I felt a bit like the blood pressure was high. “Stranger Things” is probably the greatest show in the world as far as everyone watches it, “said Chen.

For Chen, he loves how engaging it can be to be on set when working on “Stranger Things”.

“One of my favorite things was their commitment to creating the world of the 1980s, right down to the detail of the pencil,” said Chen. “I love the fact that the notebook I would like to touch would also be old fashioned. It made my job so easy to enter that world and think about living in that period ”.

Chen was delighted with how well received her character was. She has noticed that she has heard both adults and children react to how close to her home her character has struck for them.

“It was even better than I imagined because my character is recognizable and I’m so touched when people I don’t know and ‘Stranger Things’ fans contact me and say it reminds me of my one-time advisor,” said Chen. “Adults and children, I hear them all. I’m just overwhelmed that people like Miss Kelly.

Even more, Chen was delighted that she was able to bring some Asian representation to the show.

“It felt like I was under pressure because I’m the first person in the cast to represent an Asian there. I’m not saying there were no 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 person here and it will be Queen’, but still in the end it happened, I feel so honored and I will work hard to continue being the best representation I can be ”.

Regardless, Chen is happy to be able to bring that representation to the screen.

“I feel like I’m right where I need to be,” Chen said. “I don’t like always being so sweet, but thinking about all the work I’ve done, it allowed me to play this kind of role in the best possible way, so I can meet others like me who are interested in being an actor and say that I ‘is hope “.

Stay up to date on Chen’s latest news by following her on Instagram @reginatingchen.

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