©2019 by Sunny Chen.

About

Sunny Chen

Hello, world! I'm a writer, director, actor, and singer, but I also create and perform in other mediums as well. I have a BA in psychology and English literature from the University of British Columbia. I trained and performed with three different choirs throughout high school. As an actor, I train with various teachers and coaches in Vancouver. I write my own music.

 

I wrote, directed, and produced the music video for my womxn-empowering, healing anthem "Ocean Girl", working with a cast and crew of women of colour and queer folks. I choreographed the dancers, styled the performers, and edited #OceanGirlMV. Watch women of colour skate down the seawall and dance in the sunshine to heal, set to an early 2000s vibe. View the daytime teaser below, featuring a remix by Holly BB (Los Angeles).

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass."

Maya Angelou

I wrote the script for Adewolf's "Dynamite" music video (as well as upcoming, unreleased MV's), and I'm working on my web series Open Ethnicity, a dramedy about women of colour working in Vancouver's film and TV industry.

My work has been published in SAD Magazine, Contrast Collective, Creep Magazine, the Ubyssey, and the Garden Statuary.

I love to collaborate and create art together, so don't hesitate to hit me up.

My Story

I was born in a small city called Nanjing in China. At three years old, I had memorized all my favourite ancient Chinese poems so I entertained audiences of strangers by reciting them aloud whenever an opportunity arose. I also loved singing karaoke in the middle of our family-owned restaurant on the regular. Starting from that age, I began attending weekly piano and drawing classes. Then, after-school English lessons.

 

My parents and I flew across the world to Burnaby, British Columbia, when I was six years old, where they enrolled me in Grade 1. (I would move three more times before graduating elementary school, so I had to learn how to be funny.) Then my sister was born, so my grandparents (my real life guardian angels) moved to Canada as well, to help raise my li'l sis. We didn't have much and lived in a 2-bedroom apartment together, across from Metrotown. My mom invested in my passion for the arts and I started to dance ballet (and danced for five years) but stopped when we moved to Langley to accommodate my mom's new job at Langley Memorial Hospital. By age 12, I had written over 10 pop songs. In high school, in addition to enrolling in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, I rehearsed daily and performed with the concert choir, chamber choir, and the senior vocal jazz group (as well as played flute and piccolo in concert band). We traveled all over North America to compete in various festivals. My first time stepping into a professional studio was with my concert band at Disneyland's Heritage Festival. I was 15. We rehearsed and recorded an excerpt from a Disney film score. I still remember listening back to it and thinking, "Wow, people actually get to do this for a living." Also: "This sounds like a Disney movie!"

When I was 17, I moved to Vancouver to attend UBC and escape the dysfunctional environment. My absentee dad had finally left my family and there was a lot of tension and stress. I was also tired of being told I couldn't become a singer or an artist. For fun, I auditioned for a lead in the university production of  Rocky Horror Show and that fall, I debuted as "Janet Weiss", and, well, it changed my world. I am forever grateful to the Musical Theatre Troupe for the opportunity to be who I've always wanted to be.

 

From then on, I knew I wanted to perform for the rest of my life, to weave my part into a bigger tapestry. The truth is, I didn't grow up with a role model who looked like me, who could sing, dance, do gymnastics, play basketball, skateboard, play guitar, or do anything I thought was cool. I did those things anyway, and I continue to try new things, despite the lack of role models in mainstream media. And I hoped my sister could find a Chinese-Canadian role model as she grew older. Someday, I want my future daughter to look around and see well-rounded, intelligent, outspoken, confident girls and women who look like her on TV and in movies. Women who have unique stories to tell, passion in their hearts, and fire underneath their footsteps.

I have lived in Vancouver ever since moving out here on my own. I dedicate my life to creating, performing, collaborating, and sharing stories whenever an opportunity arises. You can also find me browsing the shelves at the downtown VPL, dancing at Booty Freedom, and supporting my talented friends at venues across town.

I love this rainy seaside city, and I'm proud to call Vancouver my home.

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