Sunny Chen

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, my mom signed me up for community piano lessons. 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. We lived in a basement suite the first year, and my mom signed us up for the toy drive so we could celebrate Christmas together. 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 our school 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 applied for a student loan, moved to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia, and escaped the dysfunctional environment at home, which had caused me a lot of stress and pain during my childhood and teen years. My absentee dad had finally left my family and there was a lot of tension and stress, as well as my mom's compounding mental health issues. 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 UBC Musical Theatre Troupe for that opportunity to shine.


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've lived in Vancouver since moving out here on my own. I still 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. Now I am developing Open Ethnicity series (IMDbInstagram, Twitter).

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

"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

Hello, world! I'm a writer, director, actor, and singer, but I also create and perform in other mediums as well. I'm a creative consultant for artists. I want to help you write/direct/produce your screenplay, find your unique voice in songwriting, create a social media strategy for your personal brand, and more. I hold a BA in psychology and English literature. I trained and performed with three choirs during high school. As an actor, I train with various teachers and coaches in Vancouver.


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. Watch skater girls of colour cruise 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 wrote the script for Adewolf's "Dynamite" music video, and I'm the showrunner and lead on Open Ethnicity, a dramedy about women of colour working in Vancouver's film and TV industry.

My short film "Miracles" (2020) was screened at Reel Youth Film Festival and published in Bloom's digital zine. My written and mixed media 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.

©2020 by Sunny Chen.

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