ENTERTAINMENT

Gemma Chan Says Her Oxford Law Degree Comes In Handy In Her Acting Career

The "Crazy Rich Asian" star is also glad she skipped practicing law, saying she would have been "pretty miserable" at it.

“Crazy Rich Asians” star Gemma Chan has a pretty surprising past. 

The actress, who played Astrid Leong in last year’s blockbuster hit, graced the cover of Modern Luxury magazine’s March issue and revealed that not only does she have a law degree from Oxford University, but her education actually is useful in her current profession.  

“It is quite helpful with the memorization, I had to learn about 2,000 cases by heart, so I am fairly good at learning scripts quickly. On the whole, it is quite a different part of the brain: Law is very analytical, and acting is more instinctive and emotionally driven,” Chan, who’s also in “Captain Marvel,” told the outlet. “But, it does come in handy with learning lines ― and reading my own contract.”

Chan said in the interview that while she enjoyed the “challenge” of earning her degree, she thinks she would’ve made a “pretty miserable lawyer.”

She also said that while she’d been involved in drama and music since she was a kid, she didn’t view acting as a viable career until later on in life. She eventually auditioned for drama school in secret.

Because of the lack of Asian representation on the big screen, she told The Los Angeles Times that her father questioned whether she’d be able to nab enough jobs. 

“[My] dad said to me, ‘It doesn’t matter how good you are or how talented you are — how many faces do you see on the screen that look like ours? You won’t get enough work,’” the actress told the outlet in August. “I said, ‘Dad, I just want to be part of a change.’ ”

After having been part of one of the most culturally impactful movies for Asian-Americans in recent memory, Chan told Modern Luxury she’s “grateful” for the experience. 

“I have never been part of a project where people had such personal reactions to it. People come up to me on the streets or at the airport just to say thank you,” she said. “I think it has to do with people feeling seen for the first time. It feels amazing to be a part of it, and, hopefully, it is just the start.”  

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