Michael Lee Simpson
ZOË CHAO, 37, 'YOUR PLACE OR MINE,' 'STRANGERS,' 'THE AFTERPARTY'
How you know her. Chao launched her career with Strangers in 2017. She has since starred in fan favorites, including Your Place or Mine, the Party Down revival, and the murder mystery comedy series, The Afterparty.
Where you’ll see her next. Chao returns for season 2 of The Afterparty this July before launching through the cosmos with co-star Anthony Mackie If You Were Last. The film follows two astronauts stranded in space, developing a romance in the span of a few years.
She uses her grandmother as strength. “You gotta do whatever you can to summon some strength," says Chao, who also appeared in Downhill with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. "I think about my nana, who came from Shanghai when she was 10 without her parents. She was here for a couple of years without them. And I'm like, 'Well, Nana did that, so I can definitely do this!' She's 92 now and still a firecracker and totally limitless."
She played dress-up with her younger sister as a kid. "We did Westward Ho!, which was basically dressing up as pioneers," she says. "And my sister was like, 'Can we play Frank Sinatra?' We'd play Sinatra's album in the wee morning hours and smoke crayon cigarettes and drink water. And that would be a Saturday."
-People magazine, AAPI Heritage Month