Star Trek Actress Christina Chong Comes To Terms With Her Identity

Photographed by Scarlett Warwick

The Star Trek: Strange New Worlds actress reveals her struggles with being English-Chinese, how her character has helped her accept and love her identity, and how she now hopes to empower biracial girls and women through her craft. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is back on Paramount Plus, and for actress Christina Chong, that means multiple things. It means a new season for Chong to play the lighter side of the strong and storied SS Enterprise chief of security Lt. La’an Noonien-Singh and working one of Hollywood’s most inclusive series. 

“We’re starting to see a lighter side of La’an, a more vulnerable side of La’an, a more comedic maybe side of La’an, And she’s having a romance,” the actress shares with Vogue Philippines over Zoom. “She’s learning to connect and grow.” 

Much of her character’s growth has to do with La’an’s past being revealed and the first season exploring how she is healing from that history; in particular, from the fact that she is the descendant of one of the franchise’s iconic villains, Khan. In fact, Chong is able to play with the nuances of La’an’s character effectively because she relates to her experiences growing up as an outsider. 

Christina Chong
Photographed by Scarlett Warwick

“That side of her, the strong, driven side of her is very much a part of me and that her whole fight [is] really about accepting herself. She comes to that in season two,” she states. “But I struggled a lot throughout my childhood to accept that I was biracial.” 

Chong, whose father is Chinese and whose mother is English, experienced bullying growing up and admits to drawing from that experience when bringing to life that element of La’an’s story. 

“In a role as a character, you’re healing your own stuff as well, as it’s very cathartic,” she explains. “I think why I felt so connected to her when I first auditioned because my whole mindset has always been since I was a little girl, [to] always look for the silver lining, no matter what, [and] winning over adversity. So everything that’s come to me—acting techniques, the way I like to write, or even my songwriting, it’s all about empowering.” 

Asian Representation in Hollywood

Among the most empowering things she’s done in her career is to be a face for Asian representation in Hollywood. The Star Trek franchise is known for being one of the first shows in Hollywood to champion diversity, inclusion, and equality in the entertainment industry, as is evident in their casting. 

“It’s a real honor to be part of all that. And I didn’t even realize that’s what Star Trek was about until I was in it,” admits Chong, pointing out that at one point she was questioning why the universe has put her in the show. “A friend helped me understand that actually, [it’s about] being a part of this incredible legacy, number one, but also the diverse cast and showing little girls like me that it’s possible, and representing and seeing that play out in real life,” she adds.

“It’s changing the world. It’s changing how we see and accept each other and helping us to see that at the end of it, we’re all equal. And this fair representation on screen, it’s getting better and better.”

The actress saw this play out at a convention she attended recently. “A little girl, biracial, she was part-Thai, part European, her father said that she’d been struggling at school, feeling that she was different, not feeling she fit in. And so I spent some time with her, and we talked,” she shared. “She messaged me after and said thank you so much because I felt like she really saw herself in me and it’s helped her progress at school and feel more accepted.”

“I think that is what it’s about. I didn’t have that to look up to. But if other little girls and boys can have that, then that’s changing perception,” she added. “It’s changing the world. It’s changing how we see and accept each other and helping us to see that at the end of it, we’re all equal. And this fair representation on screen, it’s getting better and better.” 

Chong has also reached a point where she sees her biracial identity as an advantage in the industry. “When you’re young, the things that you struggle with the most are the things that you overcome and become a blessing as an adult,” she reveals. “Yes, I was ashamed of my dad coming to pick me up after school, but it’s now the point where I’ve come to accept some, accept it and love it and embrace it. And I’m so proud of it now.” 

Empowering Through Music

Following the theme of empowerment is Chong’s first EP, Twin Flames, set to be released later this year. The first single off the album, also titled “Twin Flames,” was released along with the new season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The EP, produced by Jake Gosling (who has worked with the likes of Ed Sheeran), features four original tracks that tell the story of a relationship cycle, from meeting your “twin flame” and coming together, to breaking up, healing from the experience, and finally coming out on the other side. 

“For me, more than anything, I want them to feel empowered by it. Because that has always been my kind of ethos,” the artist explains. “Yes, things happen. Let’s find a solution and let’s move past it. And let’s get over the hard parts by accepting them and embracing them, what you resist persists. It’s not about ignoring it or fighting against it. It’s about moving through something. So I’ve captured my hope.”

More From Vogue

Share now on:
FacebookXEmailCopy Link