Jenna Ushkowitz Biography
Jenna Ushkowitz is a South Korean-born American actress, singer, and podcast host. She is famously known for her performances in Broadway musicals such as The King and I, and Waitress, and in the role of Tina Cohen-Chang on the series Glee.
Jenna Ushkowitz Age
She was born on April 28, 1986, in Seoul, South Korea. She is 32 years of age as of 2018.
Jenna Ushkowitz Personal life
Three months after she was born, she was adopted and raised in East Meadow, New York. Her adopted family is of Polish descent. She was raised by a Catholic family and attended Holy Trinity Diocesan High School.
She graduated in 2004 and moved on to Marymount Manhattan College, where she once again took the role of Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan with a B.A. in Theatre Arts in 2007. She’s an intense LGBT rights supporter, shooting a photoshoot with Kevin McHale to support the NoH8 campaign. Some time ago, she was romantically linked by the press to McHale, but both of them denied it.
Jenna Ushkowitz Career
She started her acting career at the age of three. As a child, she appeared on Sesame Street and other children’s television shows. In 1996 she got her first role in the Broadway musical in The King and I. She sang the American National Anthem at a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden at the age of thirteen. Ushkowitz understudied the roles of Ilse, Anna, Martha, and Thea in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening from 2006 to 2008. In 2009, Ushkowitz earned the role of Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee. Glee, series creator Ryan Murphy sought out actors who could identify with the rush of starring in theatrical roles. Instead of using traditional network casting calls, he spent three months on Broadway, where he found Ushkowitz. She was initially given little information about Tina’s back story and believed that the character’s stutter was real.
Her solos include; True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li, Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion, Gangnam Style by PSY, I Don’t Know How to Love Him from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Hung Up by Madonna, and I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry. Raymund Flandez of The Wall Street Journal hailed the True Colors cover as showcasing Ushkowitz’s “strong crystalline voice”.
The grayscale picture of three people, two women and a man, who dance and put their hands on their hips. The man wears a dark outfit, a compound of a vest, a shirt, and pants. The women wear similar leotards.
Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer and Heather Morris during a performance of “Single Ladies” on the tour Glee Live! In Concert! in 2011
In both 2010 and 2011, she embarked on live concert tours with her Glee co-stars, with performances taking place in the United States, Canada, England, and Ireland. In 2011, briefly appeared in Lady Gaga’s music video for “Marry the Night”, playing the role of Gaga’s friend. In July 2012, it was reported that she would be writing her first book, titled Choosing Glee. The book was released on May 14, 2013. During Glee’s fifth season, her character graduated and was accepted into Brown University, meaning her role on the series was reduced.
In August 2014, she was cast as Jeannie Ryan in the Hollywood Bowl production of Hair. Additionally, she was approached by fellow adoptee Samantha Futerman to found Kindred: The Foundation for Adoption, created to provide international and domestic adoptees and their families with services such as travel, translation, and support for those who wish to reunite. With the same spirit that made her create Kindred, in 2015, Ushkowitz executive produced the documentary Twinsters, a film showing the story that connected Samantha and Anaïs, identical twin sisters separated at birth. The film premiered at the 2015 South by Southwest. That same year, she was cast as the lead character, Julia Sullivan, in a special production of The Wedding Singer at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, marking one of the first times the character has been played by an Asian woman.
In December 2015, she has cast as Marie the Nurse in Hello Again, alongside Nolan Gerard Funk, Audra McDonald, and Martha Plimpton. In 2016, she co-founded the podcast network At Will Radio with Will Malnati. In each episode, she talks about a new way to live life with a positive outlook.
She temporarily assumed the role of Dawn Williams from Kimiko Glenn in the production of Waitress, which began performances July 29, 2016, and completing her run on October 19, 2016. She then appeared alongside Tracie Thoms and Rachel Dratch in The 24 Hour Plays, with a performance on November 14, 2016.
Jenna Ushkowitz Activism
Ushkowitz has advocated for multiple causes. In 2012, she posed with Kevin McHale for the NOH8 Campaign, supporting the repeal of Proposition 8 in California which had previously banned same-sex marriages in the state. She has also worked with NYCLASS and Oceana. She is a long time supporter of ocean conservation, due to this she took a trip during summer of 2015 with Oceana to the Channel Islands, in order to raise awareness on the overfishing of forage fish and its effects on their survival. She also hosted the 2015 Nautica Oceana Beach House event. She has made efforts to raise awareness about the declining population of sea lions in California, which was caused by the overfishing of forage fish.