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Jessie Mei Li is a popular television actress who is recognized for her starring role as Alina Starkov on the series Shadow and Bone which is based on ‘Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows’ by Leigh Bardugo. In Edgar Wright’s 2021 film Last Night in Soho, Li plays Lara Chung. Her professional stage debut took place at the Noel Coward Theatre in February 2019 where she played Claudia Casswell in ‘All About Eve’ alongside Gillian Anderson and Lily James in the production directed and adapted for the stage by Ivo van Hove. She has also appeared on Locked Up Abroad and Strangers.
Who Is Jessie Mei Li?
- Place of birth – Brighton, East Sussex
- Ethnicity – English and Chinese
- Childhood home – Redhill, Surrey
- Siblings – one older brother
- Sexuality – queer and identifies as a gender-nonconforming person.
- Jessie Mei Li’s religion is Christian.
Jessie Mei Li Education
- Attended Reigate College from 2010 to 2012
- Started studying French and Spanish at the University of Sussex, but eventually dropped out
Jessie Mei Li Career
Worked as a teaching assistant for children with special needs at a secondary school for nearly two years. Joined the National Youth Theatre in 2015. Trained part-time at Identity School of Acting from 2016 to 2017
Jessie Mei Li Family
Jessie Mei Li was born in Brighton, East Sussex to an English mother and a Chinese father who were raised in Hong Kong. Li uses both the she/her and the they/them pronouns. She was raised in Brighton, East Sussex. Their family came from Redhill, Surrey, and the older brother of the couple grew up in the town as well.
Jessie Mei Li Moives
- Together, They Smoke
- All About Eve
- Last Night in Soho
- Havoc (2023)
- Pork Scratchings (TBA)
- Kukeri (TBA)
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Jessie Mei Li In ‘Shadow and Bone’
In October 2019, Li was confirmed be playing the lead role of Alina Starkov in the Netflix series Shadow and Bone. In the beginning Li was hesitant to audition for the role of Alina Starkov, whose ethnicity for this show has been altered from white to mixed race, citing concerns that the change was being made in order to meet a diversity requirement for the show.
After considering the importance of representing a variety of backgrounds within the show, Li decided to audition, ultimately landing the role. During the audition process, Li observed that the change in Starkov’s ethnicity “wasn’t just a diversity box ticker” and “was something to help build the world and to help build her character.”
For the show, she also wrote on her Instagram, ‘We’ve been bzzzzzy 🐝 season 2 press and premiere! Now this lil sensitive kitty gotta go to bed for a while…. Big kisses for @hollyevawhite @samuelpaulartist @maisonvalentino for making me look and feel like a bad bitch 🖤 ~ look at my gorgeous wives, WOMEN, the incredible s&b cast, our creators and their crows, press day lewks, and ofc missing the man himself @archierenaux3 🏹 repping the Mal buzzcut in your absence! Thank you every one for such a joyful night – not long now til March 16th 😈 xxxx’.
Top 12 Facts About Jessie Mei Li
- Jessie Mei Li can speak Spanish but so fluent in that.
- She doesn’t like to eat vegetables much.
- Her shoe size is 260mm.
- She admits that she did teeth laminated (just for her two front teeth), but she didn’t do any plastic surgery.
- She loves to read.
- She is a sleep-talker.
- She loves to go to karaoke.
- She emphasized the importance of nuanced portrayals of Asians in media.
- When she is very busy, she can do 60 interviews per day.
- Her favorite color is pink.
- She was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.
- She has spoken about the lack of positive Asian and biracial representation on television and in films when she grew up.
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