Actress + playwright
Actor (Theater, TV, Film, Commercials, Voice Over, Print modeling), Playwright & solo performance artist, Coach and educator in the arts, entertainment and acting. Consultant to Korea related projects.
TED, University of Michigan (King/Chavez/Parks Visiting Professorship), USC (The Center for Asian-Pacific Leadership NetKAL fellow), Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG), American Federal TV & Radio Association (AFTRA), Yale Alumni Assoc., Aspen Socrates
Esther K. Chae Acting Reel
Esther K. Chae Commercial Reel
? – present
Project Website »
Esther K. Chae is an award-winning actor/writer based in Los Angeles and New York. Her artistic work has been seen and heard in the US, Korea, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Italy and Russia. Her numerous credits as a performer include TV shows NCIS, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 24, The Shield, Night Stalker; and theatre stages such as Yale Repertory Theater, La Mama, Mark Taper Forum/ Kirk Douglas Theater, P.S. 122 and Harvard/A.R.T. Chae's performances have been lauded as "talented" (Variety), "engaging" (Hollywood Reporter) - and "the willowy actress [with] subtle physicality" (LA Times). Her life in Hollywood has been featured in a Korean Broadcasting Station (KBS) documentary. Her most recent solo performance So the Arrow Flies, about a North Korean spy and the FBI Agent who hunts her down, was invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival ("a powerful and compelling script... fascinatingly gripping" - ThreeWeeks Magazine), Ars Nova Theater Festival (NY) , World Women's Forum (Seoul), TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference of which she is an inaugural fellow, CUNY's Martin Segal Theater and NYU's Performance Studies. The play is being adapted into a film script incorporating live performance and animation. Chae graduated from the Yale School of Drama with an MFA in Acting, the University of Michigan with an MA in Theater Studies, and Korea University. Chae's honors include: • 2010 Asian American Trail Blazer Award by NYS Governor Paterson • 2010 University of Michigan Emerging Artist Alumni Award & King/Chavez/Parks Visiting UM Professorship • 2007 Korean Wave Asian Star Award
My first English utterance was 'pizza!' while folding a napkin into a triangle after a pizzeria visit in Eugene. Spicy stir fried rice cake called 'ddu-bok-gi' in Korean. 3 things that I must have in my cupboard, otherwise I get anxious: red wine, chocolate and kimchee. (tho never together)
A funny story about me:
Esther is my real name given to me at birth by my Dad. My Korean name Kyung-ju (Celebrating Pearl) by my grandfather. I am neither Christian nor Jewish (Buddhist philosophy follower, in fact), but my Dad who was a big film buff and also professional swimmer was apparently in love with Esther Williams. I mean who wouldn’t be, she would blossom out of a huge seahorse chariot, smile that perfect pin-up girl smile, plunge into the water half naked and resurface to water dance in perfect unison with thousands of other leggy synchronize swimmers and THEN magically start to light fire and sprout water in a swimming pool???!!! The other choice for my name would have been after Hedy Lamarr. Hedy Chae would have been too funny. Or weird. I can see many more creative taunts than my usual “Easter Bunny Chae” or “Esther is a Pester.” But the goal of course is to inspire a few girls of the next generation to be named Esther or even better- Kyung-ju. To see a blue-eyed, blond girl named Kyung-ju, now THAT would be interesting.