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20 Asian Actresses Born in the 2000s

Written by YumCha! Editorial Team Tell a Friend

Last month, we profiled 20 Asian Actors Born in the 2000s. Now, it's time for the actresses! From fast-rising new-generation starlets to award-winning phenoms who have been acknowledged for their talents since a young age, these post-00s girls are ready to shine.

Meet 20 promising young actresses born in the 2000s!



1. Kamishiraishi Moka
Kamishiraishi Moka entered the entertainment industry in 2011 at the age of 11 as the youngest ever winner of Toho Entertainment's Toho Cinderella audition. Her older sister, Kamishiraishi Mone, was discovered through the same audition. She made her TV acting debut the following year in the WOWOW drama Bunshin, and also began appearing on stage in 2016 with starring roles in productions of Anne of Green Gables, Kiki's Delivery Service and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In 2018, she collaborated onscreen with her sister for the first time in A Forest of Wool and Steel, for which she won a newcomer prize at the Japan Academy Prize. Besides drawing attention as a rising actress with notable roles in dramas like Idaten and Mr. Hiiragi's Homeroom, Kamishiraishi Moka is also building a singing career as adieu, a stage name introduced in 2017 when she sang the theme song of Narratage.



2. Teresa Li
Last year's highly rated series A Little Reunion spotlighted a talented class of new-generation stars to Chinese audiences. Besides Zhou Qi and Liu Jiahui who we covered in our post-2000s actors feature, there's also Teresa Li Gengxi. The 20-year-old actress was signed in 2015 by Xu Jinglei, who personally mentored her for ten months and cast her in the leading role of the fantasy school drama My Classmate from Far Far Away. She also played the young version of Su Qing's character in the 2018 series Never Gone before drawing widespread praise for her portrayal of A Little Reunion's Yingzi, a smart and sensitive high school senior navigating exam pressure and family discord. With her star set to rise, Teresa Li has several other works awaiting release including the school bullying film Never Again, the web series Truth or Dare and the contemporary urban drama Twenty Your Life On.



3. Jung Da Bin
Has the rebellious, materialistic yet sympathetic high schooler Min Hee caught your attention in the hot Netflix teen series Extracurricular? You may have just noticed her recently, but Jung Da Bin has been around for a long time. The Korean actress debuted at the age of five in Wonderful Life and appeared in many popular dramas, such as Iljimae, Celebrity's Sweetheart, Life is Beautiful, Sign and Deep Rooted Tree. She also once went viral for a Baskin Robbins ad. Through the 2015 workplace romcom She Was Pretty, Jung Da Bin began to earn recognition again for her dual roles as the young Hwang Jung Eum and her sister. Her next work, The Flower in Prison, got her Best Young Actress at the 2016 MBC Drama Awards. She continued steadily with The Rebel, My Sassy Girl and Should We Kiss First until her latest standout role in Extracurricular, which contrasts dramatically with her previous characters.



4. Ou Yang Nana
Selected for the Forbes "30 Under 30 Asia" list in 2019, Ou Yang Nana has been known for her musical achievements as a cellist since she was young. She expanded into acting in 2014 with her debut in the romance Beijing Love Story. Her second film, To The Fore, even got her a Best Supporting Actress nod at the 7th Macau International Movie Festival. Main roles in the TV series Yes! Mr. Fashion, as well as the teen melodrama All About Secrets and action comedies Mission Milano and Bleeding Steel, would add to both her popularity and notoriety as a young actress. Since 2018, she has resumed music studies at the Berklee College of Music, but she still occasionally appears on variety programs, not to mention her latest fantasy web drama The Great Ruler with Roy Wang. With Nana constantly trending for nearly everything she does, you just can't deny that she's one of the most famous stars of the new generation!



5. Kim Sae Ron
The "three Kims" of former child actresses – Kim Sae Ron, Kim Yoo Jung, Kim So Hyun – have long been loved for their acting talents and sweet appearances. Kim Yoo Jung and Kim So Hyun were featured in our 25 Asian Actresses Born in the 90s article, and now it's time for Kim Sae Ron who was born in 2000. Now a student at the Performing Arts and Film Studies department of Chung-Ang University, Kim Sae Ron has a shorter filmography compared to the other two but she's made a bigger impact on the silver screen. In 2009, her first acting role as an adopted child in the Lee Chang Dong-produced A Brand New Life garnered awards at two film festivals. She then rose to fame with the 2010 blockbuster The Man from Nowhere and drew further acclaim in 2014's A Girl at My Door. Apart from success in film, Sae Ron has also taken part in TV dramas like The Queen's Classroom, Snowy Road, Secret Healer and Love Playlist Season 4.



6. Kim Hyang Gi
The little grim reaper from Along With the Gods has grown up! Becoming the youngest ever recipient of Best Supporting Actress at the 39th Blue Dragon Film Awards, Kim Hyang Gi is most known for her performance in the Korean fantasy epic blockbuster, but she's pulled off a variety of characters in different genres, ranging from a strong-hearted orphan in Youngju and a shy girl in love in At Eighteen to an autistic teen in Innocent Witness, which brought her two Best Actress awards. In fact, the "Nation's Little Sister" has steadily appeared onscreen since her acting debut in 2006's Heart is… alongside Yoo Seung Ho. She's in a new work almost every year, and a number of them are well-known titles. She's also collaborated often with child actors of the same generation, like with Kim Sae Ron in Snowy Road and The Queen's Classroom, Kim Hwan Hee in Sweet Revenge, and Kim Yoo Jung in the acclaimed Thread of Lies.



7. Hamabe Minami
At the same Toho Cinderella audition that Kamishiraishi Moka won, Hamabe Minami received the New Generation Award, and she soon began appearing in child and supporting roles in titles like Naniwa Shonen Tanteidan, Ace Attorney and The Hours of My Life. She got her first leading role in the 2015 TV adaptation of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, and then followed with the Saki TV series and movie. While these works raised her profile, her breakout came with 2017's sentimental blockbuster Let Me Eat Your Pancreas, which earned her a newcomer award at the 41st Japan Academy Prize and made her the new it girl of her age group. At only 19, she's already a regular leading actress on both the big screen and the small screen with Sensei Kunshu, Kakegurui, Alibi Breaker and the upcoming manga adaptations Love Me, Love Me Not and The Promised Neverland.



8. Jiang Yiyi
Though only 19, Olivia Jiang Yiyi has well over 50 works and 13 years of acting experience under her belt. The former child star began shooting commercials when she was five and made her acting debut in the 2007 melodrama Beautiful Life. She's maintained a steady output since, appearing in dramas every year throughout her childhood and adolescence. She's played child roles in many famous series including Schemes of a Beauty, The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, Swordsman and Lanling Wang, to name a few. Transitioning from child actress to leading actress, the Central Academy of Drama student has risen to increasingly big roles in dramas like Eagles And Youngster, Over the Sea I Come to You and Love of Thousand Years, and she plays the title character in the upcoming Nezha series.



9. Mori Nana
In four short years, Mori Nana has already worked with many of Japan's top directors. The 18-year-old was scouted by her agency in 2016 when she was still a middle school student. Immediately afterwards, she was selected for a web CM directed by Yukisada Isao. She then made her acting debut in 2017 in the web mini-series Tokyo Vampire Hotel directed by Sono Sion. That same year, she also made her film debut in Kumazawa Naoto's The Anthem of the Heart and TV debut in the school drama My High School Business. The pace and pedigree of her filmography has only continued to pick up over the past year with her voice casting as the heroine of Shinkai Makoto's blockbuster Weathering With You and main roles in Shiraishi Koji's Hell Girl and Iwai Shunji's Last Letter, where she is the freshest face in a star-packed cast. Mori Nana even made her major singing debut this year with Last Letter's theme song!



10. Wendy Zhang
Wendy Zhang sent a chill down the backs of millions when she broke out a creepy smile in 2015's Detective Chinatown that upended the film's entire mystery. Since then, she's been a household name, though she's been a familiar face for far longer with over 40 works since 2009. She provided the heartbreaking image of a girl surrounded by ruins in Feng Xiaogang's Aftershock, which won her Best Newcomer at the 2012 Hundred Flowers Awards. She was also the orphan in My Father is Bandeng, Xu Zheng's daughter in Fake Fiction and the "young Zhou Dongyu" in My Old Classmate and The Palace. More recently, the 18-year-old starred in the family hit Take My Brother Away, Please!, the all-star romcom Adoring and Iwai Shunji's Last Letter, which earned her a Golden Horse Best Supporting Actress nomination. Her stint on the reality show Back to Field has only further cemented her status as China's adored little sister.



11. Kiyohara Kaya
Kiyohara Kaya started learned singing and dancing from a young age. When she was 12, she won Amuse Audition Festival 2014 to join one of Japan's largest agencies. She soon made her debut in NHK's asadora drama Asa ga Kita and many more roles would follow. On the small screen, she's played the young version of Ayase Haruka's protagonist character in the NHK epic Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, a spiteful schoolgirl in the Netflix body-swap fantasy Switched, an apprentice nurse in An Invisible Cradle, and a moody teen in the family comedy If Talking Paid. On the big screen as well, the teen actress has been on the fast track with major roles in films like My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday, March Comes in like a Lion, Day and Night and Aiuta: My Promise To Nakuhito. Turning 18 this year, she's set for stardom with a full slate of upcoming films, including The Brightest Roof in the Universe and Matomo Janai no wa Kimi mo Issho.



12. Apichaya Thongkham
Lilly Apichaya Thongkham first entered the spotlight in 2015 as a contestant on Season 2 of The Face Thailand. On the modeling competition program, she was on the team of model/actress Bee Namthip. Less than two years later, she would play Bee's haunted daughter in the horror film The Promise, a debut role that garnered a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 2018 Thailand National Film Association Awards. The teen model and actress, who just turned 18 this month, has since taken main roles in several GMM 25 dramas, including the youth romance Love Songs Love Series: Ja Ruk Reu Ja Rai, the school suspense The Gifted with Nanon, and the comedy Khun Por Jorm Sa in which she plays a girl who poses as a boy to find her long-lost father! Last year, she also appeared in her first Channel 3 lakorn, the award-winning Broken 2.



13. Kim Hwan Hee
Kim Hwan Hee went viral a couple years ago with the line "So what's important?" in the box office hit The Wailing. Her dialect accent, her facial expressions and her portrayal of a cute kid transforming into a devilish killer brought her a round of applause and Best New Actress trophies at the 53rd Daejong Awards and the Korea Film Actors Association Awards. Before her breakout in the horror flick, Kim Hwan Hee mainly appeared in TV dramas. In the span of eight years, she was credited on works like Don't Cry My Love, Invincible Lee Pyung Kang, My One and Only, Reply 1997, You Are the Best! and On the Way to the Airport. As she grows up, the young actress has started to take teenager roles, like in Student A, Sweet Revenge, The Miracle We Met, Beautiful World and When the Weather is Fine. Though she may not be as immediately recognizable as other teen stars, she has surely caught viewers' attention with her talent.



14. Zhao Jinmai
Many may have noticed Angel Zhao Jinmai through the 2016 family drama A Love for Separation, but did you know that she actually debuted in the 2010 series Not Without a Mother and appeared in the kids comedy Balala the Fairies? Now one of the hottest young actresses in China, Zhao Jinmai has made a name for herself in the last four years by portraying coming-of-age characters in a number of dramas including My! Physical Education Teacher, Love is the Source of Joy, Growing Pain and A Little Thing Called First Love. Three years after starring in two Balala the Fairies movies, the rising actress also returned to the silver screen in the touching Take My Brother Away with Wendy Zhang. Her role as Han Duoduo in the 2019 sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth has even earned her the title of the "youngest female lead with 4 billion ticket sales"!



15. Sakurada Hiyori
After starting out as a child model, Sakurada Hiyori began acting in 2012, and soon found herself in fairly big roles for a child actor. She was one of the orphanage kids with Ashida Mana in the 2014 series Ashita Mama ga Inai and a key character in Wild Heroes, and she had major roles in films like The Furthest End Awaits, Poison Berry in My Brain and Tokyo Ghoul. In 2016, she took on her first leading role in the TV drama Saki Achiga-hen: Episode of Side-A as well as its movie. Now 17 years old, Sakurada Hiyori is busier than ever as a rising star of the Japanese industry. Just last year, she appeared in five TV dramas and the high-profile films Tokyo Ghoul S and Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, and this year, she's in the title role of the new Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles series.



16. Vicky Chen
In 2017, then 14-year-old Vicky Chen became the youngest ever to win Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Horse Film Awards for her role as the daughter of a ruthless fixer in The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful. That same year, she also received a Best Actress nomination for Angels Wear White, where she plays a runaway teen who witnesses a child molestation case, and co-starred in the crime thriller The Liquidator as a strong-willed girl who meets an unpleasant end. While child actors are usually viewed through the lens of child characters and stories, Vicky Chen has already become famous for playing dark and complex characters that are both victims and players in the violence and cruelty of the adult world. Hailed as an acting wunderkind, she not only holds her own among older actors in arthouse fare, she can also fit right in among peers in populist productions like the youth adventure Eagles and Youngster.



17. Park Ji Hu
Unlike other child actors who may have already accumulated a long list of works over the past decade, Park Ji Hu has made herself known with just one film – House of Hummingbird. In the indie drama, Park Ji Hu plays a middle school student on a coming-of-age journey in search of someone to understand her, until she meets a teacher who is meant to be her soulmate. Park Ji Hu won four Best New Actress awards for her portrayal of a desolate soul in her first leading role. Before House of Hummingbird, the young star previously made brief appearances in the films Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned, Fabricated City and The Witness, as well as dramas like Sweet Revenge 2 and Beautiful World. Park Ji Hu may be a rather new name, but based on her performance in House of Hummingbird, you can definitely expect to see her in more K-Dramas and movies in the future.



18. Lee Jae In
If The Wailing was Kim Hwan Hee's signature work, then Lee Jae In's would undoubtedly be Svaha: The Sixth Finger. As the female protagonist of the mystery thriller, Lee Jae In left a strong impression with mature acting skills that made her stand out among the Best New Actress nominees at the 55th Baeksang Arts Awards. With eight years of experience in the industry, Lee Jae In broke into the mainstream by slowly gaining recognition from Six Flying Dragons, Horror Stories III, I Can Speak, Adulthood and the JTBC family drama Beautiful World. All the characters she played in recent years – be it Geum Hwa in Svaha, Choon Hee in The Battle: Roar to Victory, Kyung Un who learns about family love in Adulthood, or introverted bullying victim Dong Hee in Beautiful World – have shaped Lee Jae In into a rising actress with unlimited possibilities.



19. Ashida Mana
In 2010, a 6-year-old girl named Ashida Mana stole the hearts of everyone in Japan with her tear-jerking performance as an abused child in the TV series Mother. The following year, she made us all want to adopt her in Bunny Drop, and even set records with Marumo no Okite's hit theme song Maru Maru Mori Mori. Adorable, expressive and able to cry on command, Mana-chan was uncannily good as a child. As the young Mako Mori, she made you believe kaiju were real in Pacific Rim. In The Round Table and Rugged, she charmed with her precocious eccentricity. In Ashita, Mama ga Inai and Liar Game: Reborn, she unsettled with a dark, cunning undertone. Now 15, Mana-chan is no longer on TV all the time, but the beloved actress is growing up gracefully and still very much active, be it voicing animation, co-starring in Yamada Takayuki's Cannes mockumentary, narrating NHK's Manpuku, or MCing her own variety program.



20. Ancy Deng
After participating in the children's program Ying Xiong Shao Nian Zhen in 2015, Ancy Deng Enxi officially began her acting career in 2016 with a key role in the Chinese film adaptation of The Devotion of Suspect X. Since that fairly high-profile debut, she has found herself in good company in every work, be it alongside other top young stars in the web series Boy Hood and Never Stand Still or among experienced actors in the sleeper hit Cool Fish and Iwai Shunji's Last Letter. Those who don't know her age may be surprised to learn that the budding actress only just recently turned 15, because she exudes a calm maturity beyond her age. This year, she has already impressed audiences with her performances in two very different dramas – the Detective Chinatown web series where she plays Roy Chiu's cat-whisperer sister and the period fantasy The Road of Awakening where she plays Arthur Chen's younger sister.





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Published May 28, 2020


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