These days it seems like there’s a shortage of young blood to carry on the legacy of the female martial artists of yore. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Juju Chan (陳鈺芸) is one the brightest prospects that might just be up for the task
"It’s time to revive Hong Kong martial arts films, especially with girls,” says martial arts champion and actress Juju Chan. Dubbed the ‘female Bruce Lee’, Chan seems destined to be the next big female action star, having just starred in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2 alongside Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen.
Her martial arts career began with judo when she was just a spritely 10-year-old. From there, she picked up hung kuen, taekwondo, Wing Chun and Thai kickboxing. Chan is no one trick pony. In 2013 she became a champion in the female black belt pattern category in the China Open Championship, a victory she followed up by winning the World Muay Thai Council’s 2014 46kg Thai boxing championship. This girl has got some serious skills and it doesn’t stop there. She’s not just beauty and brawn, she’s also quite the academic having received a computer science degree from the University of San Francisco and also a master’s degree in film and TV from NYU.
“My parents really didn’t want me to go into entertainment,” says Chan. “But I want to explore different things before it’s too late in case I have regrets 10 years later.”
Ultimately, she wants to be known for having real fighting skills, not just as someone that can follow action choreography. “When I compete in taekwondo I chose the ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) route because it doesn’t require pads like in WTF (World Taekwondo Federation),” declares Chan. “When you land a hit, you really land a hit. I don’t like amateur fights. People sometimes think I’m really hardcore.”
Having just signed to Sun Entertainment talent management company, we’re likely to see much more of Chan very soon. “I don’t want to do what people have already done,” she says. “As an action actress you have to learn different styles of martial arts. That’s what Bruce Lee did. He’s my role model, but I’m also going to carve out my own path.”