Real World made Jamie Chung’s Samurai Girl casting “more challenging”

Tonight, ABC Family debuts its new six-hour scripted mini-series Samurai Girl, and its star is a familiar face to MTV viewers: The Real World San Diego‘s Jamie Chung. The TV show is an adaptation of Carrie Asai’s book series; Chung plays the title character, the “sole survivor of a plane crash” after “ninjas attack her wedding and kill her brother,” according to the network.

While her time on MTV’s reality series made her recognizable, it didn’t make it easier for her to get cast. “If anything, it made it more challenging. When I would go in to audition, they wanted to make sure I was taking it seriously. Someone from a reality background would blow it off. That’s the stereotype. Acting is something that I always wanted to do. I did plays in middle school, high school and college, but it was drilled into me get an education and climb the corporate ladder,” Jamie told the Boston Herald.

She told the Wall Street Journal something similar, saying her time on the show “didn’t really help me out. They’d think, ‘Oh, it’s another reality girl.’”

The three-episode mini-series, which airs tonight, Saturday, and Sunday, and on which Jamie performed some stunts, may or may not get picked up for a full season, but Jamie told the Herald, “I’m grateful to be one of the few Asian actors with a job. And I would like to play a part where color of skin doesn’t matter. What I really want to do is have a lasting career in this industry.”

Jamie Chung fought hard for ‘Samurai Girl’ role [Boston Herald]
Teen Drama, With a Twist [Wall Street Journal]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.