Shirley Chen is a Los Angeles-based artist and actress hoping to use art to tell diverse narratives and incite social change. With a strong background in stage and screen acting, her interests include Arts Advocacy, Graphic Design, and Film Production.
In 2018, Shirley began studying at Harvard University, majoring in History & Literature with a focus in Asian-American Studies and Theater, Dance, and Media. During her time in college, Shirley developed a passion for exploring the intersection of arts and culture with historical and social context, particularly interested in the modes by which art intersects with Chinese-American history. As a freshman at the university, Shirley became one of six women selected to join the first ever co-ed cast of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical company in America and the third oldest in the world.
Shirley's theatrical interest began at a young age, first sparked after watching her brother perform in high school plays. Her television credits include ABC's "Speechless" (2017), Disney XD's "Gamer's Guide" (2016), and NBC's "Parenthood" (2014). In 2018, she received the "Special Jury Recognition for Acting in a Narrative Short" award at South by Southwest Film Festival for her title role in the short "Krista." She reprises her role as Krista in the feature film BEAST BEAST, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival 2020.
Since then, Shirley has explored various artistic opportunities, working as an intern at the SXSW and Sundance award-winning independent film production company Vanishing Angle and as a Learning Lab Undergraduate Fellow at the Derek Bok Center primarily studying graphic design. In Summer 2020, she interned at the Pao Arts Center in Boston, designing promotional graphics and collaborating with a Boston-based AAPI artist network, and worked as the head graphic designer for We Love Boston Chinatown, a resilience campaign calling to support Chinatown businesses during COVID-reopening conditions.
In 2019, Shirley was selected by The Los Angeles Post for the "Top 10 Outstanding Chinese Youth Award" for her academic and artistic achievements and endeavors.