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 BONAFIDE STAR: BRENDA SONG
   By Wameng Moua
Published Thursday, September 22, 2005
 

You’ve probably seen her in one of your favorite teen hits like “Like Mike” or the comedy-mystery “Get A Clue” where she starred alongside Lindsay Lohan.

 

Or perhaps you’ve seen her in the Disney Channel’s current hit sitcom, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” where she plays a spoiled hotel heiress named “London”.

 

Chances are you’ve seen Brenda Song dozens of times, but did you know that this teen sensation is Hmong?

 

Yes, Song is her real last name. Her grandparents, from the Xiong clan, chose to spell it that way when they came to America.

 

Often mistaken for either being Chinese or Korean, Brenda is proud of her Hmong and Thai heritage and continues to partake in activities within the Hmong community whenever she can find the time.

 

Born and raised in the Sacramento area, Brenda and her family go back each winter for the Hmong New Year.

 

Now residing in the Los Angeles area where she and her family have lived since she was nine-years-old, Brenda has come a long, long way since her first break in the showbiz world when she was cast for a “Little Caesar Pizza” commercial.

 

She was kind enough to take a break from shooting on the set of her current project, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” to speak with us via telephone:

 

Hmong Today: What do you consider yourself, Hmong or Asian?

Brenda Song: We’re all Americans, really. I think that’s why there’s so much division and turmoil sometimes, because people are always categorizing each other. I’m proud to be Hmong, but I’m more focused on being American.

 

In this business, it doesn’t matter what culture you are from.

 

HT: Do you still speak Hmong?

BS: My dad makes us (brothers Timmy, 15, and Nathan, 9) speak Hmong at home because he feels it is important for us to be able to communicate with my grand parents and for us to keep our culture.

 

My mom is Thai, but she was adopted by a Hmong family, so she speaks Hmong fluently as well.

 

 

HT: How would you describe the life of a movie star?

BS: I absolutely love my job! Even though there are times when I will work 12 – 14 hour days, I am still so thankful that I get to live out my dream every single day of my life.

Acting is something I’ve always had ambitions to pursue. I can still remember putting mascara on when I was just two-years-old!

 

HT: Are you a part of the Hollywood party scene that is often portrayed in magazines and tabloids?

BS: Besides Hollywood grand-openings and award shows, I try to stay away from the parties. It’s so easy to be swept away from that whole scene because it’s expected of you.

I’ve never drank or smoked in my entire life, but I’ve seen 15-year-olds drinking and smoking and I just think that’s gross.

 

HT: What do you do during your off time?

BS: Mostly I try to spend as much time with my family as possible. My schedule can be hectic at times making it a challenge to spend time with each other.

For hobbies, I play basketball and golf. I’m beginning to learn how to play tennis, which is fun. I love the Lakers!

 

And you know, regular girl stuff like hang out with my friends, going shopping and stuff like that.

 

 

HT: How do you fit an education in with your schedule?

BS: Actually, I graduated high school two years early. Currently I’m taking courses at a community college and online courses from UC-Berkeley. I’m majoring in psychology, mainly because I’m interested in it, but also so I can learn how to get into the different roles I play.

 

I take my education very seriously because they can take away your career,  your money, your cute boyfriend, but they can never take away your knowledge.

One day I wont be in this business and I’ll need something to fall back on.

 

HT: What kind of car do you drive?

BS: That’s a funny question because I don’t have a car yet. I haven’t found the time to go select a car, that’s all. People are always asking me why I just don’t get a car, but really, I just haven’t got the time yet.

 

 

HT: Do you feel the “Hollywood” pressure to stay thin?

BS: I’m just a nobody, really. I am what I am. If I have a booty, sorry, I love eating pizza and ice cream at nights!

Every girl faces the weight issue, I think. It’s not just a Hollywood thing to be thin, it’s a societal issue that everybody faces.

 

HT: What’s your dream role?

BS: Cant really think of one. I love playing all sorts of different roles because I love the challenge. It’s hard to say which role I’ve liked the best because I’ve had such a wide variety of roles and I’ve loved each one.

 

HT: Do you still get nervous when you go for auditions?

BS: Actually, I haven’t had to audition for quite a while now. I’ve worked my way to where directors know my abilities and can be hired by reputation.

 

 

 

 

HT: Are you mostly cast when they need an Asian girl?

BS: That’s the thing, most of the roles I’ve gotten didn’t have race specified when they wrote the character.

 

Being Hmong, I’ve worked twice as hard as others just to prove I’m a good actress even though my hair isn’t blonde and my eyes aren’t blue. Usually, they take a look at me and they have to think twice because I wasn’t what they had envisioned when they wrote that character.

 

I think the only role that called for an Asian girl was for the Bernie Mac Show.

 

HT: How much longer do you think you’ll be acting?

BS: As long as they continue to hire me, I’ll continue to act. You never know in this business.

 

HT: What sort of advice do you have for those teens out there who want to follow in your footsteps?

BS: Believe in yourself. Believe in what you’re doing. And take advice from the people who are helping to guide your life because life is a big huge learning process.

If a little girl from Sacramento can be living out her dreams, anybody from anywhere can make it too! 

 

 

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------

 

You may have seen Brenda in...

FILM

Stuck in the Suburbs                             Lead                Disney

Like Mike                                             Lead               20th Century Fox

Get A Clue                                           Lead                Disney

The Ultimate Christmas Present             Lead                Disney

Blade                                                    Featured          New Line Cinema

Game In The Sun                                  Lead                Brian Hauan/Director

The White Fox                                      Lead                Elizabeth Sung/AFI

Leave It To Beaver                               Featured           Universal

Santa With Muscles                              Featured           Santa Productions Inc.

Requiem                                               Lead                 Elizabeth Sung/AFI

                       

TELEVISION

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Series   Regular  Disney Channel

Phil of the Future                                   Recurring             Disney Channel

The George Lopez Show                      Guest Star            ABC

That’s So Raven                                   Guest Star            Disney Channel

The Bernie Mac Show                          Guest Star            Fox

Judging Amy                                         Co-Star               CBS

ER                                                        Guest Star            NBC

7th Heaven                                            Guest Star           WB

MAD TV                                              Co-Star               FOX

Popular                                                 Co-Star               FOX

The Tonight Show                                 Skit w/ Jay Leno  NBC

Thunder Alley                                        Recurring             ABC

 

 

 

AWARDS      

  • Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Actress: “The Ultimate Christmas Present” (2000)
  • Nominated Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Actress: “The Bernie Mac Show” (2002)

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • In the 9th Grade, Brenda was named an “All American Scholar”.
  • Brenda also holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do!
  • Brenda still lives at home with her parents.

Check Brenda Song's official website out: www.brendasongsite.com

 TELL US YOUR OPINION: »
Talkback: Post your comment here.
  Oh boy!? Not another hmong wanting to live in the...  - Sup?
  Wait a minute?! In, "Like Mike," she...  - Hmm?
  Oh really! I watch her shows all the time but...  - NOu Xiong
  hot. holla this way.  - neeg zoo nraug
  I think it's a good idea to keep Hmong last name...  - Brenda's Fan
  Awesome! She's so darn cute and so real.  - Sandy Xiong
  A couple of you posters are just ignorant...  - Tengo Lor
  Whoa! I watch her shows couple of times never...  - Mary Grace Lee
  I hope that she develops her talent to be a...  - supporter
  hey i'm proud of you girl...not everyone gets a...  - Toua Khang
  I agree with Tengo Lor. We should praise those...  - TK
  She's Beautiful!! A lot of hmong girls are...  - 
  Awesome job so far Brenda. Keep it up!!  - Joe Vang
  Brenda, I Love You ! Rememebr a good work and be...  - Dreammate
  First Hmong to break into Hollywood? I think so....  - Hmong Lee
  I highly doubt that Brenda has time in her busy...  - In a state of wonderment--literally
  Wow!! way to go Brenda. I didn't know that she...  - another fan
  Why are HMONG people still so ... JUDGEMENTAL?...  - Hmoob Oregon
  To Sup!, stop hating mang. It's people like you...  - Vang
  TO BRENDA!!!! there are gonna be alot of hmong...  - brenda's fan
  Why can't we just all get along! Who cares if...  - hmoob PA
  oh my gosh!!! this is soo unbelievable...i...  - maycie
  hello there =]. i'm a pretty big fan you can...  - Anjoo Vang
  Hey with the way things are going in the hmong...  - 
  Brenda, are you reading this? Anyway, oh gosh!...  - Jennifer Yang
  I heard she was hmong but then I couldn't believe...  - 
  Just another hmong. Just like Ashlee.  - Justin Credible
  i love you brenda!! aaaaaaaaah!! brenda your the...  - m1na
  i never would've figured..but that's awesome...we...  - tengly
  Why is it important to note that Brenda is Hmong...  - Chance
  It's cool to be all Americanize but it's sad that...  - Don't look back
  Hey!wazzup!keep in touch?  - adrian mcblade
  hey brenda do you like your job i think you are...  - kathy shing ying yang
  Cute, Sexy, Hot, and Hmong? One word: Perfect.  - Anonymous
  Hey Brenda Song my 9 year old niece loves your...  - Mai Vang High School Teacher
  You are such a cutie pie...love your fashion...  - Mai
  Dumbass. Just by being Hmong and doing what she's...  - Way to go girl...
  Brenda,Marry me Brenda!  - John
  im brenda's cousin! yeah...i miss her soOo...  - May Lee
  Wow...I think this is the first time, I have seen...  - 
  OH wow! I didn't know you were hmong!! That's...  - Elizabeth Vang
  Since Brenda has the Hmong blood in her, she will...  - Hmong Xiong
  omg ur hmong same here!! i always watch ur shows!!  - khaypha xening sandra kue
  Hey Hmong Xiong! Are you jealous or something? ...  - Hmong Yang
  It's good knowing that a Hmong make it to the...  - 
  Hello everyone. Thank you for all the support and...  - Brenda Song
  WOW...great job! You've worked really hard to be...  - sc
  Hmong Xiong's comment. Brenda's real last name is...  - MNgirl
  Hmong Xiong, I know some Hmong family in my town,...  - Go Brenda!!!
  Brenda, have you seen the smash hit "Jingle...  - lil g
  Whats up Brenda, if you are reading this then i...  - Josh
  Sup's right?! Another typical girl!Prove me wrong...  - Sup dawg
  hi, this is jet li, wow i never knew you were...  - jet li
  Brenda, you are the choosen one, the most cute...  - Hmongboy
  wow! my 8 yr old daughter watches the suite life...  - xyv
  Congrats to you Brenda Song! When I first heard...  - SL
  YOU GO GIRL... I DON'T WATCH " THE SUITE...  - FAN FROM SACRAMENTO
  Good Job Brenda...you worked so hard and made...  - Mai Ntxoo Song
  hi brenda, i am a distant uncle of you. I just...  - uncle xiong
  Listen everyone we don't need to judge or say...  - MODERN HMONG CAB FAB
  Im proud to see that your up there doing good.  - 
  wow.. a nice sophisticated hmong women. so are u...  - Jimmy
  To Sup? your top comment about Brenda being...  - 
  Hey Cuz, I just wanted to drop by and say Hi. So...  - SongSister
  She is? How come I never saw her on TV or...  - Sup here
  MY Goodness! Please make sure you know the...  - CORRECT TERM FOR WOMAN/WOMEN
  To Brenda: If you're reading this, I just wanted...  - Mitch Lee - Hmong Parent
  Hello Brenda and Family! This is your cousin...  - Kai Lee
  HEY BRENDA!! WOW!! IT'S SO COOL TO KNOW THAT...  - Miss Ia Yang =P
  i sorry,but i don't really be proud of people not...  - pure 100% Hmong
  hi..good job you had done!  - dl
  hi..god bless all!  - cd
  Where in the Hell did she do her show? Is it on...  - Calfornia
  Wow, I thought she was Chinese or Korean. Now,...  - Lord1
  She seems like a great girl but is it just me or...  - ms.Ka*e
  To all the haters...get a life!! It's no wonder...  - Stephanie
  I jsut want to say just because she said she is...  - 
  WTF!!! IF you are hmong why don't you represent?...  - 
  this girl can take angela vang to school any day...  - 
  hey girl you are so cool because i am a Xiong...  - tommy
  OMG! I didn't she was Hmong. I watched the show...  - Blia Vue
  She is not Pure Blooded Hmong! She is somewhere...  - Mix Breed
  hEY, BRENDA. i'M WRITING A FILM FOR YOU TO ACT. ...  - Xiong
  hey HEY! i knew there was somethin really awesome...  - Jessica Vang
  Man hmong people can be so ignorant. Don't you...  - angry guy
  Man, When I found out that she was hmong..i still...  - paddy herr
  please,talented Hmong people,remember not to...  - original Xiong or Siong
  Some of you people are dumb. As if you freaks go...  - 
  Song and Xiong are just a pronounciation from...  - Cha, Chad, chan or Chang
  hey Brenda,guess wat.. im ur neice from Nancy...  - destiny thao
  What is the matter with you people? nws tsis...  - Brenda's Biggest Fan
  hey girl! I never knew that you were hmong.I...  - jenny vang
  If you work hard with an optimistic attitude, it...  - 
  Congratulations. Enough about you, now bring our...  - Paaj Kwm
  Why do Brenda's relatives keep writing personal...  - Just a Hmong guy
  sup brenda...ur kute!.....luv ur acting.....  - teng
  Brenda, don't mind the negative comments. ...  - TserwaYia Thao
  i feel so bad for her because most people here...  - Jamie
  no doubt, i am ecstatic to see a hmong girl make...  - yeah yeah
  cuteness.  - johnny
  --WOAHZ! that is SOOO totallie COOL! I watch her...  - 
  you peoples are "haters"! straiught...  - hmongpeoplehavenoloveforhmongsnomore?
  Brenda, keep doing what you love to do!! Your...  - Mai
  I think it's great that we have people like...  - maisoua
  hey i never knew you were hmong, i thought you...  - marissa vang
  HOW COME I NEVER SEE BRENDA IN ALL TH MOVIES...  - YOUR LADY
  wow...a hmong girl...i see her shows...  - Amanda Yang
  Brenda you are so cool and it's amazing that...  - ellie hemingway
  Wow, Brenda Song is so hot looking. Wish I was an...  - 
  I completely admire you! I really want to become...  - Pantelan Yang
  Brenda Song used to have a Yahoo Group where she...  - hmoobarbie
  hey brenda i admire your work and knowing that we...  - Kellie Xiong
  hello miss brendaomg i realli admire yew realli...  - lisa vang
  hey breada, i never thought that asian girl in...  - birdy vang
  wow I watcHed the tv show "the sute life of...  - jeanie vang
  hey cuz!! mann i just want to congradulate you on...  - songcusins
  Hi Brenda! I admire you so much! I wonder if you...  - Kimmy Pham
  BRENDA UR MY #1 CELEBRITY FOR ALL TIME!  - FuE hEr
  Brenda your gonna be such a big role model to the...  - FuE hEr
  Hey! I knew you were hmong! Yeah people were all...  - Molly Hang
  dang she hella hot  - ?
  Hi, My named is Jason Yang... and I'm very proud...  - Jason Yang
  thas' cool that chu's HMONG* haha.. i give you...  - Lily Vang
  Hey, whoa it would be so cool if you were to like...  - Edgar (insert name here)
  Hey Brenda! I didn't know that you were...  - Another FAN of yours!!
  Hey, if your readin this, just forget all the...  - 479 Girl
  hey you guys. the reason people in the hmong...  - Annonymous
  Wow, I never really knew that Brenda was Hmong. ...  - Mai Chong Xiong
  i couldn't believe it myself buttah eh its true...  - Sean
  I'm gald to see that there is a hmong girl that...  - Sai Xiong
  hi, abrenda. i'm so proud of you. you'r all hmong...  - hmong lao guy
  hey brenda im a hmong xiong. how did you get your...  - yer xiong
  Hi there, Brenda! You are a great inspiration...  - Lyta Vue Louangsabouth
  it's really cool to have someone like brenda in...  - Jackie Chan
  I was stunned dang...girlfriend u go all the...  - Nini Moua
  Nyob zoo! (The Only Hmong spelling I can spell)I...  - bryant vang
  i never knew that Brenda song was hmong... well...  - Shua Micki Thao
  ey wassup cuss...wow u gots lots of...  - Kia Xiong
  Looks like some people here are feeling a little...  - 
  i love your shows espechilly when u r london.  - Summer
  hey..I think you are such a good actress..I...  - Manivan Song (Xiong)
  I'm such a big fan of Brenda Song. I want to meet...  - Neena
  oh my gosh, i'm such a big fan of Brenda. I watch...  - Valerie Vang
  Don't hate someone just because they are mix,...  - toy soldier
  I was told this chick was hmong by one of my...  - woah
  hey brenda im hmong too i think u r so kool to...  - omee herr
  Brenda is sooooooo pretty! I love her acting as...  - Kat
  Hi Brenda...i'm a hmong Xiong too..and my we...  - Manivan Song
  nyoob zoo (i think that's how u spell it.... i...  - Xai Lor
  Funny..I was just watching the Asian Excellence...  - Betty Yang
  You're beautiful. You're beautiful. You're...  - JESSE
  This comment is for Brenda. Keep doing what...  - Alexandra Vang
  hey! omg i am so surprised..i would never in a...  - Kristine Her
  heyyyy miss brenda song... u inspire me sooo...  - nina moua
  Hey Brenda, I'm Hmong and Thai too.You are the...  - Nancy Lee
  oh my god you rock brenda song im your #1 fan for...  - Isabella
  WOW!!!She's my cousin!She's related to me because...  - Phylicia yang
  Brenda Song, simply breathtaking!!!!  - 
  OMG!!!!! ahmong as a celebrity.. i love you.....  - emily pafoua thao
  I think Brenda is a great actress and I love to...  - Suphawadi
  How she become famous?  - miss.adorable
  Hi ima 13 year old boy that is a bigg fan of u. i...  - Kato Lee
  hi brenda..i think you r so kool. ur one uv mah...  - Prany Sinarong
  Hey cuz you don't know me but were cuz. what a...  - Cedes
  I love you so ,uch brenda song!!!!!!!! plez when...  - tomis
  hey you're the first hmong mixed to be on...  - 
  WOW!!I AM SO PROUD THAT ONE OF MY KIND IS...  - LUCY LEE
  Brenda Song, If your'e in Oceanside, come see...  - 
  Brenda Song, If your'e in Oceanside, come see...  - Nicolas Ward
  ey thea brenda wow so your a hmong huh.. welp...  - 
  hey brenda...im hmong like you too...i never knew...  - Sheng lee
  I love you Brenda SOng. You are such a good...  - Your biggest Fan
  brenda. are you in a relationship? jw =D  - michael lee siong
  Brenda you are by far the cutest =)  - amy
  Hey!girl! what's up i just want to tell you that...  - chi xiong
  Wow. Didn't even know you were Hmong. That sure...  - Peter Xiong
  Hey Brenda!You're cool! Anyways what are you...  - Plia
  wow! brenda song is actually hmong! that's so...  - Steph Thao
  I think it's really cool that you're Hmong,...  - N/A
  Wow!!! I LOVE the suite life of zack and cody!!!...  - blobo
  Hey, well it's Brenda alright. I give you props...  - Za Lor
  nice page..  - Cindy Xiong
  Brenda, do you have a boyfriend?If you do,...  - Big Brenda Fanatic
  OMG !!! I amdire you Brenda..You're so beautiful...  - Pa Nhia Vang
  Hey Brenda!!Im your BIGGEST fan!You can ask any...  - Bunthea Khoeuth
  I thought you were the most beautiful young lady...  - Justin Trefney
  Why did your grandparents decide to spell it Song...  - Debbie Thao
  I would like to be an actress one day too. I...  - Macy
  dis is Jew-well tell u go on and do what u do...  - Kevin Deon Smith J.r
  hi, i never thought that u were hmong... but...  - Doua Yang
  Brenda you should post up some pictures of...  - Lee Lady
  hey brenda...damn u look good for a xiong gurl...  - rickey xiong
  dang brenda u look good for a hmong xiong hehe im...  - rickey xiong
  My 8 year old loves this show alot,I myself...  - Laura Saephan Vang
  i love the way you play in the suite life of zack...  - hayed kure
  Hellow...jux wanted to say keep it up. its nice...  - Choua Vang
  wow..i watch your show with my little brother and...  - sandee xiong
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