The Suite Life
“Shoot for the moon. If you fall you might catch a star.” Brenda Song
Acting by age 5, actress Brenda Song is currently popular among TV audiences as London Tipton, the rich and spoiled teenage hotel heiress, on the Disney Channel original series “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005-Present). One of the Disney Channel's biggest stars, she has also appeared in such shows as "7th Heaven," "ER," "Judging Amy," "Popular," "That so Raven," "George Lopez" and "The Bernie Mac Show," as well as the made-for-television movies The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000), Get a Clue (2002; opposite Lindsay Lohan), Stuck in the Suburbs (2004) and Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006; she played the title role). She was a panelist on “Small Talk” and also had a starring role on the series “100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd.”
“I live out my dream everyday when I go to work. As long as I keep working, I’m happy.” Brenda Strong
On the big screen, the 5' 1¾" actress with a husky voice could be seen in the films Santa with Muscles (1996), Leave It to Beaver (1997) and Like Mike (2002).
“The sky's the limit. Reach for the stars. Anything that you want to do, you never know. Like any thing's possible. Like, if I can get here, anyone can. I was just a little two year old saying I want to be on TV and you know, I going to be doing my own show next month. And so I really think you should just try 'cause you never know, and if you really, truly want to do this and you really have passion for it, go for it. Because no one should tell you that you can't do something.” Brenda Song
Tae Kwon Do
Childhood and Family:
“My parents are definitely the biggest inspiration to me. They are both so strong, loving and supportive. They've been through so much and have given so much up just so a little girl could live her big dream. I learn so much from them day in and day out. I don't know what I'd do without them. I will admit at times they drive me insane, but at the same time they keep me sane. I hope one day I can be as great of parent to my child as they have been to my brothers and me. Everything I do and everything I am is because if my parents.” Brenda Song
Daughter to a Thia-American mother (homemaker) and a Hmong father (second-grade teacher), Brenda Song was born in Carmichael, California, on March 27, 1988. Her family immigrated to America from Laos in 1976. The oldest child of the family, Brenda has two younger brothers, Timmy and Nathan.
“I'm the oldest in my family, so I do nothing but chores, chores, and chores! I do the laundry and cooking, and I drive my brothers everywhere. I'm like a second mom!” Brenda Song
Brenda, nicknamed "B" and "Bren," was named an All-American Scholar in ninth grade and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She recalled, "My brother was taking Tae Kwon Do classes and I wanted to take dance classes, but my mom was too lazy to take me so I ended up going with my brother. I ended up loving it!"
She was home schooled and earned a high school diploma at the age of 16. When asked if she missed not going to regular high school, Brenda said, “A lot of people ask me that. There's a part of me that's like, 'I didn't get to go to high school.' People say I missed out on a lot of experiences like prom, dances and friends. But I look at it like my prom was going to my first movie. That was the biggest thing for me.”
Brenda has a puppy named Teddy Bear that she got for her 19th birthday. A self-proclaimed “total dork,” she loves sampling international cuisine, shopping and studying. She plays basketball, golf and tennis and is an avid Los Angeles Lakers fan. She is great friends with actresses Kristin Herrera and Hallee Hirsh. Brenda is currently living with her parents and brothers in a suburb of Los Angeles, California. She annually visits her hometown to celebrate Hmong New Year.
"The thing about being Asian-American is that it's probably the same as someone being African-American. We all have our culture and we're all very proud of it and we're all American. It doesn't matter if we're black, yellow, white, green, or blue. We're all people." Brenda Song
"I live out my dream everyday when I walk on to set. All I've ever wanted is just to keep working. I love doing what I do. I feel so blessed to be where I am." Brenda Song.
At the age of 5, Brenda Song entered show business as a model and made her first public appearance in a commercial for “Little Caesar's Pizza.” She has since continued to appear on television in commercials and in series’ guest spots. She could be seen in a commercial for Reese's Puffs cereal and played the recurring role of Kathy on ABC's sitcom starring Edward Asner and Jim Beaver, “Thunder Alley” (1994-1995).
“I actually started out modeling in San Francisco. All I remember is like Cindy Crawford, I wanted to be on TV, so I got an agent and I started doing modeling and as that went on I wanted to do other things, like when you do modeling you're standing, you took pictures, look pretty, all that. I really wanted to explore a little bit more. So I started moving on to commercials and then shows and then films and so on and so forth.” Brenda Song
At age 7, Brenda was discovered by casting directors Pat Melton and Paul Bens and was cast to play the younger version of real-life Asian-American actress/film director Elizabeth Sung in Requiem (1995), an AFI student narrative short film directed by Sung that tells the story of a struggling dancer who loses a brother to AIDS. She followed it up with bit parts in John Murlowski's family comedy movie starring professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, Santa with Muscles (1996), and in Andy Cadiff's remake of the 1950s iconic sitcom, Leave it to Beaver (1997), starring Christopher McDonald, Janine Turner and Cameron Finley. She was also a panelist on The Family Channel's game show "Small Talk" in 1996.
Being asked which one she likes better, doing TV or movies, Brenda explained, “It really doesn't matter because they're both very different and each and every job is just like a different experience. It's a new experience and like every character is different. So I don't really have a preference 'cause I just want to keep working (laughs) so if I get a movie or a TV show or a commercial, it doesn't really matter to me. And it's just the fact that I just like doing this and so it hasn't made any difference whether it's on film, on TV or you know, I don't have a preference at all.”
Brenda spent the rest of the 1990s starring as Sariffa Chung on Nickelodeon's series "100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd." She was also spotted as a guest in an episode of the ABC drama series "Once and Again" and The WB’s "Popular."
Entering the new millennium, Brenda appeared in two episodes of The WB family drama series "7th Heaven" and co-starred with Hallee Hirsh and Spencer Breslin in the made-for-television movie The Ultimate Christmas Present. The latter won Brenda a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie (Comedy) - Supporting Young Actress.
“I'm a person who gets obsessed about things. Once I do something, I have to be really good at it. I have to do it so I'm the best.” Brenda Song
Brenda subsequently guest starred in such TV series as CBS’ sitcom "Bette," the popular NBC medical drama "ER," CBS’ serial drama "Judging Amy," Fox’s sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show" (earned her second Young Artist Award nomination) and Kids' WB series based on the book series by R. L. Stine, "The Nightmare Room." She also acted opposite Lindsay Lohan, playing Jennifer, in Disney Channel’s original movie Get a Clue (2002), about a budding teenaged gossip columnist who becomes an investigative reporter.
“The thing about the Disney Channel is that they have commercials where they show Express Yourself kids doing things like doing tae kwon do or recycling, and my brothers are watching that and he asked me, 'Brenda, what's recycling?' I explained it to him. That's wonderful. If he's watching that and he saw kids recycling on TV and he came to ask me what it is, that's what I want my brother watching. That's what I want my brother to see. He's laughing, but he's also learning something at the same time.” Brenda Song on why she likes the Disney Channel)
After co-starring with rapper Lil' Bow Wow and Jonathan Lipnicki in John Schultz's basketball movie Like Mike (2002; Brenda played an orphan girl named Reg), Brenda returned to the small screen to guest star in an episode of the sitcoms "The George Lopez Show" (ABC), "That's So Raven" (Disney Channel) and "One on One" (UPN). She also appeared in the made-for-television movies Stuck in the Suburbs, opposite Danielle Panabaker, and Costume Party Capers: The Incredibles (both in 2004), alongside Creagen Dow, Brock Kelly and Ricky Ullman.
“Doing Stuck in the Suburbs (2004) is awesome because I made like life-long friends because Danielle Panabaker and I like, we call each other and I talked to her this morning.” Brenda Song (on her co-star Danielle Panabaker in the 2004 television movie Stuck in the Suburbs)
From 2004 to 2005, Brenda played the recurring role of Tia on Disney Channel's comedy children's television series "Phil of the Future," starring Ricky Ullman. On working with Ullman, she recalled, “Ricky (Ullman) is very down to earth, fun, kind, smart, sweet and he loves his family. Because of those things, I had an amazing experience working with him.”
In 2005, Brenda landed her most prominent role to date, that of London Tipton, the rich, dim-witted, vain and spoiled teenage daughter of the luxury Tipton Hotel owner, on Disney Channel's original sitcom "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." She played the role since the show's premiere on March 18, 2005, until its current third season, which began on June 23, 2007. The show's stars include Cole Spouse, Dylan Spouse and Ashley Tisdale.
Being asked how she got the part of London Tipton on "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," Brenda revealed, “Actually, this is the very first job that I never had to audition for. I guess it was because I'd worked so much for Disney before this already, so I guess every job before was kind of like my audition. I actually got called to go to the table reading and when I went there, I saw Ashley Tisdale and we had known each other previously from another job we did, and we freaked out. So it was really cool, it was just like, 'Oh my God, I get to work on a series with my best friend for the next four or however many years!' And it was really awesome, but it was the first time I didn't have to go through the whole process.”
As a part of the Disney Channel Group of Stars, Brenda released a recording album, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes, in April 2005 under the Hollywood Records label. It reached #15 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Top Kids Audio chart, with sales reported at 417,000 copies U.S. and 600,000 copies worldwide. She also appears in the music video. The recording itself is featured on both the special edition Cinderella DVD and on the Disney Mania 4 CD.
Being asked if she plans to break into the music scene, Brenda replied, “Well if the opportunity were to come about, I'd be stupid to say no.”
During her "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" stint, Brenda provided her voice to cheerleader Tracey in an episode of Disney Channel's animated TV series "American Dragon: Jake Long" and lent her voice to Treat in the cartoon video Holidayed: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen. She also played the title role of the tough Homecoming Queen candidate in the Disney Channel original movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.
Being asked if there's any chance of a Wendy Wu sequel, Brenda replied, “There are talks of it. I mean, right now I don't really know what's going on with that so I can't really say much, but you know, when I do, you guys will hear.”
Young Artist: Best Performance in a TV Movie (Comedy) - Supporting Young Actress, The Ultimate Christmas Present, 2001