Olivia Munn: AAPI Heritage Month Actor Highlights

We're celebrating AAPI icon Olivia Munn, activist, movie and television actress, and former host and "Daily Show" correspondent.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

Olivia Munn AAPI Heritage Month The Babymakers

©Millennium Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

AAPI activist Olivia Munn has been one of the most vocal entertainers against Asian Hate during the past year. She continues to be an important role model in the community. Recently, she participated on a panel at LA's Paley Center for Media. It was titled "Media's Role in Combating Hate and Violence Towards Asians and Pacific Islanders." Participants included director Jon M. Chu, Ken Jeong, Susan Li and others.

How You Know Her

Tech and pop culture fans first became aware of Munn as the host of G4's "Attack of the Show" from 2006 to 2010. Munn's larger-than-life personality led to a stint on "The Daily Show" from 2011 to 2012. Since then, she's played an economic analyst on HBO's "The Newsroom" and appeared in several movies.

On the big screen, Munn's been featured in everything from "Iron Man 2" to "Magic Mike" to "X-Men: Apocalypse" and "The Predator." She's one of the voices in "The Lego Ninjago Movie." On the small screen, Munn's had guest starring roles on "Chuck" and "New Girl," and appeared as a judge on "Project Runway" and "America's Got Talent."

© 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. /Courtesy Everett Collection

© 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. /Courtesy Everett Collection

Her Life So Far

Munn was born in Oklahoma in 1980. Her father's Caucasian and her mother's Vietnamese. Her mom was a refugee who came to the US after the Vietnam War in 1975. Munn has four siblings, and the family moved around when she was a kid. They also time spent in Japan. They eventually returned to Oklahoma, where Munn attended the University of Oklahoma. She graduated with a degree in journalism and minors in drama and Japanese.

Early on, Munn worked as an intern at NBC and Fox Sports. In the mid '00s, she began to attract notice as a host on G4 and for her role as a teen surfer on "Beyond the Break." Besides hosting "Attack of the Show!," Munn also hosted "Formula D" about drift racing. She later became a correspondent for "The Daily Show. However, her hiring was questioned by Irin Carmon, who called the hire sexist due to Munn's status as a sex symbol. Munn and her fellow female staffers called that an insult, given her reporting and journalism studies.

For the past decade, Munn's appeared in a steady stream of mainstream movies ("Date Night," "Ride Along 2") and television ("Robot Chicken," "Lip Sync Battle").

©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Importantly, she's spoken up for seveal causes. Munn's been a part of various PETA campaigns and programs to protect the environment. She publicly backed the MeToo and Time'sUp movements. She spoke out against Brett Ratner for repeated sexual harassment against her. Olivia Munn has also consistently lent her support to the AAPI community. Alongside other activists, Munn took part in a roundtable discussion titled "Asian Americans Battling Bias: Continuing Crisis."

©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

The Movie to See

Olivia Munn has appeared in lots of genre movie projects, but we're recommending a film that speaks to her activism The 2014 documentary "Unity" (movie here) is a unique movie that features 100 entertainers speaking about humanity and change. The chapters include "Cosmic," "Body," "Mind," "Heart" and "Soul." It is written, directed, and produced by Shaun Monson. It's the sequel to his 2005 documentary "Earthlings." The doc's a human story, and well worth the watch.

What's Up Next

Recent projects include Justine Bateman's directorial debut "Violet" co-starring Justin Theroux, and crime thriller "The Gateway" with Shea Whigham and Frank Grillo.

And always up next for the actress: Munn's continued support for her fellow AAPI community, and more charitable causes.

About the Author

Chuck Walton

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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