Jennifer Anne Lien was born in Palos Heights, Illinois, on August 24th, 1974. She is a former actress whose career spanned 1990 to 2002 and is best known for her role as Kes in the television series Star Trek: Voyager. This 5’ 3” (1.6 m) actress had a brief career punctuated by tabloid appearances for a string of alleged crimes since retirement.
She was born the youngest of three children in Illinois. By the age of 13, she had joined the Illinois Theater Center. She has mentioned in interviews her childhood in the Chicago area was uncomfortable because it was a rough area. Acting became a part of her escapism to deal with trauma and seeing people she grew up with die from drug addiction.
Before her acting career, she graduated from the Professional Children’s School, where she trained as an actor.
Jennifer Lien’s first paid acting job was in a bubble gum commercial playing a set of twins. Her first uncredited television appearance was as a student in the 1990 drama series Brewster Place, starring Oprah Winfrey. That same year she provided dubbing work for the french horror film Baby Blood.
In 1991 she moved to New York and joined the soap opera Another World cast as Hannah Moore. This is primarily considered to be her first major credit, and she would make appearances in 35 episodes of the show from 1991 to 1992.
Following her casting in Another World, Jennifer Lien would take steady work in television and voice-acting, punctuated by a periodic film. From 1993 to 1994, she played the character Roanne in the comedy series Phenom across 22 episodes.
A couple of years later, she would voice acting in the animated series Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man in 1996, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest that same year, and Superman: The Animated Series in 1997.
American History X
1998 was a significant year for her as she appeared in two major films. She played the character of Davina in the drama American History X. She played the sister of Derek and Dany Vinyard, played by Edward Norton and Edward Furlong, respectively.
She would also appear in the cult film SLC Punk playing the character Sandy, opposite Matthew Lillard’s Steven “Stevo” Levy.
Star Trek: Voyager
She is best known, however, for her role as the Ocampa character Kes in Star Trek: Voyager. She would appear in 70 episodes from 1995 to 2000.
Though she was with the show from the start, she was eventually written out mid-season in 1997 due to the writers not finding an angle that worked for the character and overall disinterest from the fans.
As part of the ensemble of the early show, however, she was well-liked by her co-stars and the production staff.
Why was she written off the show?
Many rumors exist about why she was cut from the show, but writers revealed the reasoning years later as issues with mental health and possible addiction.
After leaving the show, she was replaced by Jeri Ryan, playing the eventually iconic Seven of Nine. Jennifer Lien would return to the series in 2000 for a single appearance.
What is Jennifer Lien doing now?
Following the birth of her son, Jennifer Lien retired from acting and pursued education toward becoming a nutritionist, which she managed to achieve. However, the troubled actress has had some legal issues since her retirement.
The first incident occurred in April 2015, when she was alleged to have rammed a police cruiser, resisted arrest, and committed reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.
The second significant development was in September 2015, when she was arrested and held in custody for two weeks for allegedly exposing herself to several children.
This occurred in the state of Tennessee. She was alleged to have exposed her breasts and buttocks in a dispute with several children and was later arrested after resisting while wearing no clothes. She also is alleged to have threatened the arresting officers.
In 2018 she had two incidents involving driving violations in the state of Tennessee, and she ultimately had her license revoked.
At some point, Jennifer Lien married writer and filmmaker Phil Hwang; however, neither had mentioned when they married nor had there been any published articles about their marriage. They seem to be married to this day.
Phil Hwang is a writer and producer. He is best known for the fan film Superboy: The Tween Years (2015), the horror film Outcall (2014), and the comedy Greek Mythology (2008).
Jennifer Lien has one child with her husband, Phil Hwang. Their son Jonah Hwang was born on September 5th, 2002. Shortly after his birth, Lien retired from acting and voice-over work to pursue a career as a nutritionist.
Jonah Hwang started his career as an actor, appearing on the TV series Shameless in 2016, Henry Danger in 2017, and Crown Lake in 2019.
Is Jennifer Lien on social media?
Likely due to a series of legal troubles and other troubles, Jennifer Lien does not appear to be on social media.
She may occasionally be mentioned for her work on Star Trek but does not have a significant web presence of her own.