If you heard the name Katie Leung, a face might not immediately pop up. But if you heard the name Cho Chang or Harry Potter’s Ravenclaw crush, you would know exactly who we are talking about. Some roles stay with you forever, and that is the case with Katie Leung.
Swish and flicked into stardom thanks to the magical franchise of Harry Potter, fans and fandoms alike know exactly who Cho Chang is.
But what about Katie Leung, the face behind the character? Some actors never recovered from their Harry Potter stardom, and some used it to make that wizard’s chess next move onto the next big thing. Which did Katie do? Let’s find out.
Background info and early life
Born in Dundee, Scotland, on August 8th, 1987, Katie Leung spent the majority of her childhood in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.
Her mother, Kar Wai Li, a banker, and her father, Peter Leung, a successful restaurateur and wholesale businessman in Glasgow, are both from Hong Kong. She stayed in Scotland with her dad after her parents divorced when she was three, and when her mother returned to Hong Kong.
Katie is closest to her brother Jonathan and looks to him for advice most in her life. This Scottish-Cantonese powerhouse is not only fluent in Cantonese, but can also speak a bit of Mandarin.
Answering a casting call couldn’t have been more magical for Katie. Thanks to a little push from her dad to audition, Katie beat out thousands of other young muggles to snag the role of Cho Chang in the Harry Potter franchise.
For five out of the eight installments about the wizarding world, Katie brought this Ravenclaw, and Harry Potter’s first crush, to life.
Where there’s a fandom, there will be a divide. Cho Chang does get hate on the internet for how she acts in the movies.
But that’s just it, those that only saw the movies and didn’t read the books are the ones that have the hate for Cho, and Katie solely because she played the character.
Criticisms of the name ‘Cho Chang’?
Fans were also quick to point out how stereotypical and racist J.K. Rowling made the character, with some noting that having an Asian portrayed that way would have been better leaving them out completely.
Not a good look, but J.K. has had her share of controversies over the years. Let’s leave it to say Katie did her best with the material given and delivered a performance that even Daniel Radcliff said was awesome.
As if being cast as a stereotype and having online trolls about her character on screen wasn’t bad enough, Katie also saw the number of racist comments left on websites dedicated to the fandom.
And at only 16, these kinds of remarks left scars only a Memory Charm could obliviate. She was even told by her own team to deny, deny, deny seeing or knowing about any such websites saying anything of the sort.
While Katie thought she must not tell lies, she went along with it because she was so thankful for the opportunity. Ravenclaw all the way, Katie stayed true to her house principals.
She almost left the magic of the movie world behind while filming Harry Potter. Katie decided it would be best to have some other options to fall back on if she did decide to quit acting.
She pursued a degree in photography from the Edinburgh College of Art and then attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to obtain a degree in theatre and acting. All without the use of a single time-turner.
What did she do after Harry Potter?
These days, you can still catch Katie on screen. Once she finished her degrees she realized home is where the magic happens. On screen, that is.
Her first role after Harry Potter was in 2013s TV miniseries Run. She followed that up with another miniseries, One Child, in 2014.
In 2017 she scored back-to-back movies, the first in the sequel to the cult classic Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting, then snagged time sharing the screen with legends Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner.
Katie has been busier than Snape harassing Harry ever since, appearing in 2018s Leading Lady Parts, The Feast, and a longer stint on the show White Dragon (also known as Strangers).
In 2019 she was in the miniseries Chimerica and TV show Moominvalley. Sticking with her love of the miniseries, Leung popped in two more in 2020, The Nest and Roadkill.
What is Katie Leung doing now?
Katie Leung is most assuredly still acting. Most recently Katie lent her voice to the animated TV series Arcane as Caitlyn and a character in the 2022 video game Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
If you want to see some range out of Katie, check out the show drama Annika, where she plays DC Blair Ferguson, alongside the mesmerizing Nicola Walker.
Katie can also be seen in the Amazon sci-fi series, The Peripheral with Chloé Grace Moretz. The creators of Westworld, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are behind it and is getting great reviews from critics and viewers. .
Katie seems to be extremely happy and content with her long-time partner, Eric Caira, who also happens to be best friends with her brother Jonathan.
Eric co-owns an Asian market in Glasgow called Oaka Supercity with Jonathan, as well as is a recruitment consultant.
The pair love to spend their downtime with a beer and a round or two of the game Call of Duty, and like the rest f us, binging shows on Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Whatever Katie does in the future, we hope she knows we will raise our wands for her no matter what.