Katie Leung stole our hearts as the adorable Cho Chang, Harry Potter’s very first love interest in Goblet of Fire. She was cute, sweet, kind, and really seemed into Harry, lamenting that she was unable to attend the Yule Ball with him as Cedric had asked her first.
Tragedy then ensued, and Harry and Cho were never able to fully reconcile and have a go at a real relationship. They tried, but her betrayal (albeit by extreme duress) in Order of the Phoenix was something that Harry was never able to get over. But the way was paved for destiny, and for Harry to eventually marry his true love, Ginny Weasley, while Cho found her happy ever after with a Muggle.
Leung was born in Dundee, Scotland on 8 August 1987 to Chinese parents. At age three, her parents separated and her mother, banker Kar Wai Li, moved back to Hong Kong, while she and her father, businessman Peter Leung, remained in Scotland. Katie Leung moved around a lot as a child, with her father’s work taking them all over. She has called Glasgow, Hamilton, Ayr, and Motherwell her homes. Her high school education was at Hamilton College in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.
In 2005, at the tender age of 17, she attended a casting call for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, at her father’s suggestion.
Her first audition only took five minutes and after waiting more than four hours in line, she was not feeling confident. But two weeks later, she was invited to a second audition and landed the role of Cho Chang.
Leung was chosen out of over 3,000 other girls for the part and recalls her native Scottish accent being a huge asset, feeling this was the reason she was selected.
Leung would go on to play Cho in the subsequent Harry Potter sequels and admits she questioned whether she could continue acting once filming wrapped on the last installment.
Other Acting Work
She appeared in an episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, called “Cat Among the Pigeons” in 2008, however, was not inspired to pursue more acting until 2011. She attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and completed a drama course, after having previously put her education on hold due to her Harry Potter filming schedule. Her passion for acting was reignited and she landed her first stage role in 2012, playing Jung Chang in “Wild Swans,” an autobiographical piece written by Chang herself.
In 2013, Leung appeared on stage again, playing the role of Sunny in “The World of Extreme Happiness,” and on television in the mini-series, “Run,” as Ying. 2014 was a busy year for her, with roles in “Father Brown” and “One Child,” as well as appearing in the play “The Hypochondriac.” In 2015 and 2016, Leung performed on stage again in “You For Me For You,” and “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.”
Leung’s return to the big screen came in 2017, appearing in two films, “T2 Trainspotting” and “The Foreigner.” She also performed in another play that same year, “Snow in Midsummer.”
In 2018, she lent her talent to the role of Lau Chen, in the dark mini-series, “Strangers,” and appeared in the short film, “Leading Lady Parts.” She returned to the stage in 2019, performing in “White Pearl,” and also appeared in another mini-series, “Chimerica.” This was also the year she provided her vocal talent to the role of Too-Ticky, in “Moominvalley,” for which she would return for a second season in 2020.
What is Katie Leung Doing Now?
The following year, 2021, has been her biggest one yet, landing the part of Natasha in the film “Locked Down,” and two roles in the television series, “Annika” and “Arcane.” But the busy actress also took on another role in the series “The Peripheral.”
Her most recent project is “The Chemistry of Death,” in which she appears in three episodes. She continues to act, appearing in the second seasons of “The Peripheral” and “Annika.”
Perhaps the most exciting news for Katie Leung, however, was her surprise announcement on Instagram on 1 January 2023 that she had welcomed her son, Wolf, on Halloween 2022. The father of her boy has not been revealed at the time of writing.
In addition to being an actress and a mother, Katie Leung is also a writer, having her essay “Getting Into Character” published in the book “East Side Voices: Essays Celebrating East & Southeast Asian Identity in Britain” in 2022.
Leung has spoken openly about the racism she has experienced throughout the years, but despite the pain of these experiences, she has pushed through and become a strong and resilient young woman.
She has admitted that the online harassment and negative comments she experienced when she became an overnight celebrity due to her role in Harry Potter almost saw her give up acting. But she found her love of her craft and has explored some fantastic roles. And with her talent and determination, there is no doubt we can expect more wonderful things from Katie Leung.