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Charlie Kersh martial arts

Vietnamese Adoptee Charlie Kersh Stars in Power Rangers!

We sat down with Holt adoptee Charlize “Charlie” Kersh to hear about her recent, exciting role in the recently released Power Rangers: Once and Always, currently on Netflix. She is also a Taekwondo Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) World Champion, a Creative Martial Arts World Champion and an accomplished singer and dancer!

Charlie’s acting career started early, after her parents saw how much she loved participating in a talent competition she was in. This prompted a move to New York, where after several years of hard work Charlie landed a role on a Broadway show! She then got into competitive martial arts, a passion and skill that led to her part in Power Rangers.

One of the secrets to Charlie’s success is that she approaches every opportunity in her life with both hard work and gratitude. This combination has empowered her to deeply enjoy everything she’s tackled in her young life, and inspires her to continue growing and achieving as she looks to what’s next.

Charlie put it best herself. “So if someone read this blog, I would want them to know to have a kind and grateful heart,” Charlie says. “Be courageous and follow your dreams. Just be thankful for everything you have! Because you never know what happens next.”

Below, enjoy the Q&A we had with the talented Charlie Kersh!

Q: So, you started out enjoying singing and dancing, and then you started liking martial arts. Where and when did your acting interests come in?

A: Acting came when I started singing and dancing, which was around 5 years old. We were going to Texas to visit relatives, and my parents put me in this talent competition just for fun. You had to perform a monologue, sing a song and have fun! And that’s what I did, I had tons of fun.

From there, I was invited up to New York City. My mom and I were like, ‘OK, we’ll go there for a month and we’ll see how it is.’ And we ended up staying there for five years!  Shortly after arriving in NYC, I signed with a talent agency. I booked a number of commercials and several print jobs.

I also saw my first Broadway show, “Mama Mia.” When I saw that I was like, “Wow, I want to do that I want to be on stage and act and sing and dance in front of a crowd.’  Being on Broadway was a big dream of mine. At 9 years old, I was blessed to land the role of Lavender in Broadway’s “Matilda the Musical.” We toured for nine months to 23 cities, doing eight shows a week in front of 3,000 – 7,000 people a night. It was just an unforgettable experience. After that is when I made the transition into more of the Hollywood world, which is more TV- and film-oriented.

Q: What specific kind of martial arts do you do?

A: My base martial arts would be Taekwondo. The more dynamic kind of style of martial arts is called XMA, which stands for Extreme Martial Arts. It can include mixing other styles of martial arts, tricking, gymnastics and dancing. It was created and founded by Mike Chat. He’s my XMA instructor and has been ever since I started competing about a year and a half ago.

Q: What kind of work is involved in getting a World Champion title in Martial Arts?

A: A lot of hours training, practicing your forms over and over and over again. But you also just have to mentally believe in yourself and have the courage to try something different! You have to be courageous enough to push yourself and to not let anything get in your way. That was a big thing for me. Whenever I had a long day I would still push myself to go to the gym and train at night. I made sure I got my hours in because that’s really what it takes.

Q: How did you come to star in the Power Rangers movie?

A: Casting had already gone through thousands of auditions and couldn’t find the one they needed to play. They opened the field up wider because they couldn’t find a match for the role. So they expanded their search, and in doing so they reached out to Mike Chat. He told them he had someone but that I was only 15 years old. He encouraged me to submit for the audition and the rest is history. 

I’m grateful for every opportunity I get. I’m always putting in 100% to whatever is in front of me. I guess my dream role would be a strong female character, and someone who inspires.

The 30th Anniversary Special was shot in New Zealand, so I was able to go there for about five weeks. It was such an amazing experience being on set and working with original Power Rangers like Walter Jones and David Yost and others! While that was exciting, it was also exciting to see New Zealand because I had never been! It was great, we went to the Hobbit movie set and to see the beautiful landscapes and it was very amazing.

Q: What were they looking for in the Power Ranger role that they were having a hard time finding until they found you?

A: They wanted someone of Asian descent. I went in initially to be the daughter of the original Power Ranger (who in real life passed away in 2001) who was Vietnamese. They were  impressed with my martial arts skills and they loved my acting ability. So all those things together opened the door for me. I guess you could say that all the stars lined up right.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Being in a movie, a TV show — that’s been my dream for a long time. Playing a role that inspires everyone — girls, boys, just everyone. That would be a big dream of mine. I definitely got to do that with my character in Power Rangers.

Anything that comes my way, any audition that I get, I’m grateful for every opportunity I get. I’m always putting in 100% to whatever is in front of me. I guess my dream role would be a strong female character, and someone who inspires.

Q: How does being an adoptee fit into all this for you — your identity right now or the things you want to do in life? What does being an adoptee mean to you?

Q: I was adopted when I was 2 years old, so I look at my mom and dad as my real parents. I don’t see them as adoptive parents, I see them as my parents. And I’m very grateful because they essentially saved my life. I don’t know what happened and I don’t necessarily know why I was put into an orphanage. But I do know that my biological mother gave me up because she wanted me to have my best chance at life. Not having parents isn’t good. So when I was adopted, I was very thankful to know that I have these amazing, supportive parents who have done so much for me. They have supported me in my career and my dreams. Words can’t explain how grateful I am.

“And when I look at the world and I see people I see them for who they are on the inside. And if they have a kind and grateful heart that is what matters most. Also know that if you have a kind and grateful heart you will attract others with a kind and grateful heart. So if someone reads this blog I would want them to know to have a kind and grateful heart, be courageous and follow your dreams.”

Charlie Kersh

And then there’s also not a day that goes by without thinking of my biological parents. It would be an amazing thing to go back to Vietnam and to see what could or would have been. And I would want to give back to all those children in the orphanage. And if God blessed me, maybe I could find out something about my biological mother. But at this point I thank my parents and my biological mother for everything that I’ve been able to do.

Q: What would you want somebody reading this to know about you or what you care about in the world?

A: When I look at the world today I think that everybody could use a lot of positivity and a lot of hope. And when I look at the world and I see people, I see them for who they are on the inside. And if they have a kind and grateful heart, that is what matters most. Also know that if you have a kind and grateful heart you will attract others with a kind and grateful heart. So if someone reads this blog I would want them to know to have a kind and grateful heart, be courageous and follow your dreams. Just be thankful for everything you have! Because you never know what will happen next.

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