INTERVIEW: Kelsey Chow: Becoming Hollywood's Next "It Girl"

An excerpt from my interview published in Icon Magazine's Spring 2011 issue.

At 19, the half-American, half-Chinese Kelsey Chow has already come a long way from her timid takeoff as GiGi Silveri on the CW's "One Tree Hill". A prominent member in Disney's current crop of on-screen talent, she has her hands full between acting, studying global health at Columbia University, raising awareness for noble causes and commanding many a paparazzo’s lens at red carpet events.

Chow is currently the female lead of Disney XD's sit-com "Pair of Kings", which follows the fantastical exploits of dizygotic twin boys (Mitchel Musso and Doc Shaw) who assume leadership over a Polynesian island. With refreshing intelligence, youthful optimism and stylishly stunning looks she is embracing the worlds of showbiz and fashion en route to becoming Hollywood's next it-girl.

You had a big 2010. In August approximately four million people watched your TV movie "Den Brother" and in September your new hit show premiered. How do you unwind from all this?
 (Laughing) I'll let you know when I do. It really has been a crazy year, especially because right after our season of "Pair of Kings" ended, I went straight to school. Honestly, I think I'm happiest doing a million things at once. I think I get that from my dad. It's when I do my best; when I'm most efficient. I'm happy, but I am looking forward to Christmas break!

To go or not to go to college is a big question for celebrities your age - how did you arrive at the decision to pursue a degree?
 I always knew I wanted to go to college. That was very, very important to me. It's such a valuable experience, not only academically but also socially. You find out a lot about who you are and you really mature and find amazing people who last a lifetime. Some of my best friends go [to Columbia]. With the entertainment industry, timing is everything and it can be really challenging balancing both, but acting is absolutely my passion. I love every day on set. I am a totally happy camper and although right now, especially with "Pair of Kings", that does take priority, I'm happy to be able to go back to school when I can.

Do you view your collegiate studies in global health as a back-up career plan or more a broadening intellectual experience?
 Well, my grandparents were in the World Health Organization and my dad is a physician who works with humanitarian efforts, so I've really grown up around it. If I am lucky enough to continue acting throughout my life, I will be ecstatic. At the same time, I want to be more than one-dimensional. I want to be doing different things. I think that what's so great about acting is it does offer kind of that unique advantage to be an advocate for different causes. So if I can fuse the acting and the global health together that'd be cool.

Read the full interview in Icon's Spring 2011 issue!