Krystal Virulchanya, a.k.a. Krystal Vee, may not be a familiar name in mainstream American entertainment yet, but she has already made her mark by playing Lucy in the recently released film, “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li,” which also stars Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein and Neal McDonough. Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Krystal has led a very “culturally dynamic” life. As a teenager, she divided a lot of her time between Russia and Thailand, due to her father’s career as a Thai military general, and has traveled frequently, working as a model. However, living an “on-the-move” lifestyle didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion of acting and modeling.
Krystal’s first commercial was when she was eight years old. The commercial was for Omo, a laundry washing detergent brand in Thailand. When she was in school she participated heavily in drama productions, learned different dance genres and had always been interested in photography. And at the age of 14, she began working as a model, appearing in more commercials. At the age of 15, she began traveling outside Thailand to work as a model in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Philippines and Malaysia. At the age of 17, Krystal landed her first role in a Thai movie, “Jaew,” and has since appeared in many Thai dramas. In 2008, she landed her first role in a Hollywood movie (“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li”).
Asiance talked to Krystal to know a little more about the actress from the “Land of Smiles” and talk about her role in “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li.”
ASIANCE: You have such an eclectic career: involved in acting, modeling, photography, and dancing. What attracted you to acting?
Krystal: As a child I was always fascinated with acting, I loved pretending to be something or someone I wasn’t.
ASIANCE: Can you talk about how you got the role in the “Street Fighter”? Which character do you play in the film?
Krystal: I play “Lucy”, Chun- Li’s (Kristin Kreuk’s) girlfriend. My agent contacted me and told me there was an audition for a character in Street Fighter. Initially, I wanted to go for the character of “Cantana”, but then I found out that they had already casted Josie Ho.
ASIANCE: What was it like to be in your first international film?
Krystal: It was incredible. Apart from being able to work with professionals, I think anyone would feel very lucky to work on a movie of this scale.
ASIANCE: What was it like to work with Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, and the other actors/actresses?
Krystal: On this film, I only got a chance to work with Kristin Kreuk. It was a delight to work with someone so humble; made me feel so comfortable. She’s the type of person who can get on with anyone, which is rare.
ASIANCE: What are you thoughts about Asians and Asian Americans becoming more recognized in mainstream American entertainment?
Krystal: There are so many talented people in Asia and in Thailand specifically. More opportunities for new characters have started to appear due to the new Asian-looks being discovered. Asia is vast and there is so much cultural and racial diversity that it will take time for the film industry in Hollywood to fully understand it all and see the opportunity it presents.
ASIANCE: So far the only thing left you haven’t done is sing. Have you ever thought about the music industry?
Krystal: Definitely! I am currently taking singing lessons and slowly learning. Hopefully in the future I will get a chance to have a taste of the music industry. I am very fascinated with musicals and Broadway shows.
ASIANCE: Where do you see yourself in the next few years, in terms of your career?
Krystal: I see myself as someone who will probably still be out there doing what I do now. Learning different things that interest me and, of course, getting a chance to work on international projects. Hopefully, by then, I will have built a stronger foundation for myself and better view of how the international [entertainment] industry works.
ASIANCE: What’s next for you? What other projects are you involved in right now?
Krystal: Nothing at the moment, a lot of new projects floating around out there but no confirmations yet. Times are tough right now in most industries with this global economic crisis.
ASIANCE: What advice would you give to those who want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
Krystal: If you want to be in the entertainment industry you have to be strong, and you really have to love it. You can do really well if you have the right motivation. And because it is so competitive it might take some time, but once you’ve reached that spot where you hit fame, there’s more work in keeping your flame steady. So it is necessary to build a strong foundation, for your own good.