Zoe Chao | Biography

Quick Wiki

  • Full Name Zoë Carol Chao
  • Occupation Actress, Screenwriter
  • Nationality American
  • Birthplace Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  • Birth Date Sep 19, 1985
  • Age 38 Years, 8 Months
Isobel in the Comedy-Drama Series 'Strangers'

Zoe Chao | Biography

Made her film debut in the 2006 film 'My Girlfriend's Abroad'

'Strangers' premiered on Facebook's Watch Platform and debuted at Sundance Film Festival on 4 September 2017. This comedy-drama series follows the protagonist Isobel (played by Chao), who is on a mission to rebuild her life after a breakup. She shares her home with rotating Airbnb guests, slowly exploring her bisexuality. 

Zoë Chao is an American television and film actress and screenwriter. She is best known as Isobel in the comedy-drama series Strangers.

Short Bio

Zoë Carol Chao was born on 19 September 1985 in Providence, Rhode Island. Chao is of Chinese and English-Irish descent. 

She had initially planned to work in an art gallery upon graduation from college and was a Getty intern for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions for one summer. Chao has a bachelor of arts degree in Art History from Brown University. 

For her master of fine arts (MFA) degree in acting, she attended and graduated from the University of California, San Diego, in 2011. She also underwent an intense theater program, doing theater for 12 hours a day/six days a week while at the university. Chao also got voice lessons from her grad school.

Her first film debut was on the 2006 film My Girlfriend's Abroad. Later, she appeared in a string of movies, including Monster Girls (2015) as Halfoff, Dirty Beautiful (2015) as Jamie, Almost Love (2019) as Haley, Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) as Soo-Lin, Downhill (2020) as Rosie, The High Note (2020) as Katie, I Used to Go Here (2020) as Laura, and Homebody (2021) as Ruby. 

Additionally, Chao has acted in many TV series like The Comeback (2014), Strangers (2017-2018), Wolverine (a podcast series) (2018), The OA (2019), Living with Yourself (2019), Love Life (2020-2021) and The Afterparty (2022). 

Besides her acting career, Chao wrote, produced, and starred in the TV series God Particles (2014).

Moreover, she will soon appear in the TV show Party Down and movies like Your Place or Mine, Somebody That I Used To Know, Senior Year, and Family Squares, all in the post-production stage. 


She has an English-Irish mother and a second-generation Chinese American father. Her parents, Sue Carroll and Bruce Sue, are visual artists. In addition, Chao has a sister who is also a visual artist.

Her father taught at RISD for multiple years. In a January 2022 interview with W Magazine, Chao credits her parents for her charming personality and adaptiveness, where she says that they provided her moral and financial support.  

In the interview, she also said, "I get more nostalgic for home the older I get." further adding that she returns to Providence whenever she can, taking a break from New York and Los Angeles. Her grandfather is also a well-known theater actor in Arizona's local theater. He is also a huge supporter of Chao's work. 

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Strangers premiered on Facebook's Watch Platform and debuted at Sundance Film Festival on 4 September 2017. This comedy-drama series follows the protagonist Isobel (played by Chao), who is on a mission to rebuild her life after a breakup. She shares her home with rotating Airbnb guests, slowly exploring her bisexuality. 

Chao relocated from New York City to Los Angeles while filming Strangers. She also took to Instagram to credit the director of this show, Mia Lidofsky (also her childhood friend). She wrote, "This is all the brainchild of our fearless creator, writer, and director, Mia Lidofsky, who has been tirelessly toiling away for the past three years to make this show come to life." 

Zoë Chao on the poster of Strangers. (Photo: Instagram)

‘Love Life’

Love Life is an anthology show that follows a new character from their first romance through their last romance in each season. It aired its first season on 27 May 27 2020 on HBO Max. The series then got renewed for a second season in June 2020, and was broadcasted on 28 October 2021.

Chao plays Sarah Yang on HBO Max rom-com series Love Life during its first season in 2020. She portrays a young woman in her twenties who was terrified of adulthood.

She said that as an Asian American actress who has done several characters that fall into model minority stereotypes, it was vital for her to take a break from that. Chao described her character as a complicated and messy person.

“Being Sarah Yang is a gift. I haven't gotten to play a character that evolved over a decade. We see her relationship with Darby (Anna Kendrick) change, we see her navigate a serious substance-abuse problem and she really has a full arc and the audience feedback has been very encouraging and they go on this journey with her and it is so lovely to hear it from the loyal fans of the show,” she said about her character in a 2021 interview with A Book Of.

‘The Afterparty’

Chao plays Zoe in the Apple TV+ original show  The Afterparty, which premiered on 28 January 2022. The murder-mystery comedy shows a series of events after a murder at a high school reunion's afterparty. Each episode provides a distinct character's perspective of what transpired that night, as the guests work together to figure out what happened and who the killer is. 

Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Dave Franco, Ilana Glazer, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Jamie Demetriou, and John Early are among the other cast members of The Afterparty.

‘Modern Love’

Chao also contributes her acting skills to Amazon Prime's Modern Love playing Zoe. The show is produced by John Carney and is based on the popular New York Times column of the same name. 

Her character Zoe suffers from a circadian rhythm disease known as delayed sleep syndrome, in the second episode of Season 2. She sleeps when the rest of the world is awake during the day and her story starts after the sunset. Her character was actually named after her real name by the writers hoping that she would play the part.

Chao co-stars with Gbenga Akinnagbe, who plays her love interest, Jordan, in the series based on a 2016 work by Amanda Gefter.

According to Chao, Modern Love does a good job of expressing both the beauty and the chaos of exposing oneself to the possibility of love, any sort of love. She also explained that the composition has a fairy-tale feel about it.

“ I love the premise of Modern Love, which is that they're all real stories about real people. And I think it's a compelling container. It's a half an hour and you cover a lot of ground, they're like mini movies,” she said about the series in a 2021 interview with Harpers Bazaar.

Is Zoë Chao Married?

There isn't much information about her dating life. So it is unknown is the actress is single, has a boyfriend, or is married

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