Gemma Chan (born 29 November 1982) is a British film, television, and theatre actress and former fashion model. She portrays Charlotte in season four of the Showtime and ITV2 series Secret Diary of a Call Girl; Ruth in Channel 4's Fresh Meat; Mia Bennett in the BBC's Doctor Who "The Waters of Mars" and Soo Lin in Sherlock. She also appeared in Exam and Paramount Pictures' action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. She stars in Humans, an AMC/Channel 4 science-fiction drama, which premiered in June 2015.
Chan was born at Guy's Hospital in London, England. Her father grew up in Hong Kong and was an engineer. Her mother, a pharmacist at Guy's Hospital, emigrated from pre-Cultural Revolution Communist China via Hong Kong with her parents (Chan's maternal grandparents) and younger sister, growing up in Greenock, Scotland. Chan was raised near Sevenoaks, a town in west Kent, in South East England and attended Newstead Wood School for Girls in Orpington in the London borough of Bromley. She later went on to read law at Worcester College, Oxford.
Following graduation, Chan gained a training contract offer as a graduate at the law firm Slaughter and May, but instead pursued an acting career and studied at the Drama Centre London. Spotted at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones, she signed to acting agent Nicki van Gelder.
In 2006, Chan was one of the models in series one of Project Catwalk, the UK version of Project Runway. She has been photographed by Rankin for a campaign for Nivea Visage, having previously worked as a model in order to fund her studies and drama school training, appearing in campaigns for Nokia and Selfridges and numerous magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan and The Sunday Times Style.
Chan appeared in the autumn 2009 special of the BBC's Doctor Who ("The Waters of Mars") with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan, which aired 15 November 2009 in the UK, playing geologist Mia Bennett. She was cast as a series regular in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, the fourth and final series airing on ITV2 in the UK and Showtime in the US in 2011. She has also appeared in Fresh Meat, BBC One's Sherlock, and the fourth series of The IT Crowd for Channel 4.