Jenna was born in Seoul, South Korea. Three months later she was adopted and raised in East Meadow, New York. Her adopted family is of Polish descent, thus her last name, 'Ushkowitz.' Jenna was raised Catholic and attended Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, a Catholic school. She herself was on Glee, and has compared to a "real Rachel Berry".
She graduated in 2004, and moved on to attend Marymount Manhattan College, where she once again took the role of Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan in 2007 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, with a concentration in Performance and a minor in Musical Theater. She's an intense LGBT rights supporter, shooting a photoshoot with co-star Kevin McHale, with whom she is close friends with (and previous roommate), to support the NoH8 campaign. Some time ago, she was romantically linked by the press to McHale, but both of them denied it.
She has left-oriented political views, and was an avid supporter of Barack Obama's 2012 campaign.
She was dating The Vampire Diaries star Michael Trevino; she confirmed that "they weren't together anymore" at The Normal Heart premier in May 2014.
Ushkowitz has been working in acting since she was quite young. She started her career when she was just 3 years old, modelling for printing ads. Since 1988, she has appeared in TV programs such as Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and As the World Turns. It wasn't until 1996, however, when she entered in Broadway, with the revival of The King and I. She has also appeared in the films "Educated" and "Babyface." Some years later, she joined the cast of Spring Awakening as an understudy for Ilse, Martha, Thea and Anna (in fact, all of the female child characters aside for Lea Michele's character in the show, Wendla).
Her first big role arrived with Glee, for which she first auditioned in New York. She won the role of Tina Cohen-Chang. Joining the cast has opened the doors to appear on plenty of TV Shows, such as The Tyra Banks Show, The 7PM Project, Australian Idol, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The 2009 Teen Choice Awards, The People's Choice Awards, The X-Factor, MasterChef and Entertainment Tonight. In 2011, she appeared at the eight episode of the first season The Glee Project, Believility. Recently, she starred at the 32th episode of When I Was 17 along with Deena Nicole Cortese and Patrick Stump.
She has also sung the National Anthem plenty of times for different sports matches, the first time when she was just thirteen. Along with co-star Kevin McHale, she sung Let It Be as a duet and Make You Feel My Love as part of the festivities for the 235th anniversary of American Independence at the American Ambassador's Residence in Paris. Ushkowitz has also appeared at different number of commercials, like Pizza Hut and most importantly a Dance Battle to promote the Dance Central 3 video game, with co-star Vanessa Lengies, and music videos, like Lady Gaga's Marry the Night, where she appeared as Gaga's best friend, Bo.
Asides from her acting and singing work in theater, cinema and TV, Ushkowitz has also launched a clothing line, teaming up with Wall Flower jeans and designing a back-to-school denim line. On July 2, 2012, it was announced that Jenna would write a memoir entitled Choosing Glee. Source Her book was published on May 14, 2013, and not only makes an autobiography of Ushkowitz, but it also focuses on her "motivational approach towards life" and gives tips and rules to find inspiration.
|1995-1998||The King and I||Royal Child|
|2006-2008||Spring Awakening||Swing Role||Performed as Ilse, Anne, Martha or Thea|
|2014||Hair||Jeanie||3 shows with an all-star cast at the Hollywood Bowl.|
|2015||The Wedding Singer||Julia Sullivan||Summer Season at the Pittsburgh CLO|
|1988||As the World Turns||Herself|
|2000||Little Bill||Basketball Girl||Episode: The Promise/The Practice|
|2007||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Violin Player||Episode: Orchestra|
|2008||Yankees on Deck||Herself|
|2009–2015||Glee||Tina Cohen-Chang|| Main Cast (Season 1-5)|
Recurring Guest Star (Season 6)
|2010||When I Was 17||Herself||Episode 32, with Patrick Stump and Deena Cortese|
|2011||The Glee Project||Herself|| Guest mentor|
|2011||Glee: The 3D Concert Movie||Tina Cohen-Chang||Main cast|
|2011||Marry The Night||Bo||Lady Gaga's music video|
|2013||This Is How I Made It||Herself||Episode 10, with Ciara|
|2013||Master Chef||Herself||Season 4: Episode 10|
|2014||Celebrity Name Game||Herself||Season 1: Episode 8, Episode 21|
|2016||Captain Underpants||Ms. Guided||Major Motion Picture; Voice Acting|
Links and Social Networks
- Her audition song for Glee was Waiting For Life To Begin from Once on this Island. However, when she messed up with the lyrics, she sung I Kissed a Girl, which was used as Tina's audition.
- She is five feet, one inches tall.
- She likes to make bubblegum pop.
- She has known her co-star Lea Michele since she was eight years old.
- She thinks she was a dolphin in a past life.
- She drinks a lot of coffee.
- She is scared of spiders.
- She is a fan of Degrassi.
- She has got matching tattoos with Lea Michele and Kevin McHale that say "Imagine," as a reference to the Beatles' song. However, Lea said that Jenna was in the process of getting it removed.
- She wanted to be a Dolphin trainer in her childhood.
- She loves The Vampire Diaries and was also dating Michael Trevino (Tyler Lockwood) from that same show. She also is good friends with most the cast, especially Nina Dobrev who plays Elena Gilbert.
- She loves to eat sushi, and says she'll be a happy, happy woman if she could eat it every day.
- Her favorite color is green.
- All her Glee co-stars call her "panda".
- She hates feet.
- If she needs to write with a pen that has a cap, she needs to put the cap on the back or else she can't write.
- She can imitate a crying baby.
- She organizes her clothes by color.
- She is a pet lover and has a Puggle named Riley.
- She shares the same birthday with Glee co-star and on-screen ex-boyfriend Harry Shum Jr..
- When she was in London, she was in an Apple store and a girl working there for her first day bent down on her knees and bowed down to Kevin and Jenna. Kevin McHale thought the girl would have got fired for that.
- Her Twitter username is JennaUshkowitz, originally IJennaUsh, after IHarryShum.
- She likes Zebra snuggies.
- Her dream broadway role is Kim in "Miss Saigon".
- She has mixed feelings about Tike. In one interview she claimed Tina just liked Mike's abs, in another she said they were "cute".
- She is the only cast member to actually be in a glee club during high school.
- She is best friends with Kevin McHale and Becca Tobin, and very close friends with Harry Shum Jr., Chord Overstreet, Dianna Agron, Amber Riley and Lea Michele.
- She ships Brittana, Finchel and Klaine. She also prefers Tartie over Tike.
- She is a Catholic.
- She has six tattoos; one on her left shoulder, right wrist, left elbow, left arm, right foot and under her ribcage.
- She was roommates with Kevin McHale.
- When she was 17, she pretended to be a foreign student and failed her driving test twice.
- She fell in love with her gay friend like her character to Blaine.
- She admitted in an interview that she had spoken to the show's writers and producers, pitching storylines that would showcase her character. And replied; “You have to stand up for what you believe in, but you’re dealing with your bosses. It’s tricky,” she says. “The story lines I pitched didn’t make it in, but they heard me."
- She is the third Glee actor who has written a book (Choosing Glee), the first ones being Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer.
- She thought she would become a veterinarian because she loves animals. (Choosing Glee).
- Her mother's birthday is the same day as Lea Michele's.
- According to her castmates, she's the best at twerking among all of them. However, she pretended to be bad at it because of Tina's storyline.
- Jenna started working at a bagel shop when she was 17.
- She has a dog named Bear.
- ↑ GLEE Interviews with Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Dianna Agron, Heather Morris, Naya Rivera & more! 0: 43 - 0:47 minutes in.