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China Anne McClain

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China Anne McClain
Nafessa Williams, Cress Williams & China Anne McClain (36403227702) (cropped).jpg
McClain in 2017
Born (1998-08-25) August 25, 1998 (age 21)
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2005–present
Relatives
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano[1]
Associated actsMcClain

China Anne McClain (born August 25, 1998) is an American actress and singer. McClain's career began in 2005 when she was seven years old, portraying Alexis in the film The Gospel (2005) and then China James in Daddy's Little Girls (2007) along with Idris Elba and her two sisters. McClain became nationally known for starring in Tyler Perry's House of Payne (2007–present) as Jazmine Payne, and became internationally known and is best known for starring as Chyna Parks in the Disney Channel television series A.N.T. Farm (2011–2014), and for starring as Uma in Descendants 2 (2017) and Descendants 3 (2019).

McClain began her musical career in 2005 as a member of the sister girl group the 3mcclaingirls with her sisters Sierra and Lauryn. Her first professional single was "Your Biggest Fan" with Nick Jonas on the soundtrack album Jonas L.A. (2010). In 2011, McClain signed with Hollywood Records both as a solo artist and with her sister girl group, known as the McClain Sisters. Her debut single as a solo artist was "Dynamite" which peaked at no. 2 on the US Kid Digital Songs and her second single, "Calling All the Monsters," peaked at no. 1 on the same chart. Her soundtrack album A.N.T. Farm spent five weeks on the Billboard kids chart in 2011 and sold 14,000 copies in its first week of release. Her single "What's My Name" from Descendants 2 (2017) peaked on several Billboard charts and was certified gold, with 500,000 units sold, on November 10, 2017.

In 2018, McClain began starring in The CW superhero series Black Lightning (2018–present) as Jennifer Pierce. She also reprised her character Jazmine Payne on OWN's revival of Tyler Perry's The Paynes (2018).

Early life[edit]

McClain was born on August 25, 1998[2] and raised in Decatur, Georgia.[3][4] Her father, Michael McClain, is a music producer.[5][6] Her mother, Shontell, is a songwriter and former screenwriter.[7][8] She has two older sisters, Sierra and Lauryn, who are also actresses and singers, and has a younger brother, Gabriel.[9]

Career[edit]

2005–2010: Daddy's Little Girls and Tyler Perry's House of Payne[edit]

McClain was discovered in 2005 by a music executive who heard her sing and encouraged director Rob Hardy to audition her for his 2005 feature film The Gospel.[2] McClain auditioned for the Disney Channel Original Movie Jump In! (2007) and won a role but turned it down to instead star in the television series Tyler Perry's House of Payne (2007–present) as Jazmine Payne, after catching Tyler Perry's attention. Disney kept working with McClain where she booked several guest roles in the years to come.[6][9] She appeared in the movie Daddy's Little Girls (2007) with her sisters, Sierra and Lauryn, who are also actresses and played her older sisters in the film.[6]

McClain appeared in various other shows and movies such as Hannah Montana (2009) with future co-star Sierra McCormick, NCIS (2009)[10] and the film Hurricane Season (2009).[11] In 2009, China booked the starring role as Janet in the Disney Channel pilot Jack and Janet Save the Planet alongside future co-stars Sierra McCormick and Jake Short. The pilot was not picked up and never aired.[12][13] She also appeared in the film Grown Ups (2010) as Charlotte McKenzie, the daughter of Chris Rock's and Maya Rudolph's characters.[14][6] McClain had a recurring role on Disney Channel show Jonas (2010) as Kiara,[15][16] and sang alongside Nick Jonas for the song "Your Biggest Fan" which was featured both in the series and on Jonas L.A., the show's soundtrack album.[17]

2011–2014: A.N.T. Farm and music[edit]

McClain performing at the 2011 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade..

In 2011, McClain guest starred on Wizards of Waverly Place (2011). Later that year, McClain was cast as the lead role, Chyna Parks, in the Disney Channel series A.N.T. Farm, which Disney tailored for her.[9][18] For the show, McClain recorded a cover of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite".[19] She also sang the series theme song, "Exceptional". McClain's first music video, for "Dynamite," amassed more than 1 million views in under a week after release on YouTube. She appeared in an episode of PrankStars (2011).[20] For the Disney Channel Halloween special in 2011, she performed the song, "Calling All the Monsters."[21] On June 14, 2011, McClain and her sisters – known as the McClain Sisters – signed with Hollywood Records.[22]

The A.N.T. Farm soundtrack was released on October 11, 2011, which includes McClain's version of "Dynamite" and her original song "Calling All the Monsters," among other songs performed by her featured in the show and new songs performed by some of her fellow cast members and two songs performed by the McClain Sisters. The soundtrack for the show was successful, spending five weeks on the Billboard kids chart in 2011,[23] peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard 200, peaked at number 2 on the US Top Soundtracks, and sold 14,000 copies within the first week of release.[24][25][26][27] On September 28, 2011, McClain released "Calling All The Monsters" to iTunes. "Calling All The Monsters" charted at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[28] On November 24, 2011, she performed her song "Unstoppable" in the 85th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2011).[29] In December, McClain and her sisters Sierra and Lauryn performed their version of the song "Jingle Bell Rock" at the 2011 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade.[30][31] On March 4, 2012, McClain was the opening act alongside her sisters in Houston for Big Time Rush on their Better with U Tour.[32][33] McClain sang the theme song for the first three seasons for the Disney Channel children's television series Doc McStuffins, which premiered on March 23, 2012, and guest starred later that year as Tisha McStuffins, the main character's cousin.[34][35][36]

She reprised her role as Charlotte McKenzie in the 2013 sequel Grown Ups 2. On December 27, 2013, it was announced on her Twitter page that A.N.T. Farm would be ending after its 3rd season.[37] On the same day, it was revealed that the McClain Sisters had left Hollywood Records. In the March/April 2014 issue of BYOU magazine, McClain said it was "bittersweet" that A.N.T Farm was ending, and announced plans to focus on doing music with her sisters.[38] McClain competed as one of the celebrity contestants on ABC's Sing Your Face Off (2014), winning the show's first and only season. A few months after the show ended, McClain starred in the Disney Channel television film How to Build a Better Boy (2014) alongside Kelli Berglund, and released the single "Something Real" which was featured in the film. In November 2014, McClain guest starred on R.L. Stine's The Haunted Hour in the episode "Argh V."[39][40]

2015–present: Descendants and Black Lightning[edit]

In 2015, McClain was featured in the FOX series Bones (2015) in the episode "The Lost in the Found", playing Kathryn Walling.[41] McClain performed "Night is Young," for the Descendants soundtrack. McClain and her song also appeared in Descendants: Wicked World (2015) based on the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants.[42] She voiced Freddie, the daughter of Dr. Facilier. Her sister, Lauryn McClain, voiced the character for season two. McClain voiced the role of Ghufaira in the 3D computer-animated action-drama film Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (2015)[43] She went on to guest star on The Night Shift[44][45] and starred in a voice role as Lyra in Sheep and Wolves, both in 2016.[46][47]

In 2017, she played the villain Uma, the daughter of Ursula, in Descendants 2.[48][49] Her single "What's My Name" from from the film peaked on several Billboard charts and was certified gold, with 500,000 units sold, on November 10, 2017.[50][14] She also guest starred as Sheena on K.C. Undercover (2017) and starred as Meg in the Lifetime television film Ten: Murder Island (2017). In January 2018, McClain began playing Jennifer Pierce in Black Lightning on The CW, and reprised her role as Jazmine Payne on The Paynes.[51] Later on that year, she starred in the action thriller film Blood Brother, opposite Trey Songz and Ron Killings.[52][53] In July 2019 it was announced McClain had joined the cast of Hubie Halloween.[54] In August, McClain reprised her role as Uma in Descendants 3 (2019).[55]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014, Lauryn and China created a YouTube channel. Their sister, Sierra, appeared in several of the channel's videos. Their last YouTube video was posted in April 2018 and the channel has since been inactive. As of 2020, the channel has over 677,000 subscribers and over 28 million views.[56]

She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her family.[57] McClain cites her parents, Michael and Shontell, as her biggest influences.[58] McClain has said that she and her family are Christians.[59]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 The Gospel Alexis
2006 Madea's Family Reunion Tamara
2007 A Dennis the Menace Christmas Margaret
2007 Daddy's Little Girls China James
2008 Six Blocks Wide Neighbour #8 Short film
2010 Hurricane Season Alana Collins
2010 Grown Ups Charlotte McKenzie
2013 Grown Ups 2 Charlotte McKenzie
2015 Bilal: A New Breed of Hero Ghufaira Voice role
2016 Sheep and Wolves Lyra Voice role (English version)[60]
2018 Blood Brother Darcy
TBA Hubie Halloween TBA Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2007–2012; 2020-present Tyler Perry's House of Payne Jazmine Payne Main role (seasons 14, 68)
2008 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Natasha Obama Episode: "6.165" (sketch: Barack Obama Live!)
2009 Hannah Montana Isabel Episode: "Welcome to the Bungle"
2009 NCIS Kayla Vance Episode: "Knockout"
2009 Jack and Janet Save the Planet Janet Pilot (unaired)
2010 Jonas Kiara Tyshana Recurring role (season 2)
2011 Wizards of Waverly Place Tina Episodes: "Dancing with Angels", "Wizards vs Angels"
2011–2014 A.N.T. Farm Chyna Parks Main role
2011 PrankStars Herself Episode: "Game Showed Up"
2012 Doc McStuffins Tisha McStuffins Episode: "Chilly Gets Chilly/Through the Reading Glasses"
2014 Sing Your Face Off Herself Contestant
2014 R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour Sam Covington Episode: "Argh V"
2014 How to Build a Better Boy Gabby Harrison Television film
2015 Bones Kathryn Walling Episode: "The Lost in the Found"
2015 VeggieTales in the House Jenna Chive Voice role; episode: "Jenna Chive Live"
2015–2016 Descendants: Wicked World Freddie Main voice role (season 1)
2016 The Night Shift Lauren Episode: "Unexpected"
2017 K.C. Undercover Sheena Episodes: "Coopers on the Run", "Welcome to the Jungle"
2017 Descendants 2 Uma Television film
2017 Ten: Murder Island Meg Television film
2018 The Paynes Jazmine Payne Recurring role
2018–present Black Lightning Jennifer Pierce Main role[61]
2018 Under the Sea: A Descendants Short Story Uma Short television film[62]
2019 Descendants 3 Uma Television film

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2011 NAMIC Vision Awards Best Performance – Actress of Comedy Tyler Perry's House of Payne Won [63]
J-14 Teen Icon Awards Icon of Tomorrow Herself Nominated [64]
2012 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance by a Youth A.N.T. Farm Nominated [65]
2013 Nominated [66]
2014 NAMIC Vision Awards Best Performance – Actress of Comedy Won [67]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance by a Youth Won [68]
2015 Outstanding Performance by a Youth How to Build a Better Boy Nominated [69]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]