Jennifer Betit Yen is an actor, writer and recovering attorney of broadly East Asian-Native American and European ancestry, according to her 23andme. She is a dual citizen of both the United States and Ireland and speaks English and conversational Spanish. Born in New York City and raised “all over the place,” Jen studied Government and Theatre Arts at Cornell University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree. It was excellent preparation to become a waitress in Washington, D.C., however, Jen instead opted to head to Boston for law school, where she graduated with honors and ranked 7th among her entire class her final year. She credits any academic success to her ingestion of massive amounts of caffeine.
While in college, Jen worked as a newscaster for WVBR-FM, as a dishwasher, as mailroom staff, and as an ice cream server. While in law school, Jen advanced to working as a research assistant and had a (very) brief stint working in retail. That experience convinced her she never wanted to work retail again. Ever. She also continued to act in everything from theatre to industrials to voiceover.
Following law school, Jen took a position as an attorney in the business litigation department of a major law firm and also continued to act on the side (shhh, don’t tell anyone). When a feature film she had a leading role in made the festival circuit, Jen promptly experienced a quarter life crisis, left her job and moved to LA. She even bought a red car – ok, so she already owned the red car, but it sounded good, right? While in LA, Jen performed for East West Players and on the FX show, “Dirt,” and in FOX’s “America’s Most Wanted.” Don’t worry! It was a re-enactment episode. She also voiced the “sporty, bouncy and outspoken” character of “Avery” on the series “The Beacon Street Girls,” and wrote, starred in and produced the Accolade Award winning web series “La La Land.”
Although she loved LA, Jen returned to New York for personal reasons (sounds mysterious, doesn’t it?), where she continues her work as an actor (New Amsterdam (NBC), Nora from Queens (Comedy Central), The Flight Attendant (HBO Max), Search Party (TBS), Royal Pains (USA), Film Lab Presents (TWC, Xfinity, CrossingsTV), Mirror Mirror (pilot)), writer (The Opposite of a Fairy Tale) and writer/producer (La La Land, IWATTAU, My Not So subConscious, The Opposite of a Fairy Tale). She received mentions by The New York Times and Backstage Magazine for her acting work and played lead roles in the pilot series Mirror Mirror, La La Land and My Not So subConscious. Her film, The Opposite of a Fairy Tale, a fictional take on elder abuse, sold out at MOCA and was an official selection of the 39th Annual Asian American International Film Festival, the Palm Springs Desert Film Society, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation NY Shorts Showcase, at the NYC Conference on Elder Abuse, at WOMANKIND, and screened at HBO. The film is now available on iTunes. Jennifer became the President of the Film Lab (www.film-lab.org), a non-profit promoting diversity in the arts, in 2012. Jen launched the Film Lab’s production arm, AAFL TV, in the summer of 2013. She created the IWATTAU ("Immigrants: We Are Them. They Are Us") project in 2018, through which people from all walks of life shared their hopes and fears about immigration on a multi-media platform to create a non-polarizing, constructive dialogue. The stories were the inspiration for the stage production IWATTAU, which was written up in Broadway World, and allowed the audience to interact with a panel of experts after the show in a dialogue about xenophobia and what we can do to combat it. Jen also managed to find time to found a company to help promote children’s literacy (MyJennyBook) and a company (A2Px) to assist animal-based dairy and slaughter operations transition to solely plant-based farming.
She has been honored by the Mayor of the City of New York for her acting and activism work and the Mayor officially proclaimed May 9, 2019, "Jennifer Betit Yen Day" in New York City.
In her spare time, she boxes and enjoys fine vegan dining with her husband and running with her beloved rescue mutt.