Samantha Tan, 26, was born and raised in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Originally trained as a rhythmic gymnast, she made the late transition to dance at the age of 18 when she took up ballet, jazz and tap. Within a year of dance training, she had won the Encouragement Award at the 8th Solo Classical Ballet Competition 2004 in Kuala Lumpur. In 2006, she went to England to further her dance studies at the famed London Studio Centre where she graduated with a first class Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre dance.
Currently based in London, Tan made her West End debut at the original London cast of High School Musical in 2008 at the Hammersmith Apollo. She has acted in The King And I twice with two different companies - at the Royal Albert Hall in 2009 and at the Curve Leicester theatre early this year. Tan has also performed at the Brit Awards, danced in many stage shows in Britain and appeared in several television commercials. Other than that, this talented lady has even acted in two Harry Potter movies.
Tan has recently been accepted into the three-year Masters in Fine Arts acting programme at the prestigious Actors Studio Drama School in New York. Whilst she is thrilled with the opportunity that has come her way, she is at the same time saddled with the task of trying to raise the money for her lessons in the Big Apple. In order to raise the necessary funds, Tan has set up a blog (refer www.samanthatan.co.uk) and sent out appeals to several Malaysian individuals and companies to seek funds to help finance her studies.
The response to Tan's initiative has been encouraging, with donations totalling US3,700 from all over the world collected so far. Better Malaysia Foundation, which was founded by tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, awarded her a partial scholarship of US20,000 a year, which is more than half the annual tuition fees of US34,000 a year over three years to help defray her studies. With that donation, she needs another US45,000 in fees and an additional US50,000 for cost of living and other expenses in the US over three years.