Actress and retired professional wrestler Chyna was born December 27, 1969 in Rochester, New York with the birth name Joanie Marie Laurer. Chyna describes her family life as a “very dysfunctional” one. When her parents divorced, her father remained alcoholic and her mother regularly had a new guy. Chyna was also a physically abused child. To protect her, she was taken and raised by her sister Kathy. Up to this day, she considers Kathy her best friend and mother.
Chyna went to places with the help of several scholarships. When she was 16, she moved to Spain upon receiving a study grant from United Nations. After graduating from high school in 1987, she took up Spanish Literature at the University of Tampa in Florida. Chyna also learned French and German, and can fluently speak in both languages.
Her plan then was to land a job in the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Drug Enforcement Administration but it didn't happen. She joined Peace Corps instead and used her knowledge by teaching literacy in Costa Rica. She joined a band, became a belly dancer and even worked as a pager saleswoman. She also regularly joined fitness competitions.
In 1997, she met WWF performers Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a bar, and the two helped her get into the wrestling show. Chyna's WWF debut was on In Your House. She stayed with WWF until 2001. She also got the name “Chyna: The Ninth Wonder of the World” from the show. In 2002, she joined New Japan Pro Wrestling and appeared on the program's 30th anniversary show.
Chyna currently appears on VH1's reality TV series Celebrity Rehab . The show documents the experiences of celebrities as they undergo drug, alcohol and addiction treatment program. It chronicles their journey towards rehabilitation and recovery. Chyna has a drinking problem and takes pain killers regularly. Rumor has it that she's addicted to steroids but the wrestler denies using it.
- At the age of 15, she started lifting weights.
- She is known as the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and the King of the Ring tournament. She is also the first to hold a men's title in the WWF because she defeated Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title in 1999.
- She is a 1991 graduate of The University of Tampa.
- She once worked as a singing telegram and had other jobs like selling beepers, singing in an "old geezers" band, bartender, airline attendant, and a belly dancer.
- She used to serve in the Peace Corps.
- She majored in Spanish Literature and spent 6 months in Spain to finish her degree.
2011: War of the Dragon - Kristy
2011: A Night at the Silent Movie Theater - Sexy Drummer
2011: Losing Control - Barb
2008: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (TV series)
2007: The Surreal Life: Fame Games (TV series)
2007: Cougar Club - Teddy Archibald
2007: Illegal Aliens - Rex
2006: Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy - Roxanne
2005: The Surreal Life (TV series)
2003: Hollywood Squares (TV series)
2003: Alien Tracker (video)
2003: Hunter: Back in Force (TV movie) - Brandy Rose
2002: NJPW Samurai TV (TV series) - Chyna
2001-2002: Tracker (TV series) - Rhee
2002: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series) - Mary Jo Ponder
2002: Frank McKlusky, C.I. - Freeda
2002: The Nick Cannon Show (TV series) - Miss Joanie
2002: Relic Hunter (TV series) - Natasha Tripova
2001: On the Line - Female Handwrestler
2000: 3rd Rock from the Sun (TV series) - Janice
2000: Alien Fury: Countdown to Invasion (TV movie) - Ava Zurich
1999-2000: WWE Smackdown! (TV series)
1996-2000: Pacific Blue (TV series) - Frank Finlay/Tonya Sweet
1998-2001: WWE Sunday Night Heat (TV series) - Chyna
1997-2001: WWF Raw (TV series) - Chyna
The Ninth Wonder of the World