Canadian actress Kristin Kreuk rose from relative obscurity to capture the attention of teenage fans, particularly of the male variety, as Superman's first girlfriend Lana Lang on the popular action-drama "Smallville" (The WB, 2001-2011). Prior to her turn on the series, Kreuk had limited screen exposure, save for a regular role on a Canadian drama, but "Smallville" vaulted her to the epicenter of young American viewership. Her feisty but vulnerable performance as Lana certainly helped to make her popular with that demographic, and she remained with the series for most of its network run before departing during its eighth season to try her hand at other roles. Kreuk met with sporadic success in such ventures as "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" (2009) prior to finding her next opportunity as a series star on the oft-adapted "Beauty and the Beast" (CW, 2012-16), which infused the supernatural romance with elements of a police procedural. A fan favorite on the teen-oriented CW network and an ongoing spokesperson deal with Neutrogena served as assurance that Kreuk would remain on the forefront of young Hollywood talent for some time to come.
Born Dec. 30, 1982 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Kristin Lauren Kreuk was the eldest of two daughters born to landscape architects, Peter Kreuk and Deanna Che. Drama was always an interest of Kreuk's throughout her school years, but it was gymnastics that truly captured her attention. She trained in the sport at the national level until the 11th grade, when a bout of scoliosis forced her to give it up. In her senior year of high school, she made up her mind to study science or psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, but a chance encounter with a casting director for the Canadian Broadcasting Company changed her outlook forever. The director was looking for an Asian actress for a new teen-oriented drama, and Kreuk's half-Chinese background made her ideal for the part. Her drama teacher encouraged her to try out, and much to everyone's surprise, she landed the part of Laurel, a high schooler whose romantic entanglements with another student formed much of the backbone of "Edgemont" (CBC, 2001-05). Kreuk remained with the series throughout its network run, which enjoyed modest success in its native country, as well as in the United States.
While filming the first season of "Edgemont," Kreuk found an agent, which helped her to land the title role in "Snow White: The Fairest of Them All" (Hallmark Channel, 2001), a darker, edgier take on the classic fairy tale that won some critical acclaim after its airing. The agent also submitted her for a new American series titled "Smallville," which would place the Superman story in a modern, teen-friendly environment. The producers were looking for an actress to play Lana Lang, the small town girl who captured Superman's heart prior to big city reporter Lois Lane. Kreuk was cast, and soon found herself immersed in the DC Comics' character's history as she doubled her starring duties on the new series and "Edgemont" at the same time.
Initially, Kreuk was skeptical about the role, which came across as shallow; the TV Lana, however, was substantially different from the character portrayed in the comics. Though popular and attractive, the show's Lana was also deeply lonely from the loss of her parents, and buried her feelings in a shallow relationship with the school quarterback. As viewers followed the series, Lana turned away from her early beau to explore her feelings with Clark Kent (Tom Welling), but the struggle to maintain his secret powers forced a wedge between them that would eventually drive her into the arms of his rival, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), whom she eventually marries. But Luthor's machinations spoiled that relationship as well, which forced her to leave her hometown for Paris in order to do some soul-searching at the end of the show's seventh season. Lana's departure also signaled the end of Kreuk's participation in the series, but she returned the following season for a multi-story arc that saw Lana seek revenge on Luthor by stealing a super-suit that harnessed alien DNA in order to imbue the wearer with prodigious powers. The suit makes Lana as powerful as Superman, but at a price, as it emits kryptonite. To save Superman, Lana is forced to leave Smallville yet again.
For her efforts as Lana Lang, Kreuk received numerous critical accolades, as well as multiple nominations from both the Saturn Awards and Teen Choice Awards. The role also served as her springboard into motion pictures, which was launched with a bit part as the cold-hearted girlfriend who dumps Scott Mechlowitz's schlubby hero and inspires him to take part in a raunchy "Eurotrip" (2004). That same year, she returned to TV to play Ursula K. LeGuin's heroine Tenar in "Legend of Earthsea" (Sci Fi Channel), a miniseries based on the famed fantasy novels. She also joined Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mandy Moore and Julie Bowen as a spokesperson for Neutrogena in television commercials and print advertising; eventually becoming its longest-running spokesperson.
Due to her "Smallville" commitment through she was only seen in the fantasy short "Dream Princess" (2006) and the period drama "Partition" (2007), a Canadian-U.K.-South African co-production about the romance between a young Indian girl (Kreuk) and a British officer (Jimi Mistry) during the Partition of India in 1947, which created the states of India and Pakistan. She returned to features as an energetic lead in "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" (2009), which was based on the popular video game of the same name. The film, however, expired after only a short run in theaters. In addition to her acting career, Kreuk was the co-creator of "Girls by Design," a social website for girls, designed to foster creativity and self-awareness.
Kreuk found temporary work on another genre series with a recurring role as a computer expert during the third season of the spy comedy "Chuck" (NBC, 2007-2012) and was seen as Tirzah, the sister of "Ben Hur" (ABC, 2010), in the Canadian-produced miniseries that same year. She was seen briefly on the festival circuit with a minor role in Japanese filmmaker Iwai Shunji's first English language movie, "Vampire" (2011), a non-supernatural tale of a lonely man (Kevin Zegers) who drinks the blood of his already suicidal victims. Loosely based on the 1987 cult favorite series of the same name, "Beauty and the Beast" (The CW, 2012-16) returned Kreuk to regular series TV as Catherine Chandler, a police detective investigating the connection between the unsolved murder of her mother and the mystery behind a bestial figure (Jay Ryan) who rescued her all those years ago.
Starred as Clark Kent's love Lana Lang on the WB's "Smallville"; left after the seventh season
Made professional acting debut on the Canadian series, "Edgemont"
Played the title role in "Snow White: The Fairest of Them All" (ABC)
Played a priestess in the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries, "Legend of Earthsea"
Cast in the comedy "Eurotrip"
Played the title character in "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li"
Had a recurring guest role on "Chuck"
Played Catherine Chandler on "Beauty and the Beast"
Cast as Joanna Hanley on "Burden of Truth"