Malese Jow, also known as Melise, is an American actor, singer, and songwriter, best known for portraying ‘Geena Fabiano’ in the ‘Nickelodeon’ teen sitcom ‘Unfabulous’ and ‘Anna,’ a teenage vampire, in ‘The CW’ teen drama ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ Born in Oklahoma, she spent her later childhood in California. She began her career as a singer at age 6, singing at local events and opening acts for singers such as Brenda Lee and Rodney Lay. In 2002, she won four rounds of ‘PAX-TV’s ‘Next Big Star.’ After a few appearances as a child artist, she began her acting career in 2004, as ‘Geena Fabiano’ in ‘Nickelodeon’s ‘Unfabulous,’ which earned her a few award nominations. This was followed by several roles of teenagers in films and series such as ‘Bratz: The Movie,’ ‘iCarly,’ and ‘Hannah Montana.’ She made a smooth transition from being a successful teen artist to acting in more serious roles. Her work in films such as ‘The Social Network,’ ‘Plastic,’ and ‘I Wrote This for You’ and in series such as ‘Big Time Rush,’ ‘Star-Crossed,’ and ‘The Flash’ was appreciated. Jow has also appeared in music videos and has released a single of her own. She was included on the ‘Maxim Hot 10’ list in 2015.
Childhood & Early Life
Jow was born Elizabeth Melise Jow, on February 18, 1991, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to a Chinese–American father and a Caucasian mother with Cherokee heritage. Jow is the oldest of the four children in the family, with a younger sister, Makenna Jow, and two brothers, Jensen and Braden Jow. Her mother, Lanae Tillery Jow, moved to California along with all her children when Jow was just 9.
Jow began her career as a singer and sang for local events in her hometown. At 6, she sang at charity programs, local baseball games, and talent competitions. When she was 7, she was chosen over many adult singers, to accompany singer Rodney Lay and the country music group ‘The Wild West.’ She also opened acts for musicians such as Brenda Lee, George Jones, Ty Herndon, and Ray Price.
In 1999, the advertising head at ‘McDonald’s’ heard her and signed her for several TV commercials and radio jingles. In 2002, Jow appeared in the kid’s vocalist category on Ed McMahon’s ‘Next Big Star,’ aired on ‘PAX-TV.’ She won 4 rounds on the show. After her win, Mr. McMahon included her in his variety show tour in Branson.
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Jow appeared as a child artist in ‘Barney & Friends’ and ‘Dellaventura’ at the age of 6. She began her full-fledged acting career in 2004. She played ‘Geena Fabiano,’ a close friend of ‘Addie Singer’ (played by Emma Roberts), in ‘Nickelodeon’s ‘Unfabulous.’ Her character was a teenager interested in fashion and in designing her own clothes. The teen sitcom ran for three seasons (2004–2007), and her work in it earned her several nominations for the ‘Young Artist Award.’
Jow played the role of ‘Quinn’ in ‘Bratz: The Movie’ (2007), a musical comedy based on the ‘Bratz’ line of cartoon characters and dolls. The fantasy sitcom ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ (2007) featured her alongside Selena Gomez. Hers was a guest role as ‘Ruby Donahue.’
In 2008, she essayed the guest role of ‘Hannah’ in the soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless.’ The series began airing in 1973. Another popular ‘Nickelodeon’ popular series, ‘iCarly’ (2009), featured Jow as a lookalike of ‘Carly.’ The same year, she appeared as ‘Gail’ in the teen drama ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager.’ In ‘Disney’s ‘Hannah Montana’ (2009), she played ‘Hannah’s friend, ‘Rachel.’ The science-fiction comedy ‘Aliens in the Attic’ (2009) featured her in the cameo role of ‘Julie.’
The 2010 supernatural drama ‘The Vampire Diaries’ (aired on ‘The CW’) featured Jow as ‘Anna,’ a vampire who was more than 500 years old. He character appeared to have wicked intentions but was only trying to set her mother free. The series featured her alongside Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder. She won numerous teen fans with this role. Her character was “killed” in the first season’s finale, but she was back in the third season for a short while.
In 2010, Jow appeared in varied roles in different projects. She was seen as ‘Megan’ in the ‘ABC’ movie ‘You’re So Cupid.’ The film ‘The Social Network’ featured her as ‘Alice Cantwel,’ the best friend of ‘Christy Lee’ (played by Brenda Song). She also did a guest role in an episode of the ‘TNT’ crime comedy–drama ‘Leverage.’ In 2011, she appeared as bad girl ‘Cadence Nash’ in the ‘Nickelodeon’ series ‘The Troop.’
Jow joined the ‘Nickelodeon’ musical sitcom ‘Big Time Rush’ in its second season in 2011. The series featured her in the recurring role of an aspiring rock musician named ‘Lucy Stone.’ She appeared in the same role in its fourth and final season in 2013. She was seen in the guest role of ‘Violet’ in the mystery–comedy series ‘Desperate Housewives’ (2011).
Jow appeared in various music videos, such as ‘When You’re Around’ by C&C (2009), ‘The In Crowd’ by Mitchel Musso (2009), and ‘Famous’ by Lissa Lauria (2011). She was seen in the music video of the single ‘Time Bomb’ by the American band ‘All Time Low’ (2011). In 2018, Jow released a single titled ‘Trying to Sleep.’
In 2013, Jow hosted a side show of ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ ‘TVD Rehash.’ In ‘The CW’s 2014 science-fiction romantic series ‘Star-Crossed’ (originally titled ‘Oxygen’), she played ‘Julia Yeung,’ a young woman with a form of leukemia that could be cured only by aliens. The series ran only for a season. The crime comedy film ‘Plastic’ (2014) featured her as ‘Beth.’
The superhero series ‘The Flash’ (2015), aired on ‘The CW,’ had Jow portraying the recurring character of ‘Linda Park.’ ‘Linda’ was shown having a brief relationship with protagonist ‘Barry Allen.’ In the second season, she reprised the role, which was expanded to include a villainess named ‘Dr. Light,’ an ‘Earth 2’ counterpart of her character.
In the ‘MTV’ fantasy series ‘The Shannara Chronicles’ (2017), Jow was seen as ‘Mareth Ravenlock.’ Following this, she was seen as ‘Ariana’ in the film ‘I Wrote This for You’ (2018) and as ‘Daya’ in the 2019 thriller ‘Escape Plan: The Extractors.’ Her forthcoming projects include ‘Amazon’s TV series ‘Invincible,’ which is set to release in 2020.
Family & Personal Life
Reportedly, Jow had been involved in a few relationships in the past. She was linked with musician/actor Kevin Jonas and also with some of her co-stars from ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ However, there was no confirmation of the rumors.
Jow supports ‘Kids Against Animal Cruelty.’