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Can you name 7 famous Thai celebrities who have cracked the Western-world mainstream? Let us know in the comments section how many of the below celebrities you already know.
Expats living in Thailand are a strange bunch of people. Sometimes Westerners live here for many years and not only do not speak the local lingo but also know very little about famous Thai people. Although it is very difficult to keep up with the gluttony of famous Thai popular culture celebrities because popularity changes like the weather. But here are 7 famous Thai celebrities that have achieved not only mainstream status in Thailand but also crossed-over to the western world.
#1 – Tony Jaa – Thai Movie Star
Tony Jaa is a bonafide, all-round badass, much like the Thai version of Chuck Norris or Jackie Chan. Mr. Jaa, to you, was born in the northeastern province of Surin and has become the biggest action movie star from Thailand to hit mainstream America. Following in the footsteps of his idols, Bruce Lee and Jet Li, Tony has starred in a vast plethora of international movies such as Mortal Combat, the classical Ong-Bak, and was contracted for a part in the Universal Studios movie franchise, Fast and Furious 7.
#2 – Thongchai Jaidee – Famous Sporting Thai Celebrities
Although Thongchai Jaidee might not be as glamorous or as badass as Tony Jaa, his achievements in the golf world have not only been miraculous but have also inspired many other young golfers in Thailand to pick up the game. Playing for many years on the Asian and European Golf Tours, Thongchai has not only put Thailand on the world golf map but has also amassed winnings in the region of 5 million dollars on the Asian tour, alongside 19 professional wins across the board.
#3 – Tata Young – Mainstream Vocalist
Tata is one of the true crossover stars of the Thai pop music world, having some success in America with her own unique brand of Western-influenced pop music. She might be one of the Thai celebrities you have heard of before. She first sprung to prominence in a national singing contest at the tender age of 11 and signed her first record deal shortly after. She has released 8 studio albums during her career, 3 in English and 5 in Thai. Her first album sold over 1 million copies. Tata has also starred in films such as The Red Bike Story (Jakkayan See Daeng), O-Negative, and Plai Tien a TV drama Wick of the Candle, and is one of Thailand’s most celebrated exports.
#4 – Buakaw Banchamek – Thai Celebrities in Sport
Muay Thai boxing isn’t just a sport, it’s an entire culture and lifestyle. In recent times, one man has stood out from the rest and become a true superstar in Thailand. Buakaw Banchamek, more famously known as ‘Buakaw’, has become a true legend in the Thai boxing game and the most famous name in the country. He became the K-1 Max World Champion in 2004, which immediately launched his fame in Thailand. This man is a demigod of the Thai boxing and kickboxing world.
#5 – Job Bunjob (Job2Do) – Famous Thai Reggae Star
Not many Thai musicians and musical artists can reach a wide Western audience in Thailand quite like Job Bunjob, more famously known by his music pseudonym, Job2Do. Showcasing his own brand of Thai-reggae, Job2Do is a famous Thai-Rasta with some of the most popular crossover singles a Thai artist has ever recorded, such as ‘Do Tur Tam’, ‘Lai Kin’ and many more. You can catch Job2Do performing regularly around the South of Thailand, especially in places such as Phuket and his home, Koh Lanta.
#6 – DJ Nakadia – World Famous DJ
Quite easily the most successful and popular Thai dance music DJ of our age, DJ Nakadia started out with humble beginnings but has rapidly become the biggest Thai DJ export ever. Famous for her own brand of tune selection, DJ Nakadia now lives in Koh Samui but spends much of the Western summer months performing live DJ sets across Europe, especially in places such as Ibiza. She is always high in demand and is one of the few Thai celebrities to be known the world over.
#7 – Vanessa-Mae – Musical Thai Celebrities
Is there any Thai person alive that is more talented than Vanessa Mae? It’s hard to tell. But one thing is sure, this British-born half-Thai-half-Singaporean starlet is famous as one of the most skilled violinists in the world. Her album sales alone have reached several million, making her one of the youngest and richest entertainers in the world. Not only that, but she also took part in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Alpine Skiing for Thailand. It reminds me of Cool Runnings!
As you can see, there are some quite famous Thai celebrities that have achieved mainstream status in the west. It’s always important to know more about the local popular culture scene when you live or visit Thailand.