Who is Ryan Potter?
Born on 12th September 1995, in Portland, Oregon, USA, Ryan Potter is a dynamic actor and martial artist of “Supah Ninjas” fame. Known for his charm and charisma, the multi-talented thespian of Japanese descent is 5ft 8in (1.72m) tall and weighs 140lbs (64kgs).
Until the age of seven, Ryan was raised in Tokyo, Japan, by his single mother, the Jewish-American former actress Jordanna Potter-Lew. Little is known about when his parents separated or the relationship between Ryan and his father, who has always stayed out of the public eye, although it’s commonly believed that they aren’t on speaking terms.
At eight years old, Ryan began studying White Tiger kung fu until his teenage years. A sporty and creative child, the future actor also played baseball and the drums, and enjoyed skateboarding. Despite his mother tongue being Japanese, the actor is no longer fluent, and only speaks English.
James Lew, Jordanna’s second husband, is a renowned stuntman and martial artist, who nurtured Ryan’s interest in kung fu, and supported him every step of the way.
At 15 years old, Ryan received a leaflet in his kung fu class for a Nickelodeon casting, and attended the audition after a few days’ consideration.
The martial-arts themed show, “Supah Ninjas”, was immensely popular, and instantly shot the teenager to stardom almost as soon as he snagged the coveted main role.
The show, which premiered in January 2011, had a simple but effective plotline in which Ryan played Mike Fukanaga, a wholesome American adolescent who discovers he’s descended from an illustrious line of ninjas. Thanks to its success, Nickelodeon confirmed the second season in March 2012.
Putting in hard work to promote the series, Ryan was seen practically everywhere, from red carpets to the covers of teen magazines.
He also appeared in “Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play” and “Figure It Out”, and was seen at the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards. During his time on “Supah Ninjas”, he developed a close bond with martial arts legend George Takei, who played Ryan’s grandfather in the series, and of whom Ryan has previously stated: “I would say that Asian American representation on camera in the last 60 years has been nothing but harmful, and if it wasn’t for people like George Takei, I don’t think we would have the voice that we do in the industry”.
Other roles include voiceover work in “Big Hero 6”, and a role as Beast Boy in the live-action Titans series produced by Warner Bros in the early 2010s.
Auditioning for the role of Tim Drake, Ryan sent the producers a concept fight scene.
To date, Ryan has been nominated for (jointly) Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film, Breakthrough Voice Actor of the Year, and Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature Film. Despite naysayers placing an expiry date on the actor’s career, the L.A.-based star has continued to flourish professionally, and is currently doing voiceover work on the animated series “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous”.
An altruistic young man, Ryan founded “Toy Box of Hope” in 2011, at the peak of his adolescent fame.
The charity’s good deeds include an annual holiday collection drive which benefits Los Angeles-based children in homeless shelters and transitional living facilities.
In 2012, Ryan explained: “What we want to do is provide bedsheets, jackets and toys to [homeless shelters], so these kids are like, ‘Wow, someone cares, there’s hope’”. He also expanded his charity to include “Birthday Party Box”, a separate program also for children.
In June of the same year, Ryan participated in the “No H8 Campaign”, and voiced his support for same-sex marriage. Just 16 years old at the time, and one of the youngest celebrities to endorse the campaign, he gave a poignant speech, saying: “…As we learn to embrace our diversity, we become stronger, more tolerant. The differences are beautiful. The differences matter. It’s what makes life an adventure”.
The early 2021 “Stop Asian Hate” movement personally affected Ryan, who uploaded a photo on his Instagram and captioned it: “It baffles me that we still have to educate a populace of this planet to love one another”. Previously, the director has also championed “The In-Betweens”, a new charity which aims to inspire unity and curb racism within Asian-American communities.
In the future, The In-Betweens aims to defund the police, demilitarize communities, remove police from schools, repeal certain laws, provide safe housing for all, and invest in programs to help the oppressed.
Following his support of the “No H8 Campaign”, rumors regarding Ryan’s sexuality plagued the actor for years.
The elusive Oregonian has always shied away from discussing his private life and hasn’t given interviews in years; in fact, the few times he’s spoken to the press, Ryan has tried to keep the conversation as professional as possible.
Ryan’s noble moral values mean that over the years, the director and actor has rejected projects which didn’t align with his personal beliefs, something that has possibly hindered his career. In 2016, he said of the DC Universe: “In terms of their inclusion of diversity and branching out in terms of where they find their talent, I think they’ve done a far better job in representing what humanity looks like in today’s world”.
A fan of travelling and photography, Ryan’s Instagram feed is full of artistic snaps in exotic locations around the world. The thespian also finds beauty in the simpler things in life, and enjoys watching movies and spending time with family and loved ones; it’s worth noting that the majority of the star’s friends are anonymous individuals.
As of late 2021, Ryan is reportedly worth a hefty $3 million, which he’s accumulated after years of grueling work in the acting industry. He hasn’t announced any projects for 2022 as of yet, but it’s thought that the actor will continue working with the crew of “Jurassic World”, and perhaps dabble in indie projects.