Martial arts sensation Jesse-Jane McParland has inspired people all over the world with her highly popular run on Britain’s Got Talent and viral video success. Now the 13-year-old kickboxer is enjoying some encouragement of her own from a very important source: her martial arts hero, Jackie Chan.
The martial arts movie legend and longtime idol of McParland’s sent the teen a copy of his book, signed with a personalized message, after she performed a tribute to him on a recent episode of World’s Got Talent.
Who is Jesse-Jane McParland?
At just 13, Ireland’s Jesse-Jane McParland is already a veteran on the kickboxing scene. She took up the martial art when she was just 3 years old.
“I used to do ballet and Irish dancing, but I never liked it,” McParland told Inside The Games in a 2018 interview. “So, one day, my dad brought me into a sports centre and we were looking around, and my dad thought I could maybe try basketball. But I saw these people in white suits.”
The young McParland was so intrigued by the white suits that she wanted to learn more. When she found out that they were kickboxers, she decided that she wanted to try kickboxing for herself. Her mother expressed some uncertainty about her daughter taking up the martial art, but McParland replied “not every girl dreams of being a little princess.”
She’s been kickboxing every since. In addition to participating in — and winning — kickboxing tournaments, she reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2015. She’s also appeared on X-Factor, and the Ellen De Genres Show. Footage of her work reached over 500 million viewers on YouTube in 2017. In addition to being a kickboxing champion and a viral sensation, she also works as a World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) ambassador.
The Jackie Chan Connection
Jesse-Jane McParland didn’t want to grow up to be a princess, but she did want to be a Drunken Master. Jackie Chan was one of McParland’s idols while growing up and remains an inspiration to this day. Her recent performance on World’s Got Talent — which featured stars from pervious seasons of the Got Talent franchise from around the globe — was a tribute to some of his most beloved film moments.
So the support from Jackie Chan meant a lot to the kickboxer. “It was really, really tough, I got a message from Jackie Chan which just made my day – I was just star struck,” McParland said in a recent ITV interview. “He’s my idol, I think he’s just amazing.”
What’s next for Jesse-Jane McParland?
In addition to her current kickboxing tournament schedule, the WAKO champ is eyeing an Olympic bid. She also has some acting dreams in mind. “Hopefully one day I’ll be in the Olympics and I really want to be in a movie with Jackie Chan, that’s my dream,” she told ITV.
What’s next for Jackie Chan?
While the long-anticipated new instalments to two of his most adored franchises — Rush Hour 4 and Shanghai Dawn — are still in the announcement and rumor stages, Jackie Chan does have a number of films that are scheduled for release later this year, including Project X-Traction with WWE star John Cena. He is currently promoting his new album.