When Hallmark Channel viewers tune in this weekend for longtime fan favorite Kristoffer Polaha’s new movie, “A Winning Team,” he won’t necessarily be the biggest star on the screen. Though his co-star, Nadia Hatta, is a newcomer to Hallmark, she’s actually known to billions around the world for her work as a TV host and actress.
Nevertheless, Hatta was thrilled to land the role of pro soccer player Emily in “A Winning Team” after going through a difficult time, having been stuck alone in Canada, far away from her family, for nearly three years due to the COVID pandemic. In new interviews, Hatta and Polaha have revealed how getting to be in a Hallmark movie gave her the infusion of positive energy she desperately needed.
How Did Nadia Hatta Get So Famous?
Born in Taipei, a city in northern Taiwan, Hatta and her family immigrated to Canada when she was a kid, she told the Hallmarkies podcast on March 12, 2023. However, the family later returned to Taipei because her parents were worried she was “losing” her culture, including her grasp of the Mandarin language.
Hatta traveled back and forth, acting in Asia while studying at New York University. She made her mark globally as a VJ at MTV Asia and in the Chinese Discovery Channel show “Fun Taiwan,” reaching over two billion views, according to IMDb.
“My career trajectory just kind of took off in Taiwan and it sort of led me around Asia,” she said on the Hallmarkies podcast.
Despite her fame in Asia, Hatta lives in Canada, according to Hallmark, and is building her career as an actress in North America — including her role as Mei Chen in the popular Netflix series “Away.”
On March 18, 2023, she’ll co-star with Polaha in “A Winning Team” on Hallmark Channel, playing pro soccer player Emily, who teams up with a laid-back, small-town coach to help lead her niece’s team to the playoffs.
Polaha, who’s been in over a dozen Hallmark original movies and its “Mystery 101” series, told TV Insider that Hatta was thrilled to land her first movie on the network.
He said, “She was so enthusiastic to be a part of a Hallmark movie. It’s her first one. She’s a big, big star in China, and so for her to come to North America and to be introduced to the North American audience in this way was a really big deal for her.”
Nadia Hatta Was Completely Alone Throughout Pandemic
Days before the premiere of “A Winning Team,” Hatta told Just Jared that landing the Hallmark role was a dream come true after auditioning for lots of dark, moody roles during the pandemic, which didn’t help her sadness over being separated from her family, who were all in Asia.
“For a long time, I was like, ‘I wanna do dramatic, I wanna play a vampire, I want to play this,’ and during the pandemic, I was auditioning for all of them, and also auditioning for Hallmark. Doing that honestly just helped me get through it.”
On the “Hallmarkies” podcast, Hatta said that after filming “Away,” she returned to her home in Beijing, but then decided to move to Canada. She arrived just as the lockdowns happened there, before she was able to ship any of her belongings.
“The moment I arrived back, it was like an official lockdown,” she said. “It was the last flight that left Beijing. I had two suitcases full of clothes, I didn’t have anything else.”
Hatta said she’s an introvert and treasures her alone time, but joked “it was a lot of alone.” But auditioning for several Hallmark auditions, she said, reminded her to stay hopeful and positive.
“Every time I had a Hallmark audition, I had to fight for love,” she continued. “I didn’t know what Hallmark was looking for, to be honest, because it was always so full of joy and positivity … and just going through that journey as a character through auditions helped my mental state of being through the entire pandemic.”
Polaha also recalled that filming “A Winning Team” was uplifting for Hatta after such a difficult time during the pandemic.
He said, “I remember her saying when we first started filming, ‘I’ve been stuck inside away from my family for the whole pandemic.’ She got trapped in North America at the beginning of the pandemic and she couldn’t go home for two years. The first time she’d been home was after we filmed that movie, so she hadn’t seen her mom and dad in three years.”
Hatta told Just Jared that she felt like Hallmark “saved” her because filming the movie was such a positive, healing experience.
“I didn’t even know if I was ever gonna be in a Hallmark movie, but you know what, this really was very healing,” she said. “So I’m very grateful for that.”
“A Winning Team” premieres on March 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.