janel parrish
Leyla liu
Gender: Female
Age: 22
Born: February 27, 1992
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Character: Kai Iona
Occupation: Actress, songwriter, singer, surfer
Years Active: 2006-present

Janel parrish(born February 27, 1992) is an American actress, singer, songwriter, and surfer and was runner-up of Operation: Glee. Her character Kai Iona will debut in season 5.

Early Life and Surfing Career (1992-2009)Edit

Leyla Leilani Liu was born on February 27, 1992 in Honolulu, Hawaii to a single mother. Before she was born her father died in a brutal car accident, which put her mother in depression in Leyla's early years. After her mother got help, they started having a great mother-daughter relationship as admitted by Liu.

As a child she never really thought about performing and was more athletic. This athleticism brought her to compete in surf competitions all over the Hawaiian islands. She's won many competitions in her life time and was ranked in the top 10 of teenage surfers when she was only 14, and was home-schooled to focus on her surf career starting at age 12.

Leyla hated her father for the early years of her life because she believed that he abandoned her mother because she was pregnant, but when she was 15 she discovered that he didn't and that he actually died. Leyla began hating herself for thinking that that and while on Operation: Glee she admitted to cutting herself and even attempted suicide for believing she was a horrible person. Her mother however realized something was wrong with her and she was brought to counseling. Her therapist recommended musical therapy and she tried it. Musical therapy was what made her realize her dreams of becoming a musician. In 2009 she retired from surfing to pursue her acting and singing career.

Songwriting Career (2010-2011)Edit

In 2010 Liu signed a songwriting contract with Capitol Records. She wrote and co-wrote many songs for singers although none became commercially successful. Her songwriting skills were aclaimed by critics however. In 2011 she requested a release from her contract to pursue "other work." 

Operation: Glee (2012)Edit

In 2012 she was selected to take part in Operation: Glee, a reality competition trying to find new talent for Glee: The Next Generation. She placed second and earned a recurring role. Throughout the competition she was known for her sassy, "in your face" attitude, and soulful voice.

Glee: The Next Generation (2012-present)Edit

After Operation: Glee, she lived with Lyndsay Willis, Peyton Jenner, and Tiffany Messero (who placed 3rd and portrays Alana De Luca in Glee: The New Generation) in an apartment in downtown Los Angeles. She now lives in a different apartment in LA.

After the finale of Operation: Glee aired, Liu tweeted "Prepare - For - Kai #GTNGSeason5". She later announced to the press that her and the writers of GTNG were discussing possible story lines and character ideas for her and announced her character will be named Kai Iona and will be a transfer student from Hawaii. In November 2012 she announced that Kai might make her debut sooner than season 5, but in mid-December 2012, it was confirmed that Kai will still make her debut in season 5. Until GTNG starts filming Liu's announced she will portray Wendla in an off-Broadway production of Spring Awakening in Los Angeles. On December 15, 2012, Liu announced that the January 4, 2013 performance will be her last show.

In an interview in mid-December 2012, Liu revealed secrets about her upcoming character and stated that, "[She] will be a member of the revived rival glee club The Femme Fatales, who are now called The Femme Fatales 2.0...At first she'll be a loner, but after being forced into the glee club by a cheerleader seeking revenge on New Directions she becomes quite popular...She doesn't really enjoy going along with all the mean things the rest of FF 2.0 do to ND but she's desperate for friends and feels that if she didn't, no one would like her again. "

On February 8, 2013 Liu announced that she will take over the role of Sue Snell in an off-Broadway production of the musical Carrie in Los Angleles. She performed her last show on November 2, 2013.

Personal LifeEdit

Liu was in a relationship with Alex Jenkins from their time on Operation: Glee to the end of the show's filming. It was shown that Jenkins kissed other OG contender Peyton Jenner in front of Liu, but it's been proven that that was just for drama. It's unknown if their relationship was real or just to add drama for the show. In December 2012, it was rumored that Liu was in a relationship with British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. When asked about it Liu responded "[Laughs] No, me and Ed are just really close friends, nothing more."

In late December 2012, Billboard Magazine published a picture of Liu and Scottish DJ, Calvin Harris holding hands in LA. Both Harris and Liu later confirmed that they are dating. Liu announced the couple's split on February 2, 2013.


Television appearances
Year Title Role Notes
2011 How I Met Your Mother Ravyn Episode: "2 Porn Stars and A Stripper"
2011 The X Factor Herself Eliminated in bootcamp
2012 Operation: Glee Herself Runner-up
2012-present Glee: The Next Generation Kai Iona Recurring Role
Stage appearances
Year Title Role Notes
2012-2013 Spring Awakening Wendla Off-Broadway production
2013 Carrie Sue Snell Off-Broadway production


  • Her character, Kai was created specifically for her.
  • She is an amazing surfer.
  • She used to cut herself.
  • Her dad died before she was born.
  • She sings in the Soprano Vocal-Range.
  • She has Chinese ancestry on her father's side but is mostly of Native Hawaiian decent.
  • She can play the ukulele, guitar, and piano.
  • Her dream role in a musical would be Glinda in Wicked.
  • She only started singing at age 16.
  • When she was 18 her mother got remarried and had a baby boy named Kai, and after earning a role on Glee: The Next Generation she named her character after him.
  • Leyla's left-handed and double-jointed.
  • She loves leather and describes her style as "Leather & Lace meets Barbie Girl".
  • She always wears shoes with heels to make herself look taller
  • The genres she prefers are pop, soul, and Hawaiian music.
  • She likes to put different colored extensions in her hair.
  • She doesn't follow a religion
  • Leyla is a strong supporter of the LGBT Community
  • Her favorite colors are black and white
  • She can't stand The Wanted, One Direction, or Justin Bieber
  • She's obsessed with Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram
  • Her favorite artists are Adele, Gossip, Lily Allen, Pixie Lott, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, Duffy, and Jessie J.
  • She had a guest starring role on the American television show How I Met Your Mother where she played a porn star named Ravyn that goes on a date with Ted.
  • She admits to having thought of quit Operation: Glee when the stress got to her but is glad she didn't.
  • She was previously in a relationship with the winner of Operation: Glee, Alex Jenkins having started dating on the show.
  • Her favorite book is Alice In Wonderland.
  • She went to her first concert with her mother to see Coldplay.
  • She was homeschooled since 6th grade.
  • Her middle name is "Leilani" which means heavenly lei in Hawaiian.
  • She has a pet tarantula named Stryker and a pet beagle named Dublin.
  • She was previously rumored to be dating Ed Sheeran.
  • She was in a relationship with Calvin Harris from December 2012 - February 2013.
  • She auditioned for The X Factor in 2011 but was eliminated in the bootcamp stage.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.