Kai Braden (born March 31, 1988) is an American actor, international fashion model, CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting coach, as well as the founder/CEO of the nonprofit organization, AMEN Missionary, Inc.
Kai Braden comes from a family of German and Chinese descent with parents and a sister who work in the medical field. He attended San Francisco University High School and then Pepperdine University in California, graduating with a degree in Television Production and a minor in Spanish. While at the university he started the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization AMEN Missionary, Inc. and is currently the founder/CEO. He trained for the Junior Olympics in Taekwondo, acquiring a second-degree black belt, played varsity tennis in high school, and was also involved in Gymnastics. He is also a keen sky diver and a qualified scuba diver with an Open Water Diver Certification.
At the age of four, Braden appeared in local lifestyle ads in San Francisco. Years later he was offered a place to join the American Conservatory Theatre. He completed two years of training there before returning to high school. After signing with a San Francisco local talent agency, Kai booked his first modeling job in a Macy's Teen Runway show. He later accepted a contract with Wilhelmina Models, New York and was given a scholarship to train as an actor at a private performing arts conservatory. He moved to New York city, and booked his first television role in an episode of The Guiding Light (CBS), an American daytime soap opera.
After living in New York and working professionally as an actor and model, he moved back to California to attend Pepperdine University and studied the business side of entertainment. While studying he worked in Los Angeles as an actor during the school year but spent his four-month summers in different countries working as an international model, signing with agencies in London, New York, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. He has appeared in advertisements for Gillette, 7 For All Mankind, New Balance and Pizza Hut. He is based in Los Angeles.
Braden is a member of the American actor's union SAG-AFTRA. Through his extensive training in New York and Los Angeles, he played the co-star role of "Jesse" in the US television drama series 90210(The CW Television Network), and "Darryl" in the daytime soap opera One Life to Live (American Broadcasting Company). He has co-starred on other primetime and daytime television shows such as Revenge, General Hospital and Touch.
Braden's model work largely includes campaigns for cosmetic brands and athletic apparel companies. He has appeared in advertisements for Gillette, 7 For All Mankind, New Balance and Pizza Hut. Much of his modeling work for SOAR, Naked, N2N, amongst others, have also been featured on The Underwear Expert blog.
Braden has also worked as a TV/Media host with FOX News, KEYT News and Pacific Rim Video Press. He is also an ongoing host on The 100% Mixed Show's YouTube channel. The 100% Mixed Show connects people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and upbringings in an attempt to provide a space for discussions about identity and experience.
Leading the eclectic lifestyle that Braden lives, his wide array of experiences from traveling across the globe in the modeling industry, the television business, as well as being a CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting coach, have all resulted in a focus on writing. Braden has written articles for online and print publications such as All My Friends Are Models, The Business Model, Amped Asia and the newsletter for CrossFit SolCity in Los Angeles, where he is also a coach.
Braden is also the author of a book entitled Picture (Not) Perfect: A Male Model how-to Memoir. The eight-chapter book is a mixed-genre memoir based on his international travels as a male model and actor that aims to give tips to young aspiring artists and entrepreneurs that want to become successful in the entertainment and fashion worlds.
In his spare time, Braden coaches CrossFit at CrossFit SolCity and Olympic Weightlifting at The Phoenix Effect in Los Angeles, California. His experience as an athlete and a coach has directly influenced his modeling career, having represented international athletic apparel lines such as Nike Pro-Combat, Reebok CrossFit, and New Balance running to name a few.
While modeling overseas, Braden taught English in local slums and travelled over the Thai-Burma border. After witnessing the social injustice and becoming friends with Burmese refugees and orphans, Braden felt compelled to start his own non-profit organization, AMEN Missionary, Inc. in 2009 as a way to raise awareness, provide support and promote self-sustainability among the local communities on the border. The Christian organization has successfully run multiple programs including education, health and spiritual stability.