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Olivia Munn is of Chinese, German and Irish descent. Her mother was raised in Vietnam and is Chinese and her father is German and Irish. When she was two her mother remarried to a man in the United States Air Force. Although the family relocated many times, Munn was predominantly raised in Tokyo, Japan where the military stationed her stepfather. During this time, she had appeared in a number of local theater productions, and later became a model within the Japanese fashion industry.

Munn moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. In 2004, she interned at Fox Sports Net and worked as a sideline reporter for college football and women's basketball. She has gone on to say that she disliked the experience, explaining "I was trying to be something I wasn't, and that made me really uncomfortable on live TV." However, Olivia had continued success working in Hollywood. She’s worked in numerous genres from drama to comedy. She’s worked with a few A-list actors such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Mc Conaughey and as of 2012, she is a series regular on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series The Newsroom as the character Sloan Sabbith, the network's financial news reporter.

Olivia Munn is in a relationship with Swedish actor, Joel Kinnaman and resides in Los Angeles, California.