Matt William Knowles is an actor, singer & model from South Carolina who, in the space of under 10 years, has made huge waves as a movie & television star in China. Otherwise known as MaTai (马泰), after a prolific career of weekly prime-time appearances and a blockbuster role in Asura – Knowles is now embracing international success. Matt William is known for Love Me If You Dare, Red Sorghum, and Deng XiaoPing. He is the first non-Asian ever to study acting at the Beijing Film Academy, an institution that has spawned some of China’s biggest talents, where he was awarded a scholarship. Knowles also traveled to London to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he completed a Masters’ degree in experimental theatre to bolster his already-impressive portfolio.
Knowles grew up in South Carolina, a talented athlete and star player for the Clemson Tigers, the young heartthrob had aspirations to join the NFL. However, he suffered a knee injury which required three separate surgeries, shooting down his football dreams. Undeterred, Knowles decided to dedicate himself to volunteer work. From 2009-2011, he selflessly lent aid in the town of Duyun, within the impoverished Guizhou province, where he taught English and quickly became fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Eventually, Knowles was signed onto Universe Spring Talent Agency as their first foreign actor, kick-starting his career.
Leveraging his unique position as a tall, handsome foreigner – fluent in Mandarin and with a royal flush of talents – it was here that Knowles found his start in modelling and entertainment. He was a Gladiator and contestant on “American Gladiators”-esque show Happy Birds, and a charming weekly host for the travel program This is Chengdu. He also stretched his vocal chords as a singer numerous times on shows such as Want to sing? and Spring Festival Memories. Eventually, Matthew was cast for roles in both television and film, including Vikingdom, Time to Show, Northern Attraction, Deng XiaoPing, and Eastern Battlefield. With such a wide array of appearances, the Chinese audience’s affection for the new American star blossomed, and ‘Ma Tai’ became a household name.
He has since begun to bolster his acting portfolio with more dramatic works, appearing on Red Sorghun, the most popular Chinese television series of 2014. He also played the lovable Dr. Barnes on the highly-rated T.V show Love Me If You Dare from 2015 to 2016, and portrayed the role of Brigadier General Evans Carlson in Red Star Over China with gravitas. The program was a 30-episode long historical drama detailing the two-year Long March, a gruelling expedition in 1934 that still captures the imagination of both historian and tourist alike. Matt William is continuing to expand his portfolio, with more television projects to be announced soon.
Recently, Matt William has been chosen for a leading role as ‘Jet’ in action- Bond of Justice, following a rookie detective’s transformation into assassin due to the wrath of the Japanese mafia. Most notably, Knowles was cast in a starring role as the demi-god ‘Rawa’ in mythological fantasy Asura. Matt William is also leading in the upcoming film Poppies.
Despite encountering roadblocks to his athletic career, Matt William persevered and achieved a great deal in under 10 years, transitioning from humanitarian, to TV star, to headlining in a blockbuster-to-be as a literal demi-god. Knowles’ rapid adjustment to a new way of living & tenacious work-ethic – as well as his sought-after talents as a presenter, singer and dramatic actor – have allowed him to enter a competitive market with great success and high aspirations for the future.
Fluent Chinese and English
Thai Boxing Professional
Swimming and Diving
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)
MA Acting (2018)
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)
Acting Shakespeare Summer Course
Baron Brown Studio
Santa Monica, CA
Beijing Film Academy
Performing Arts Foreign Scholar
The first Caucasian to ever study acting at BFA. Full Chinese Government Scholarship.
Clemson University (USA)
BS Civil Engineering
Full Scholarship, Varsity Football Letterman
Fine Arts Center
South Carolina, USA
Tested at 99th percentile of standardized testing.