Malaya Qaunirq Chapman is an actor, model, producer and social advocate from Iqaluit, NU. When she was young, Qaunirq Chapman also grew up in Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), NU, and Los Angeles in the United States. She has hosted several well-known documentary TV series and acted in TV and film.
Chapman has stated in interviews that her experiences growing up in both the North and in Los Angeles has influenced the work she does now. As host to two documentary TV series that focus on life in the North, she is excited to connect and work with elders and experts of traditional life in a way that she could not living in the South. Her experience of being adopted is the subject of a film written by her mother, Heaven’s Floor (2016), of which Chapman is executive producer.
Chapman was propelled into the spotlight when she became Miss Nunavut in 2011, which helped her expand her social advocacy for mental health. She began her acting career on a whim when she was asked to play a small role on the comedy sketch series Qanurli (2011-2017) which eventually turned into recurring roles and production work. Chapman’s first dramatic role was in director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s short film Aviliaq: Entwined (2014). She has since been a host to several documentary TV series, including Illinniq (2010-2017) and Nunavummi Mamarijavut (2018-present). Her work on Nunavummi Mamarijavut has been integral in reconnecting Malaya with her culture and language through food. She has noted that the show, which provides her with the opportunity to hunt and prepare food with Inuit across Nunavut has been essential in honing her Inuktitut language skills and connection to her homeland. There are plans to continue the show into it’s fourth season in 2022, however shooting is on hiatus due to the global covid-19 pandemic. Malaya is also the star of Restless River (2019), a new Isuma Productions film that is currently being prepared for release on Crave TV and has been released in theatres in major cities and Iqaluit throughout 2019.