Van Damme’s daughter is as badass as he is, maybe more so.

Posted on 10 May 2016
By Khyle Deen
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Don’t mess with Bianca Van Damme

Those wide-set eyes, those pouty lips, looking like a model, then bam! She leaps into a pristine roundhouse kick.

“I want to show little girls and little boys that you can be physical and feminine. That you can cross your legs at the dinner table and then kick ass in a nice, feminine way,” says the 25-year-old West Village resident. “Kind of like how my father brought martial arts to the mainstream for my generation — I want to continue that legacy.”

A very strong statement for the actress and film producer.

Especially after spending her childhood telling her father, Jean-Claude Van Damme, aka “The Muscles from Brussels” and her mum, bodybuilding champion Gladys Portugues, that she “hated” the martial arts.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Jean-Claude kicked his way into pop-culture in martial-arts action movies like Bloodsport, Kickboxer and Street Fighter, providing a very comfy life for Bianca and her brother Kristopher, 28.

“My parents let us do our own thing. When I was young, my mom pushed me into martial arts for self-discipline. I was 7 and like, ‘I can’t stand it,’ ” Bianca recalls. “I stuck with ballet and [ice] skating.”

Eventually, the family moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia. “As a teenager,” says Bianca, “I was so focused on speed skating, I wanted to be in the Olympics.”

An injury forced her to take a second look at her choices. “I was stuck for a while,” she admits. “My whole life was skating. Then all of a sudden, I needed to find something new.”

Bianca started acting, then eventually transitioned into martial arts — alongside her dad, in 2008’s “The Shepherd: Border Patrol.” Though she enjoyed the experience, she didn’t take it too seriously. Admits Bianca: “I didn’t like what I saw on-screen when I watched my first film. I realized that if this was what I was going to do, I needed to do it right.”

So she put her head down, determined to work harder the next time Dad gave her a break. She’s since co-starred in six of Jean-Claude’s films and even co-produced a couple of them. At first, she was credited as Bianca Van Varenberg — her dad’s given surname — and then as Bianca Bree (a shortened version of her middle name, Brigitte). Even as she acted alongside Jean-Claude, she felt compelled to distance herself.

“It’s complicated,” she says. “I always have people coming up and telling me how much they love my dad. It’s nice to hear, but it’s like…what does that have to do with me?”

Adding to the list of complications is the extra weight that comes from growing up with her last name making regular headlines, and not always for good reasons.

Jean-Claude has stated that in the 1990s, he’d worked his way up to a drug habit of 10 grams of cocaine per day.

While dealing with paparazzi fights, getting deep into debt and a DUI arrest, he went through several bouts with rehab and was diagnosed as bipolar before picking himself up and finally getting clean.

After divorcing Bianca’s mom in 1992 and a short-lived marriage to model Darcy LaPier (with whom he has son Nicholas, now 20), Jean-Claude remarried Portugues in 1999.

Asked about her relationship with her father back then, Bianca says, “It depends on what year. Yeah, it was tough. It’s never been like I’m my father’s little girl or princess.”

She adds, “Our relationship definitely had its ups and downs, but now we’re cool. We talk and we hang out, but it’s not like I’m calling him being like, ‘Hey Dad, let’s grab a bite and talk about life.’ We’ll go to the gym and kick and stuff.”

Bianca’s has clearly taken after her father, she can do crazy flying kicks, spins and even a balancing split that mimics his infamous 2013 Volvo commercial.

One big sign that things are better between the two Van Dammes?

Bianca’s now using her dad’s stage name professionally, even as she’s signed on to make some films without him. And now that she’s finally embraced the family business of martial arts, daughter and father bond through competitiveness.

“I’ll agree to meet up with him and then I’ll be like, ‘Ugh, why am I here?’ I’m a perfectionist, and so is he, so he’ll always give me little critiques on my form,” she says. “He’ll be all like, ‘Look how high my kick is!’ And I’m like, ‘Dad, you can’t be serious — I’m obviously better than you!’ ”