Meet the Multitalented Men of 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Meet the Multitalented Men of 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Hollywood’s leading man contenders have worked alongside everyone from Nicole Scherzinger to hairdressers.

Hollywood’s leading man contenders have worked alongside everyone from Nicole Scherzinger to hairdressers.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Hollywood is full of boring dudes who talk about nothing. But Henry Golding, star of the film Crazy Rich Asians, is poised to become one of the most non-boring leading men in recent memory. In addition to breaking the blue-eyed, white-skinned leading-man mold, the Malaysia-born, U.K.-raised actor’s path to stardom has been winding and, at times, peculiar. For one, he once interviewed the Pussycat Dolls—which is more than Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg can say.

Sure, starring in Crazy Rich Asians—Golding’s first feature film and one of the most anticipated of the season thanks to its buzzy all-Asian cast—is quite a big break. But Nicole Scherzinger fans might argue that Golding’s true big break came much earlier, when, after relocating from London to Malaysia to become an entertainment reporter, Golding’s first interview was with none other than the former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman. The interview was apparently formative for the young reporter; Golding can still name the other Dolls that were present, as he impressively demonstrated recently in on Twitter, prompting Scherzinger to respond with well-wishes.

You’d be forgiven for not recognizing every member of the much-hyped film. After all, much of the buildup to its release on August 15 has centered on the severe lack of Asian actors in Western pop culture. You might know 90s Bond girl Michelle Yeoh, or Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu, but the film’s freshest faces belong to its male stars—several of whom have followed non-traditional routes to showbiz success. Chris Pang, a cell phone salesman and martial artist before stumbling into acting, and Pierre Png, who has apparently being a star in Singapore for the last 20 years, have followed very different paths, but both are virtually unknown to U.S. audiences.

Golding may take the cake for most eclectic trajectory; while he’s been a star in Malaysia for years, and is one half of a TV-hosting power-couple, before that, he was a hairdresser in London at Kate Middleton-favorite Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa. Now on the cusp of mainstream stardom, Golding recently returned to his roots (and made America swoon); ahead of the L.A. premiere of Crazy Rich Asians on Tuesday, he personally styled his mom's hair for the red carpet. So while the men of Crazy Rich Asians’s varied pasts may highlight the fact that, historically for Asian men, no clear path to showbiz exists, they at least give us hope that the next, more diverse generation of leading men will have more to offer than the last.       

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