Crazy. Rich. Asians. From Hollywood to Asia and beyond, those three words are now on the tip of everyone’s tongues as the world awaits the bestselling Kevin Kwan book-turned-movie. Besides the astonishing fact that Crazy Rich Asians is the first big-budget, non-period film in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, all eyes are also on the film’s leading man and breakout star, Henry Golding.
The 31-year-old British-Malaysian has literally been thrust into the spotlight since he won the role of Nicholas Young, the charming and debonair NYU professor who’s secretly an heir to one of Singapore’s largest fortunes. Much like his on-screen character, Henry has gone on to charm the hearts of newly found fans everywhere (including this writer right here).
In case you’re yet to fall under the Henry spell, we’ve scoured the Internet far and wide, bringing you cold, hard facts that will surely have you crazy for this Asian.
Read also: How to be a Crazy Rich Asian
#1 He can do your hair
In addition to his swoon-worthy good looks and charming personality, did you know that Henry’s also a trained hair stylist? Yes, prior to hosting travel shows and way before his big Hollywood break, Henry used to be a hairdresser in the U.K. The actor posted an adorable picture of him giving his mother a blow-out, right before walking the red carpet premiere of his debut film.
#2 He’s proud of where he comes from
Born of a British father and Malaysian Iban mother, Henry has always been upfront about his heritage and how much it means to him. In fact, prior to getting married, he underwent his bejalai – an Iban rite of passage – and filmed the entire journey for his Discovery Channel Asia TV program, Surviving Borneo.
Whether it’s sharing a deeply personal journey to his roots on camera or playfully calling out a magazine for dubbing him ‘Singaporean’, Henry loves his Malaysian blood and we love him for it.
#3 He’s repping the Asian community
It’s not lost on Henry how big a deal it is for him to be the male lead in an all-Asian ensemble cast.
“The film is so important for people out there to open their eyes a little bit more and be aware of creating these roles and telling these stories in such important ways,” he said during an interview with Huffington Post. “People look to cinema to spread the word and to tell these wonderful, outrageous stories or true-to-life documentaries. It’s such an important format for us to put our faces on and normalise. It’s so influential in terms of society.”
#4 He’s also championing the conversation about inclusivity and whitewashing
When news broke that Henry won the role of Nicholas Young, there was a public backlash on whether he was “Asian enough” for the role, seeing as he was mixed heritage. While he understood the outcry, Henry knew there was no need to be upset – he always “owned his identity”, as said during his appearance on The View.
However, he did see the importance of starting that dialogue. “There should be a conversation about it, because if there wasn’t, I think we wouldn’t be able to educate people. There are allowed to be questions like that, because the past has dictated that roles have been whitewashed,” he said separately to InStyle.
#5 His staunch stand on the whole #MeToo movement
In an interview with Unreserved, Henry made it very clear that “there is absolutely no place” for sexual harassment and assault in the industry. In fact, he sees it as “open game for future female directors, strong female leads, female leaders” and that it’s “an open playing field now, which I think it’s the way it should be.”
#6 He’s super inclusive and all about #PRIDE
Earlier this year, the actor and his wife Liv Lo took part in the New York City Pride March, posting this adorable picture with the caption: “Had the most amazing time celebrating LOVE today in New York. Love is the one thing we can all share no matter your sexuality, religion or race. It is PURE and unjudgemental. Be kind, and love xx”
#7 He looks good in front of the camera
This one doesn’t need any explanation .
#8 But he looks good behind it too
In case you didn’t know, Henry’s actually a huge photography fan. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he shared that he “invested in a good camera” when he received his first big paycheck. (On a recent trip to Bali, he geeked out with fellow Crazy Rich Asians’ star and photography nerd, Harry Shum Jr.) A quick scroll through his Instagram and you’ll be able to spot and appreciate some of his work. Our personal favourites? The stunning shots of his beautiful wife.
#9 He’s up for anything
Watch any of his press interviews and you’ll notice that Henry has an infectious enthusiasm. Whether it’s sharing his old pick-up lines or wearing large Ellen underwear and stuffing it with money, Henry does it all with the widest smile on his face. However, it’s an old video from back in 2014 that really demonstrates his willingness to try and/or do anything. In an interview with Malaysian radio station, Hitz.FM, Henry subjects himself to being electrocuted for any question he gets wrong!
#10 No really, anything
There’s up-for-anything and then there’s Henry Golding-level up-for-anything. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Henry revealed that he “had to stir human faeces one time”! While on assignment during his travel host days, he found himself having to remove human waste but we recommend you watch the video to hear his detailed recollection.
#11 He’s loves a good cheap hack
His debut movie role might be all about money, excess and boundless luxury but Henry’s actually just like us regular folk and loves a bargain. In an interview with South China Morning Post, Crazy Rich Asians costume designer Mary Vogt said Henry suggested dressing his character in good old Uniqlo. “Henry wanted to bring his own T-shirts,” she said. “Or he suggested we go to Uniqlo. I said to him, ‘It’s okay, I think we can spring for some T-shirts for you.’”
Plus, he’s a fan of a good life hack. In an interview with Wong Fu Productions, Henry revealed that he likes makeshift rubber band phone holders, freezing meat flat and using a soda can tab to make double hangers to maximise closet space. #thrifty.
Words by Lydia Chan.