To celebrate the launch of the latest Mr. Jones Style Series, we caught up with one of Australia’s most exciting talents and the star of our campaign, Chris Pang.
Smart, sophisticated and decidedly down to earth, who better to embody the optimism of Spring Summer 2021 than actor, producer and all-round nice guy, Chris Pang. Since his role as Colin Khoo in Crazy Rich Asians, Hollywood’s first all Asian cast since 1993, the Melbourne-native has shown no signs of slowing down. An integral voice in moving the needle on diversity and representation in Australia’s own entertainment industry, Pang is a leading man for the modern world. Back down under for his latest film, JONES spoke with the rising star about what’s next on the horizon.
When did you first know you wanted to be an actor?
The magic of cinema had always intrigued me as a kid from the moment I realized there was a process behind it, but it never seemed realistic. It probably wasn’t until I was at university and hating every other option that I decided it was time to give it a proper shot!
What is it you love most about your career?
That I never have to grow up – I play dress-ups and play pretend all day. Imagine being able to go to work in a new place every day and always looking forward to it. It doesn’t seem fair and that’s never lost on me.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
To be honest, I’ve never received any advice that wasn’t helpful. My industry has so many facets. Plenty of people did tell me to not pursue acting. I heard so many times ‘don’t do it!’. It’s serious advice, and it’s a test. You can truly do anything you want if you are passionate and determined.
“Stubbornness, integrity, an Australian accent.”
Chris Pang on the personal qualities that got him to where he is today
Looking back, what’s a career moment you’re most proud of?
Being able to say I made a difference within the conversation of diversity and representation in film. I got to be a part of the first Hollywood studio film with an all Asian cast in 25 years! Growing up in Australia and not seeing myself represented in the leading roles I saw on screen did hurt. When Crazy Rich Asians opened I had an influx of messages from people of all ages offering deep-felt thanks and appreciation for what they saw – it was extremely heart-warming.
These days you’re based in L.A., what do you miss most about life down under?
Of course, I miss my family but I often miss the effortless beauty of the landscape – even inner suburbia. Also meat pies. Why isn’t this convenient snack available in the States?!
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now?
I’m on the Gold Coast filming a movie called The Portable Door based on a fantasy book by the same name. I’m not sure what I can and can’t say about it but you’ve never seen an Asian wizard have you? Not saying I am one but wouldn’t that be badass and cool? The legendary Jim Henson Company is bringing it to life with real-life puppetry – we have a bunch of people in prosthetics walking around in full goblin makeup. It’s wild and I think it’s going to be a special one!
Let’s talk style, which looks are you loving from SS21?
I am really loving a minimal tailoring look. Lightweight and easy to wear is always what I gravitate to, so when I get to feel comfortable while also dressing up, you know I’ll be buying that in every colour!
As we head into the future, what’s important to you?
I think Covid has really given all of us a chance to reflect and re-evaluate what’s important. Keeping in touch with loved ones throughout the busyness of life has suddenly become more important to me. But also the state of world events during this time has highlighted the need for positive change in the representation of minorities and this has been and will be an issue that’s close to my heart.
“Imagine being able to go to work in a new place every day and always looking forward to it. It doesn’t seem fair and that’s never lost on me.“
Chris Pang on acting
What do you hope the future holds for you?
I’m a car guy. I see cars in my future. Lots of cars. I’ll make movies for work/fun to make money to buy cars. But I want to continue telling stories on and off the camera. I have a number of projects in development that I won’t be acting in and just producing. They will help me buy cars.
Mr. Jones Quick-Fire 5
The person you admire most… For how his legacy has affected my life, not just by leading the way and creating the actual path but as an Asian male: Bruce Lee
The smartest wardrobe investment you’ve ever made… A high-quality versatile leather jacket that I will wear till I die and a classic pair of white sneakers.
The best book you’ve read in a while… How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents by my Crazy Rich Asians co-star, Jimmy O Yang. No Bias – I don’t like Jimmy at all.
Your drink order… A good whiskey neat.
Finish this sentence: fashion is… Everyday expression