I’ve noticed through social media that many people are concerned with hiring more actors of color, but I think putting people behind the cameras is just as important as putting people on the screen. Were there any specific dancers that inspired you and helped usher in this dance-focused part of your life? "The arts have really helped me channel aspects of myself in different ways, whether it's through music, dance, or writing." Yeah, and I can’t express how important it is to expose younger people to the arts. Born in Costa Rica to a mother from Hong Kong and a father from Guangzhou, China, and raised in the small town of Arroyo Grande, California, Shum discovered his passion for dancing in high school when he joined the dance team on a dare. A better-balanced person that can contribute to this world in a meaningful way. Actor Harry Shum Jr. attends the premiere of "Rogue One: A Star Wars … Have you two bonded over your shared role together? That’s how a lot of issues arise. "Â, We often tend to fixate on the "right way" or the "wrong way," which can constrain us. The Crazy Rich Asians star returns to the romance genre in the film following a young couple falling in love and facing the worst news imaginable. It was like this internal fighting. "I've done my best and everything within my power to go against stereotypes. Stylists: Brandon Nicholas @brvndo & Art Hunter @art.hunterr, Groomer: Andrea Pezzillo for Exclusive Artists using Skinbetter Science and R+Co @andreapezzillo, Flowing into a different way of being through conversations, surroundings, and circumstances, On embracing changes and your ‘whole’ self. It's heroic. It's important that we amplify voices who are then willing to lift the voices of other people. If you had to drop everything right now to be a backup dancer again, which celebrity would you want to accompany on tour? Shum's calm confidence and thoughtful candor radiated throughout our conversation. Shum spoke with NBC Asian America about growing up in Costa Rica, advocating for the arts in schools, and the importance of representation in Hollywood — not just in acting, but also in the writers’ room and director’s chair. I couldn't do it the way I wanted to do it." I’ve toured with a lot of major pop stars, so I think it’d be interesting to see up-close what the rockers do. Aerosmith. "Â, Shum acknowledges that representation and diverse stories are critical, but we must ask ourselves who tells these stories to move beyond the performative. The arts kept me out of trouble and allowed me to expand my mind. That description could just as easily apply to Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang, the character he plays on “Glee.” And like Mike, who’s gone from a quiet background dancer to a vital member of New Directions, Harry has recently stepped into the spotlight as a prominent player on the L.A. dance scene. To watch this little human make choices, respond to her environment, and discover new things." “Singin’ in the Rain” is hands-down the best musical I’ve seen, but I also love “Cover Girl,” which I think is pretty underrated. ", "There is something special when you're a kid," Shum notes. IE 11 is not supported. That's how Hollywood can be more authentic, Shum tells us.Â, "Sometimes, we miss out on just being human."Â. The judges were thinking dance, ice skating or gymnastics. "The arts kept me out of trouble and allowed me to expand my mind. The little nuances. "Even if I were 100% positive that I was right, I still wouldn't raise my hand because I was timid, shy, or whatever you want to call it. He describes how he is in constant awe as he watches his daughter navigate the world. I think learning about the beauty of cultures at young age has allowed me to find the beauty of cultures I don’t know about now. Harry Shum Jr. has certainly proved that he’s a master of dance, but his new movie is a whole new type of choreography. However, shortly after their engagement, Solomon is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Â, "I was inspired by Solomon's and Jennifer's story," says Shum. His love for dancing led him to various opportunities, including being a backup dancer for renowned stars such as Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. As humans, we eventually figure it out. He won a dance competition to dance in an iPod commercial. Your submission has been received! People's Choice Awards for Shadowhunters. We're not always going to get it right, but we eventually will. In this introspective moment, Shum tells us, "I would say the biggest change for me is I don't really care what people think anymore, as much as I used to. "Â, When Shum talks about the challenges of filming All My Life, he remembers a moment that left a deep impression on him. Something went wrong while submitting the form. We place these limitations on ourselves to be perceived in a certain light. There's a power in silence, and in quiet observance." The way they treated each other. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Join our mailing list for exclusive events, upcoming releases, and other exciting news. So as much as I want to fight for the actors, I think it’s about more than just us.". A topic that resounds deeply with Shum. … Harry Shum Jr. tells us about jumping from TV franchises to the big screen As part of Esquire Neighbourhood, Harry Shum Jr. discusses the making of his new film, as well as cultural identity, honing his skills as a triple-threat performer, and the shifting nature of Hollywood. As with most stories, Shum's road to stardom has an unexpected beginning.Â. He is best known for his roles as Mike Chang on the Fox television series Glee (2009–2015) and as Magnus Bane on the Freeform television series Shadowhunters (2016–2019). Before Shum got into acting, he had been dancing since high school. It wasn't just another Hollywood tale. Product is not available in this quantity. There's a lot of fear and pain, but there's also joy. He shares stories about harboring a constant curiosity that has led to meaningful change and purpose in his life. In addition to advocating for representation, you’ve also used your platform to promote the performing arts for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. "Growing up, I was the quiet kid in class who wouldn't raise my hand to answer questions," Shum shares. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Just be here right now. "Â, When we ask Shum to elaborate on "curiosity" as a parent, he glows as he talks about his daughter and fatherhood. The joy of seeing people happy. Thank you! "She eventually does. He was nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards for his performance in Glee, winning once. We kind of stood around talking about Magnus Bane and how fun it is to play him. Joined a Dance Team on a Dare. On December 4th, Shum will star opposite Jessica Rothe in the romantic film All My Life (Universal Pictures). I would love to just jam to their music on stage and find interesting, new ways to dance to it. Dressed in a plain white tee accented by a colorful abstract painting in the background, Shum greets the Timid team with a huge smile. The way they spoke to each other. And like the viral "Uptown Funk" video before it, Glee star Harry Shum Jr.'s epic "Dance Treading" routine is masterfully executed. To stay curious and to find out what works best for us. From my personal experience, not many writers and producers want to maliciously harm a community — they’re just working with what they know. Shum says thoughtfully, "There's a positive side to being timid. His love for dancing led him to various opportunities, including being a backup dancer for renowned stars such as Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. Before Shum got into acting, he had been dancing since high school. "They don't know what's right or wrong, but they try and find out in a way that's not damaging to anyone or themselves. For some reason, I couldn't get the words out. '" Shum describes this as more than 'living in the moment.' You’re currently a regular on “Shadowhunters” as Magnus Bane, a character that was played by Godfrey Gao in the film version of “The Mortal Instruments” series. I know how crucial it is to have those options growing up, which is why I stress the need for more public funding for the arts in all schools. Since then, Shum continues to build upon his successes with roles in Shadowhunters (Freeform) and Crazy Rich Asian (Warner Bros.). Shum continues, "With parenting, or just with people in general, you're told, 'Oh, this is the right way to do this, and then you find out years later there's another way. Not in the sense of telling your younger self what he did wrong, but rather your younger self telling you to always look at everything with constant curiosity and not with a constant fear of being wrong. Now I'm getting a chance to go behind the camera to give a voice to what you see on screen. Shum pauses for a moment before sharing, "That was a weird experience for me because I'm usually in control of what I do, but something was telling me, 'Don't go down that route. The power of steadfast and ever-evolving curiosity to evoke purposeful change. Harry Shum Jr. is a Costa Rican-born American actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer. By Emily … It's about finding moments of joy and community in the midst of sadness and pain.Â, "I actually learned a lot from Sol. Harry Shum Jr. was born on April 28, 1982 in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica. Harry Shum Jr. chimes at the end of our cheery phone chat. I think we don't do that enough because we're always afraid to be looked at a certain way." "Representation needs to properly be displayed in all departments of Hollywood, like in the writers’ room. There would be days where I would feel like I was talking to him in some way," Shum recalls. "I've been called 'Other Asian' for a whole year, but I look back and I don't regret anything that I've ever done," says Shum. Stories that act as an energy source to inspire moments of joy or to provoke new perspectives. You do what you want to do in hopes that you become a better person. He had also previously been in a McDonalds advert, when he was younger.He also appeared in Zoey 101 and iCarly, but only as minor characters.He currently plays Mike Chang, a dancer who joins t… So as much as I want to fight for the actors, I think it’s about more than just us. Sol would try to insert a lot of joy, so the people around him would feel less pain. "I remember trying to act out a scene in a certain way. All My Life not only provides an intimate exploration of Solomon's and Jennifer's relationship, but also the relationships of those around them as everyone tries to come to terms with Solomon's diagnosis. To create and pave our own way. Harry Shum Jr. The curiosity that's not only with us individually, but also shared collectively through the stories we tell. Harry Shum Jr. is a man of many hats. We actually have. Thus, Ashley is feeling confident that the hawk, flag and lipstick is thinking Tara Lipinski. Now he’ll make you cry in the new film All My Life. Through these quiet observations of his daughter, Shum alludes to the importance of a steadfast and ever-evolving curiosity to lift the limitations we or society have placed on ourselves. The actor explained that the art form spoke to “many who feel like they don’t belong.” We’re only one small player in the game. His character on “Glee” has been referred to as “the other Asian” in more than one episode and given minimal screen time throughout the show, but Harry Shum Jr.’s life couldn’t be more of a contrast. I watched a lot of Missy Elliott, Usher, and Ginuwine music videos, then eventually I was just watching movies with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Harry Shum Jr. (born April 28, 1982) is a Costa Rican-American actor, dancer, singer, and choreographer. Hollywood Needs Harry Shum Jr. From dancing with Beyoncé to starring in cult favorite Shadowhunters, there's just something about Harry. She also had a dance spotlight with castmate Harry Shum Jr. during Naya Rivera's performance of "Valerie," and was one of the dancers in the "Single Ladies" and "Safety Dance" numbers. What’s your take on Asian-American representation in Hollywood, as someone who’s spent time in the industry? It's a story of hope, joy, and beauty." You’ve seen Harry Shum Jr. dance. In a world full of noise, being timid helps us find the right moment to say or do something meaningful. It's seeing what's in front of you and trusting yourself. I turned in time to see Harry Shum Jr. join our virtual call from Vancouver. ET’s Ash Crossan caught up with Harry Shum Jr. and Jessica Rothe ahead of their new romantic drama, ‘All My Life,’ available Dec. 23 on Demand. He's known for his acting on Glee, dancing in Step Up, and taking on lead roles in films like All My Life. He is an actor, known for Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Shadowhunters (2016) and Glee (2009). It wasn't until 2009 that Shum made his small screen debut as Mike Chang in … "Sometimes, I forget to actually play with her because I'll just watch how she interacts with objects and figures things out," Shum laughs. ", However, through the arts, Shum learned to embrace this timidness. They have one child. "Oh man, I think it's the best! Watch The First 48. He won the award for The Male TV Star of 2018 in the E! After a chance meeting, Solomon and Jennifer fall in love with each other and become engaged. Harry Shum Jr. is a Costa Rican-born American actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer. "There's a beauty in how cultures interact with each other. He came to the premiere of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and I met him briefly. It wasn't until 2009 that Shum made his small screen debut as Mike Chang in the television series Glee (FOX). ", Since his breakout role as the quiet, but eager, dancer Mike Chang on “Glee,” which ended in 2015, Shum has appeared in YouTube videos (most recently in the YouTube Red series "Single by 30" from Wong Fu Productions), films (such as Netflix's original feature “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”), and earned a main role in the Freeform show “Shadowhunters.”. There's strength in collective storytelling that paves the way to collective understanding, but it starts with us: our curiosities, our lived experiences, our interactions. He was also one of the lead dancers with stars such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson. Representation needs to properly be displayed in all departments of Hollywood, like in the writers’ room. Hip-hop and R&B music videos were my biggest influence when I was a teenager, and what’s funny is that through them, I was introduced to the old Hollywood performers. His upcoming film, All My Life, is based on such a story.                                   Â. These Days, He Isn't Staying Still. And as an actor, my background has helped me to be able to easily adopt different perspectives, so I’m always silently thanking my parents for randomly moving to Costa Rica. We notice a shift in tone as Shum expressively speaks about moving beyond performative representation. Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. play a couple who marry before tragedy strikes in “All My Life.” Photo: Patti Perret, Universal Pictures. He has been married to Shelby Rabara since November 22, 2015. To be honest, it’s only just now that I’ve started to understand how beneficial it was to grow up in a household of mixed cultural identities. The film is inspired by a real-life couple, Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter. Harry Shum Jr., Actor: Crazy Rich Asians. We have different approaches to the character, mostly because film and TV are pretty diverse mediums, but it was cool that I could share this understanding of my character with someone else. I was really lucky to have that when I was in elementary school; it was something I just stumbled upon, so I wouldn’t have got involved if my school didn’t have those programs. He is best known for his roles as Mike Chang on the Fox comedy-drama television series Glee and as Magnus Bane on the Freeform fantasy television series Shadowhunters. "There were days where it was very emotional. Timidness creates space for quiet confidence, creative experimentation, and purposeful introspection.Â, "When you self-reflect, you often think about when you're talking to your friends or your family," Shum says. Oops! The 38-year-old actor is as kind as he is talented, happily opening up about his new film All My Life and everything in between. The … You’ve seen him sing. It comes as a surprise that Shum wasn't always the cool, confident, and charismatic person we see on the screen. It's going beyond internal and external perceptions of what that moment could be. 2.5m Followers, 463 Following, 2,204 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Harry Shum Jr (@harryshumjr) It's reacting truthfully and honestly.Â, Towards the end of our conversation, we shift to the topic of representation. He is best known for his roles as Mike Chang on the Fox television series Glee and as Magnus Bane on the Freeform television series Shadowhunters. Shum launched his career as the only male dancer on BET's Comic View in 2002 and has continued his dancing career from there. "This beautiful script extends and focuses on their relationship. Actor Harry Shum Jr. attends the premiere of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" at the Pantages Theatre on Dec. 10, 2016 in Hollywood, Calif. Harry Shum Jr. speaks on stage at the Do Something Awards at the Avalon on July 31, 2013, in Los Angeles. ... Harry Shum Jr… ", For Shum, he's making these contributions through purposeful storytelling. Several years ago, Harry Shum Jr. stumbled upon a viral video of a couple in Toronto at their wedding — a sequence of Jennifer Carter and Solomon “Sol” Chau exchanging vows and slowly swaying together for their first dance. As I watch the sunset in California, I hear a ping that immediately draws my attention back to my screen. I’m still very much tied to that country — I was married there, I still cook Latin Chinese fusion, and I love their attitude towards life. We’re all familiar with Harry Shum Jr. as the bisexual warlock we know and love in the hit TV show, Shadowhunters.Since being cast as Magnus, his r esumé includes several big franchises including the upcoming film adaptation of the best-selling book, Crazy Rich Asians and Escape Plan 3 with Sylvester Stallone. 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