What’s Audrey Man actor Justin Chon up to these days? Making more movies, running a business, traveling the world, or playing Wii drinking games? Check all of the above. Audrey recently had a chance to sit down with the busy Twilight star in Los Angeles between his jet-setting schedule.
Fresh from the Pusan International Film Festival and on his way to Paris (!) for a signing, Justin, I imagined, must be a tired man. But in fact, he was ever so energetic during our interview.
First, he’s got The Twilight Saga: New Moon premiering November 20, and he just wrapped up filming the third installment, Eclipse. After three years of playing Eric Yorkie, however, this guy’s ready to take on more, including putting his business degree from the University of Southern California to good use. That means running The Attic with his two friends. Based in Buena Park, Calif., The Attic is an urban boutique selling contemporary footwear and apparel.
“It’s some booboo-ass shiet,” Chon says of the merchandise with a playful (and heart-melting) smile. “Nah, I’m just kidding, I just like using that word.”
What a joker. I guess it doesn’t matter how he describes it; he looks good in the 3sixteen V-neck and Nudies Jeans (both from the store) that he’s sportin’.
Justin’s also been busy helping out his fellow USC buddy Jarrett Conaway, a film major. Recently, Justin starred in Turbo, Conaway’s thesis. The short film with a tight budget that doesn’t look like it (laser lights and cool special effects!) stars Justin as a virtual gladiator, training to win a 4-D game competition.
Geez, is he one of those boys who can’t live without video games (ugh)?
“I actually don’t own a single game console,” Chon admits. “The closest thing to playing video games is when I visited Korea last week and went to a Wii-bahng. It’s like a small karaoke room, but you can play Wii games instead of singing. They even serve alcohol, so my friends and I competed for drinks.”
Sigh. Looks like Chon is living the life.
We can’t wait to see him in action on the big screen. Look for The Twilight Saga: New Moon in theatres Nov. 20.
In our Fall 2009 issue, we reported that the indie line Graey finally expanded its collection of must-have lace tops and leggings (way before leggings became de rigeur) to include drool-worthy, colorblocked dresses. Here, we pick the brain behind the genius collection, Janet Kim, for some styling tips.
Janet Kim and her brother.
Audrey Magazine: How’d you come up with the name Graey?
Janet Kim: I wanted a name that was distinctive yet free of associations — something neutral. It took a while to come up with the name.
AM: What inspires your designs?
JK: I strive to create beautiful garments. The craft of fashion inspires me.
AM: What’s an average day like and how does that affect your fashion choices?
JK: When you run your own business there is no average day. Sometimes I spend a large part of my day at home, doing emails, designing, making patterns, etc. But often I’m running around meeting with buyers or editors, visiting factories or boutiques, or running errands.
Music is a big part of my life — lately I’ve been playing violin at a lot of shows with friends who are in bands or doing solo stuff. I generally dress for comfort when I work since it sucks to have to run up and down subway steps in uncomfortable shoes or clothes. When I play shows, I tend to dress up a little.
AM: How would you describe your personal style?
JK: When I’m working from home or don’t have any important meetings, I generally dress more casually — jeans and a tee or tank and a cardigan or jacket because I always feel so cold when they jack up the A/C indoors. When I go out and I have time, I like to play around with my wardrobe choices. Sometimes I wear pieces from my own line, other times I wear thrift store finds or pieces from other independent designers.
AM: What are your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
JK: I have a bustier I made while in school in Paris that I love — it is made of this sparkly gold Swarovski fabric that I dress down with a pair of jeans. I also love wearing lace leggings (see above) from my own line. I have a few different pairs — they are leggings with lace cutouts. They add a punch to simple dresses, tunics or tops.
AM: How do you wear your own designs?
JK: I usually play with ideas that I come up with my friend Diana Huang, who helps me style shoots. We don’t do anything too crazy, but we’ll find cool tights or accessories to add some punch to the pieces. Usually it’s stuff I find on the cheap at a place like Strawberry, and costume jewelry. I am a pretty low-maintenance girl so I try to avoid getting into situations where I’ll be uncomfortable or susceptible to wardrobe malfunctions. I also try to buy a few cool pairs of shoes each season to spice things up.
AM: What will your next fashion purchase for fall be?
JK: I’ve been meaning to buy wedges. I have these awesome wide-legged jeans that look great with heels, which I generally don’t wear too often because I’m fairly tall and they can be uncomfortable. Anyway, I was never a huge fan of wedges, but the other day I saw a girl with a cute pair.
AM: Bags, shoes or jewelry?
JK: Probably shoes. I tend to carry the same couple of bags all the time, and I usually don’t stray too much from the standard pieces of jewelry I wear all the time. With jewelry I’m drawn to big clunky pieces but I end up taking them off after a while because they are so heavy. However, there are always different styles of shoes I’d like to try.
AM: Any fashion secrets that you rely on to look good?
JK: When I see something on someone else that I like, I’m never shy about asking them where she got it, even a total stranger on the street! It’s important to also be aware of what looks good on your figure. I’m fairly curvy, so I’ve found that fitted pieces are more flattering on me, generally. It takes experimentation to find the right combination of clothes and accessories, and I’m always looking on the street and in magazines for new ideas. Confidence is a big part of it — even if you are mimicking a look, it’s important to really own it, or you’ll just look dressed up rather than dressed well.
Shop it at www.GraeyNY.com.
Photos courtesy of Graey.
Photos by Paul Sun, The Social Trust.
Writer Liz Kim continues her exclusive interview with actress and provocateur Bai Ling as she discusses her role in Alejandro Chomski’s A Beautiful Life and what else is in store. Part 2 of 2.
Audrey Magazine: How did you get involved with A Beautiful Life?
Bai Ling: I got called in the last day before shooting. Denise Richards’ contract didn’t work out and the producer who saw me in Living & Dying thought I was going to be great in it. I met the director at 6 p.m., and we talked. He was very intelligent. He liked me and I liked him. The next morning at 6 a.m. I was sitting in the makeup chair. I just jumped in without reading the script and that was it. Pretty cool. I was pretty brave, but I really like that because sometimes when you have too much time in your hands you start to… I’m a very instinctive actor. Even when I have a script I don’t like to learn it until the last moment. I’m always in the moment.
AM: How do you pick your roles? Is it because you like the producer or director?
BL: I think for me when I’m not thinking I’m a genius and when I’m thinking I’m an idiot. I go by my instincts. I take my chances. I meet the director and see if the energy is going to work. Not the producer, but the director. Because for him, he has a white woman in mind so when I come in, I’m totally different. If he can’t adjust to me, I can’t do it. And I have to feel his energy, and see if I like him. I never think before I work. I just leave my whole body, like an abstract Chinese brush painting, keeping the paper and my heart white and pure. There’s nothing on it. I’m here just to feel the director or the character. Would they make noise, sound, and music in my heart? If I feel I can dance with it, I go. Very instinctive. I also believe that your journey is already there. So if they call me at a certain time and I take the call at that time, there’s a reason. I leave my fate to the world. Like the producer that I knew, he called me and I took the call, and I ended up with this movie. I play this beautiful character, I sing and dance, and I give her all these colors. If I don’t take that step and don’t trust, I’ll never know what gift is there for me. So I trust all the opportunities that come to me as beautiful gifts. So I give my gift as an actress, give my talent to it, and then I receive those gifts to testify.
AM: How does the experience from this movie rank among all the other projects that you have been involved in?
BL: Now that I think about it, there’s a part that’s very important in this movie. She’s a very extreme character. She strips, she sings. She’s out there selling herself, pleasing other people in a downtown erotic club. It’s a very daring, edgy, erotic role. Then I give her other colors like boyfriend complications while in the meantime she’s protecting the souls of two other kids. Very complicated in the meantime pursuing dreams. It’s a very important role. I like other roles, too, but I like those because I’m naturally born with sensuality, sexuality that I like to show off. I never strip in public, but in my nature I have that element as a woman. I enjoy being in the position of seducing men and expressing my sexuality as a woman. I think my eight little spirits all contribute something unique to all my roles so I cannot say which role is better or not. But for me I exist in the now. Whatever role I had I have already given birth like my children, they have their own lives. They have nothing to do with me now and my job is done. When I look at Esther [the character I play], my main attraction to her is that she has her own life already.
AM: Lets talk about your singing. That was your actual voice in the movie. Is this going to lead to a music career?
BL: I’m naturally musical. I think if I’m not an actress I can play violin and a Chinese instrument professionally. I have a great sense of music; it’s just naturally in my soul. My father was a musician and I sang in China, in a Broadway show in the Army to the troops when I was 14. So my whole life I naturally sang and danced. Singing for me is not something new but, of course, the American Jazz stuff was so different from the communist songs in China. When I dance, too, I’m like a wild animal, not just the erotic dancer like you saw in the movie. I get crazy dance disco. When I dance, everyone just stops like a magic power over them. I would say my style is like Michael Jackson. Just on fire, crazy. I just have the animal instinct, and I don’t know what’s wrong with my body. I don’t drink; I’m just naturally high. Because I’m open and I trust. Nature uses me as a tool to express their power. I’m a tool, channel for nature like fire, air, wind, earth, and it’s basically, it’s me. I do not really exist. Like fire dancing, erotic dancing like the wind and seducing.
AM: What other projects do you have planned for the future? Do you want to stay in film or theater, pursue your singing or other things?
BL: I actually have an album already. I wrote 11 songs in it and I’m in the process of getting it out. I also did a film that I directed, produced, starred and shot it. I did everything myself and had my 11 songs in it. It’s called “Nipples Pieces of My Dream.” It’s very unique, contemporary, and a genre of film you’e never seen. Very fast-paced, funny, erotic, and a very personal tale of how I look at the world. It’s in postproduction right now. I also write books. All these things that I’m doing is not because I’m trying to make film or trying to get published, I do it at the time because that’s what I want to do. Nature chooses me to do these things.
AM: If you did well with your book and your spirit told you to continue writing more or pursue other projects, could you consider leaving film altogether?
BL: I don’t know why I’m writing, I don’t think. I just go to Starbucks, drink a latte, and just sit there. I don’t really think, but it just comes. I write like 400 pages. I have never had an obstacle. Like the book is already written, I’m just here to reveal it. Everything comes to me very easy. Like making film was so easy. They ask my editor, “Who are you working with?” and he answers, “Bai Ling, and with no script.” I come in every day with no script, get some footage, and do the editing and formatting while I’m shooting at the same time. I have no clue when I’m writing a book, too, it just comes to me. It’s like, I totally trust my instinct. Like acting, the producer or director asks me if I’m ready, but I’m outside my trailer singing and dancing or talking to my friends, I’m not even thinking. When they turn the camera on, I give them magic. Sometimes I’m so good, but I don’t even know how. They ask me how I did it and I really don’t know. Naturally, I didn’t even think. When the camera is ready, I’m just there at the right moment for my character with the right emotion. Without anything. “What did I just do?” I don’t even remember what I did. To be honest, I never finish reading the script. I never know what the story is. Basically, I shaped and changed it a lot because I had to adjust it to how I feel. I gave it truth. Different actors can act a scene in a different way, but I can bring the complicated emotion. Many rich, pure moments of engaging you. Absorbing you. I glued you because I was in that moment of truth. I just have that ability I don’t know. I give directors exactly what I want. I surrender to my eight little spirits, I totally trust it when I work. I can go shopping, dance, and go crazy but when I’m working, I totally surrender and let them do their magic. Otherwise I won’t be able to do it. I don’t have skill. I never learned acting. I don’t know how my mind processes, I just shot it. I can play any role. I hope producers and directors can see that. I can play a white woman’s role, I can play a man, older, younger, black, Asian kid, transvestite, gay, street. I just want a one combination role that can show my talent as an actress and show what nature has given me. I want something challenging. I trust, I give everything.
I’ve been loving new line Seventy Two Changes, designed by Taiwanese pop star Jolin Tsai, with the backing of Ken Erman’s Truth & Pride, the company behind Gwen Stefani’s uber successful L.A.M.B. line. (You can check out our story on Seventy Two Changes, our latest Stylemaker, in our Fall 2009 issue, and also here.
ISSUE: Fall 2009
DEPT: Feature Story
STORY: Teena Apeles
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, writer Teena Apeles explores a different side of this serious topic–young Asian Americans and dating violence.
When the news hit in February that 19-year-old performer Chris Brown was arrested for physically attacking his 21-year-old girlfriend and singer, Rihanna, dating violence came to the forefront of the public’s attention. The shock of the incident came in many forms: that such high-profile stars could be a victim and a perpetrator of such violence, that dating violence was a more serious epidemic than people thought, and the surprising responses of many teenage girls who faulted the victim. Just what is dating violence and how is it affecting Asian American youth today? Continue Reading »