Photographs by Miko Lim Styled by Juliet Vu Creative director Melvin Chan Words by Zech Pharamond
Harry Shum Jr. straddles a unique divide in his Chinese Parentage-Costa Rican heritage. Plus he’s a bonafide actor who has danced for some of the biggest names in music. Here’s a quick peek into his life these days.
Glee was a phenomenal pop-oddity. By accepting that we’re all square pegs of one sort or another, bumping into round holes until we find the perfect nook, the socially-inclusive TV show won fans of every colour and creed. In a sense, being true to yourself is one of the oldest marketing pitches you can run into.
But when presented with such musical magnificence, punctuated with familliar scenarios of awkward teenhood and self discovery -something most adults still experience- the world could instantly relate. In the middle of those whirlwind seasons, when even my sullen-stoic-father would share a couple of episodes with me, was the wonderful Harry Shum Jr. Standing head and shoulders over most of the cast as the other Asian opposite Jenna Ushkowitz, Shum’s Mike Chang went from cameo king to main cast celebrity by the third season, creating his own bit of history by performing the show’s first solo dance routine in the process.
And the rest, as they resign contentedly, is history.
Born to parents who emigrated from Hong Kong’s urban sprawl to sweaty-groovy-Costa Rica and finally San Francisco when Shum turned five, it’s a little wonder he used to speak Spanish ass a first language, then English and Cntonese. Genial, gracious and engaged, he explained how his uncommon upbringing taught him to see people as they were, minus the racial cataloging.
“Before I came to the United States, I had no idea that there were differences in skin colour and race. I just saw everyone as people. But as I got older, I would hear that I was supposed to be this particular way or follow this stereotype, and things got a little cloudy and confusing. But I think because of the way I started out, my foundation is so multi-cultural, it reminds me to stay open– that you don’t have to fit in or be a type.”
What a way to set the stage for his breakthrough TV show. But he hadn’t always been the typical struggling actor. What started as a teenage dare to join the high-school dance team, turned into a lifelong passion, that last saw him lead-dancing on world tours for J-Lo, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson. He’s also an accomplished choreographer with appearances on Stomp The Yard, You Got Served and the Step Up Series. Serious credentials then, but not mutually exclusive from his acting chops.
“I’m an actor and a dancer. I was an actor before I started dancing but that doesn’t mean I’m one less than the other. I have always viewed dancing as a form of acting, because when a dancer is dancing he should be telling a story through movement. There should be an emotion behind each motion, whether it’s light and happy or heavy and sad. I love all forms of art, so I wouldn’t limit myself to only one title.”
A lucid perspective which has won him another central role on Shadowhunters, a series based on Cassandra Clare’s popular novel The Mortal Instruments plus, a big screen part in gangster epic Revenge Of The Green Dragons, and a lead role in kung fu masterpiece, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2: Sword of Destiny. He describes his first martial arts picture as being emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding. While every role should justly push the envelope, Shum thought the highly-anticipated sequel was the most stringent streching he’s ever endured. But fans of the original balletic action film can rest assured he’s done his homework, and was geared towards honouring the original from day one.
“The first one was incredible. I remember showing my friends because I was so proud that there was this film that had strong characters, great story and the martial arts was out of this world. Yuen Woo-Ping’s a legend in this martial arts world. A lot of people think you’re just making a sequel to make a sequel, but the first film follows a five book series
Here, Shum answeres a couple of quick questions for August Man Malaysia.
What about your career do you love most?
That my parents are proud of me. Everyday, I’m fascinated with how I even got here. Daily, I slap myself three times. First time, is to make sure I’m awake and not dreaming. Second time, is to tell myself to never be a jerk no matter what. And third, is for my younger self that I ever even doubted myself.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in showbiz?
(Silent) I’m not really sure to tell you the truth. (Beat) Man, I hope this whole showbiz thing works out… [Now, I’m paranoid]
Tell us about you GLEE experience i.e share some of the most important things you learned about acting and yourself from working on the series.
I learned to be okay with being scared. The dancing was something I was used to but the spotlight, singing and acting was terrifying to me. I realised that I sometimes work better when I’m terrified because it makes me feel alive. Ryan Murphy does a great job of making you believe you can do anything and I had no room to fall. In a way, it was a boot camp with long hours, vocal-training, dance rehearsals, and going on tours. Everything seems a lot easier having gone through that.
What did you expect from Shadowhunters before signing up and how has that changed?
I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. I was excited to play Magnus and work with a new cast but I didn’t have much time to soak it in after I was cast as I was on a plane the next day to start filming. I do have a lot more appreciation for people who wear make-up, paint their nails and the whole get up. I’ve gotten down to 12 minutes with my clean up, I’m pretty proud of that. Magnus, I love that guy.
XBOX – Survival starts in the core, and today Microsoft Studios unveiled a new look into ReCore’s adventure-filled world, Far Eden, and its heroine, Joule Adams. Narrated by Joule’s father, Dr. Thomas Adams, the video takes a deeper look at Joule’s journey, revealing new gameplay and characters from ReCore’s cinematic story as well as the qualities Joule inherited from her father; qualities that will help her and her Corebot companions to bring new life and hope to Far Eden.
In addition to these new insights into ReCore’s gameplay and story, we’re also excited to reveal some of the actors helping bring ReCore to life: Joule (Erika Soto, Halo Wars 2), Dr. Adams (Connor Trinneer, Stargate: Atlantis and Star Trek: Enterprise), and the mysterious Kai Brehn, who makes his first appearance in today’s trailer (Harry Shum Jr., Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments and Glee).
Developed by legendary creator Keiji Inafune and Armature Studio, the team behind the Metroid Prime series, ReCore is an exclusive new IP for Xbox One and Windows 10 that marries action and platforming gameplay with incredible visuals, unique art and an emotional, engaging story. ReCore is the first game to feature Xbox Play Anywhere, with one purchase of $40 USD providing access to the game on both Xbox One and Windows 10 and progress shared across devices for easy picking up where you left off, no matter where you play.
ReCore will be available on Sept. 13 (North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific except Japan); Sept. 15 (Japan); and Sept. 16 (EMEA) and will be fully localized (voice and text) in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish (LATAM), Brazilian Portuguese and Russian, and will include language support (UI and subtitles) for Spanish (Iberian), Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese and Korean. To learn more about ReCore, visit http://www.recoregame.com/.
Below are some behind-the-scenes images released by Microsoft of Soto and Shum Jr., and also the launch trailer:
Home> Miscellaneous > BTS Of ReCore
NEW YORK COMIC CON – Freeform Season 2 Q&A with Executive Producers & Cast
Saturday, October 8 – 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Your favorite Shadowhunters and Downworlders are back from Season Two of the hit Freeform show, Shadowhunters! Get an exclusive first look at footage from the premiere and hear what Season Two has in store. Executive producers Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, McG and cast to appear on the Panel.
To learn more about tickets, guests and anything else NYCC related, make sure to visit their official site clicking here.
TVInsider– Harry Shum Jr. first showed us his moves on Glee, then went on to play sexy eternal soul Magnus Bane on Freeform’s Shadowhunters. Now we’re seeing a more grounded side of the performer in the new YouTube Red series Single By 30. Shum plays Peter, an ordinary guy who has made a pact with his gal pal Joanna (Kina Grannis) to help each other find that special someone.
This is a romantic comedy so things get complicated early on when we find out (perhaps before they do) that the besties also have feelings for each other. How long will it take for them to take that leap beyond friendship?
Single by 30 is full of charm and Shum shows us a gentler side in this role (and, yes, we do get to see some of his fabulous dance moves) but the series lives on the easy chemistry he has with Grannis. Shum filled us in on how it all came together.
What were the origins of the show?
Basically how YouTube really functions is you collaborate with other creators. With this one I reached out to them because I really liked one of the videos that they worked on and put out on their YouTube channel. We got to talking and we got to do little, fun shorts that we created together, and then they had this idea to do this project that was a pilot for New Form and YouTube. They wanted me and Kina lead up the projects and then we shot this 20-minute pilot that did really well, and they decided they wanted to do a full eight-episode, half-hour show. It was really great to be part of something so organic as opposed to, “Here’s a project [where] we thought about you.” I got to be a part of the whole process, which is really an awesome experience.
Since you were involved in the process what was your objective with Peter given characters you’ve played in the past?
It really resonated with me because I was always that nice guy. When I was younger, specifically with women, I never really took a chance and really said what I felt and I think most people in general, when they like someone or they have feelings for someone, they have a hard time expressing them in a certain way. Sometimes when those moments kind of pass you by you bang your head on the wall.
For Peter I think it is that way. He has this idea, this mindset of getting married by the time he’s 30 because his parents are pressuring him and society has that idea of when you hit a certain number you’re supposed to have all of these things. So he is in a way trying to achieve those goals that aren’t really his own. I think we’ve all dealt with that where we always want to try to please everyone else and we lose sight of pleasing ourselves at the end of the day.
It’s always weird when you have two best friends that are attracted to each other, but you also have these walls of one person doesn’t want to get rejected so they never want to bring it up … It’s that fear. But you also have to look at that 12 year gap, 12 years of not knowing what this person has learned, gone through or those things that can’t be summed up in a day or catching up over coffee. So I think there’s those fears that kind of come in the 12 years of whether it be burned by a past relationship and not knowing if that was maybe the right relationship.
I think we definitely discussed that and we don’t want to make it seem like a romantic comedy, they love each other and they’re just having a hard time expressing each other. I think that’s why the pact makes it a lot more complicated. There’s also the motivation of why the pact was two very different things for each of them. For Joanna it’s to do things to be a lot more free, to have this goal that allows her to do more things. For Peter it’s really that he really would be able to marry someone like Joanna and also he has that ticking clock. So there are two very different ideas, and hopefully they come to that same wavelength and we’ll see if they end up together or not.
How was playing Peter after you had spent the last year or so in Magnus Bane’s shoes. They’re so different!
It’s the spice of life. It makes me feel like I’m getting to experience so many different parts of the world without truly traveling. With someone like Magnus Bane, he’s very worldly, he’s seen everything, he’s been through almost everything, he’s felt I think every emotion possible in human existence but still has this quality about him that there’s certain things that he’s still finding new even living for centuries.
But for Peter it’s completely the opposite. He hasn’t really ventured out. He had one girlfriend for seven years but he hasn’t experienced the world, he hasn’t seen a lot of things. He hasn’t traveled like Joanna, who has been all over the world after high school. For me it was really fun to play the polar opposite. In a lot of ways I really related to Peter because there was a time in my life where I didn’t get to do a lot of that, where your mind is completely in a different place as opposed to someone who is a little more worldly and cultured.
Today (August 24) Harry Shum Jr. will be interviewd by BUILD Series and fans get the chance to sit inches away from him!
Join Harry Shum Jr. from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM (EDT) as he discusses “Single By 30” a romantic comedy show about two high school best friends who made a promise to get married if they’re still single when they’re 30, and now they’ve run into each other 12 years later – and try to honor the pact.
Doors open 30 minutes before showtime. VALID ID REQUIRED FOR ENTRY for security purposes (No age minimum).
AOL BUILD Studio – 770 Broadway 4th Floor , New York, NY 10003, United States – View Map
For those who aren’t able to go, You’ll still be able to watch the livestream of the interview at: build.aol.com
For those interested, Wong Fu Productions will be doing a livestream chat today at 1 PM (PST) on their main Youtube channel, and will be answering your questions regarding “Single By 30”.
Foundation Fighting Blindness Launches #HowEyeSeeIt Campaign to Raise Awareness, Funds for Retinal Degenerative Disease Research
Campaign ambassadors – including some individuals with retinal degenerative diseases – and celebrities nationwide are joining the Foundation Fighting Blindness today for the launch of the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign, the first social media initiative aimed at elevating awareness and accelerating research funding for retinal degenerative diseases.
The Foundation has paired individuals who are affected by a retinal degenerative disease with celebrities, including Glee’s Harry Shum Jr., Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black and Justin Baldoni of Jane the Virgin, to demonstrate the difficulty in performing everyday tasks with vision impairment or loss
More than 10 million Americans and millions more worldwide are affected by retinal degenerative diseases – those that cause vision loss – including age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome. Yet blindness is far more broadly impactful – a recent study from JAMA Ophthalmology showed Americans rank losing eyesight as the worst thing that could happen to them when ranked against other conditions including loss of a limb, memory, hearing or speech.
The public is encouraged to get involved by visiting https://www.howeyeseeit.org/ to learn more about retinal degenerative diseases and make a donation. Individuals can also take the #HowEyeSeeIt blindfold challenge by creating a short video of themselves participating in an activity they love while blindfolded and sharing on their social media channels with the campaign hashtag #HowEyeSeeIt, tagging three friends to participate as well. The campaign will conclude on World Sight Day, October 13, 2016.
Watch the trailer:
Home > Screencaptures > More > #HowEyeSeeIt Campaign Trailer
The full video with Harry will be available Aug. 30
- Cassandra Clare Book Signing For ‘Lady Midnight’ At Barnes & Noble At The Grove On March 8, 2016
- Young Hollywood Studio On February 23, 2016 In Los Angeles, California
Home > Events > 2016 > Young Hollywood Studio On February 23, 2016 In Los Angeles, California
Harry Shum Jr. finally hit 1 Million Followers on Instagram and we couldn’t be happier!
— Harry Shum Jr. NET (@harryshumjrnet) August 5, 2016
Harry is known for his amazing social media posts, and throughout the years he posted some awesome stuff on Instagram and we thought it’s a great opportunity to choose some of our favorite photos he posted and share them with you.
Single by 30, A new 8-episodes-long series, comes from New Form Digital, the production company backed by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Discovery, and YouTube channel Wong Fu Productions finally has a release date!
The show is set to be released on August 24, 2016 on Youtube Red. The first trailer comes on August 10.
Harry Shum Jr. is starring alongside Kina Grannis, Eric Ochoa, Hillary Anne Matthews, Alexandra Metz. Youtuber Ryan Higa and Teen Wolf actress Arden Cho guest-star.
Watch the Pilot now on the Wong Fu Youtube channel:
Behind the scenes teaser video:
— YouTube (@YouTube) June 24, 2016
Home > Television Series > Single By 30 (2016)> Promotionals> Posters