With a new movie, popular TV series under his belt already, Justin Chon is staking his place among Korean American actors. The up and coming actor chats about his life as a business entrepreneur and rising star. Justin Chon is coming off a long night of hanging out with friends and just having fun. And though he claims a long night of partying, he doesn't look it at all. There's not a dark circle in sight and not a hair out of place. But still he comes bounding into his clothing store, The Attic in Buena Park, full of energy and a smile from ear to ear. Despite his busy schedule of running his stores and filming he's taken some time out to meet with allkpop for an interview on a sunny Saturday afternoon. After a round of high-fives to his staff, he's ready to talk to allkpop. He's dressed in a white dress shirt, vest and newsboy cap. Justin's lucky he owns a clothing store because the jeans and shoes he's sporting is from this very store. His store is incredibly colorful, vibrant and full of style and packed with urban street-look apparel merchandise from brands such as Nike, Reebok, and Puma as well as Korean American designer brands like the Hundreds. Justin started the store three years ago with his good friend Jimmy. "This is my baby. Growing up, I liked brands like LRG but it was really hard to find here in the OC so we decided to make the store locally." While Justin enjoys the Orange County life here in California, he'll be flying to Vancouver Canada the next day to continue filming a little vampire flick called Twilight 2. Ever heard? He plays the character Eric Yorkie, a energetic student with enough personality to be a one man welcome wagon for heroine Bella played by Kristen Stewart. His other movie Crossing Over, a drama about immigration in Los Angeles, is the type of movie he would like to do more of in the future. And even though he's had the chance to work with stars like Rob Pattinson, Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, and Ray Liotta, he remains a true OC'er to heart and shows his hometown pride. "I don't hang out with anyone from Hollywood. I'm in Irvine, still live in Irvine...my mom's still in Irvine," he says like a good Korean son. While he has aspirations to expand his retail business, he doesn't want his acting career to take him away for too long from his hometown. When asked about any thoughts into doing television shows again, Justin feels that "it would be hard for me to run the store. If I do a movie, I go off for a couple months do the movie and come back. But if I did tv show I'd be gone for ten months out of the year." Regarding the future of his business, the actor with a business degree from the University of Southern California says "If I could, I would want to make another store with a more contemporary style. We are thinking of opening up another store. Times are tough right now but it will eventually happen. Later on, I don't mind doing something else. I want to own a bar or a restaurant." Tomorrow he's leaving for New Moon or Twilight 2, as Justin calls it, and after that wraps, his response to future projects is, of course, "Twilight 3! Obviously." But there's more than what he's letting on. "There's some stuff in the works, I might work with a big Korean actress but I can't say who," he says mysteriously. Even though he went to USC and got a business degree, he "didn't want to work in an office. So I started taking acting classes. Like everyone says, I said 'I'll give it two years...' and everything started going pretty good. But I'll admit, it was a lot of hard work." Justin credits his step into Hollywood to his supportive parents with artistic backgrounds. "I was lucky because my mom majored in piano and my dad majored in art. Of course, they're Korean parents so they're like 'You should focus on one thing. How long do you think you can do this for?' You know how Korean parents are. They're worried but I mean I've done pretty good," he says confidently. "I know what I want. I want to make this store into my bread and butter and the acting because I love it and not because I need to survive. When you start to focus on making money, you start getting desperate. And I don't want to do that. I think I have a good balance right now." His inspiration for acting comes from his father. "My dad was a child actor in Korea, from when he was like ten to twenty-five. He won like the child actor Academy Awards in Korea when he was younger. He did a Korean version of Godzilla for kids. So I grew up watching his black and white films." Even though times are tough in the entertainment industry along with the extra added stress from the economic crisis, Justin remains hopeful and positive about the rise of Asian Americans in films. "The industry is changing. The Asian male is replacing the token black guy. But still we have to work harder," compared to leading white males. With Korean stars crossing over into mainstream Hollywood, Justin already hangs out with Se7en and other Korean American stars, "Aaron Yoo [from 21 and Disturbia] and myself are probably the younger actors right now. And I've already met pretty much everybody in the industry. We'll be at a norebang and you get a call to come over and everyone's already all there." As the interview draws to a close, Justin muses on the future of Asian Americans in the entertainment industry. He hopes to see the Asian American community unite in a Tyler Perry-style to show staying power. "If we make Asian movies, Asians will come and watch," he says powerfully. "Margaret Cho was on the right path with her sticom 'All American Girl' and that was like ten, fifteen years ago almost now. We haven't had anything else like it yet. Asian American actors need to stick together and we all need to work together. I really like what you guys are doing at allkpop because it's exactly what we need right now." For more info on Justin Chon visit his allkpop Artist Profile in the allkpop Forums, as well as his websites: Justin Chon's Website Attic Clothing Website Photography by Jae Uk Kim Check out the multiple shout outs and outtakes from Justin Chon. Because he insisted on doing so many takes, or rather we forced him to... thanks Justin!
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Posted by Sunday, April 5, 2009
Up In Justin Chon's Attic
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