Henry Golding among GQ's Men of the Year

Actor Henry Golding and his wife Liv Lo at the 2018 GQ Men of the Year party in Beverly Hills last Thursday.
Actor Henry Golding and his wife Liv Lo at the 2018 GQ Men of the Year party in Beverly Hills last Thursday.PHOTO: GQ/ INSTAGRAM

LOS ANGELES • When Henry Golding finished shooting romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, he scouted for other opportunities by turning up at many Hollywood meetings.

But because the movie was not yet released then, "they'd have to look at the paper that had my face on it and a little bit of a bio".

"And they're like, 'Crazy Rich Asians. What the hell is that? Is this, like, a television show? Is it a Web series?'" he recalled in the latest issue of GQ, which honoured him as one of the three Men of the Year.

"I'd be like, 'No, no. It's a movie. I think it's gonna be pretty big.'"

He was not boasting - Crazy Rich Asians went on to make US$238 million (S$326 million) worldwide.

Last Thursday, it picked up two Golden Globe nominations: Best Movie - Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Movie - Musical or Comedy (Constance Wu).

Wu told the Vulture lifestyle portal she would be celebrating her breakthrough with Golding at a party that night to honour the GQ Men of the Year.

The other two are actor Michael B. Jordan and actor-director Jonah Hill, while tennis star Serena Williams was lauded as Woman of the Year.

Malaysia-born Golding is also the first Asian man to grace the cover of the magazine.

The 31-year-old, while not nominated for a Globe, has gone on to further stamp his mark in Hollywood, with roles in next year's Guy Ritchie gangster movie Toff Guys and holiday film Last Christmas.

It is a long way from his early ambition to be a successful hairstylist in London, he told GQ, where he had gone to after leaving school at "16 or 17".

But, at 21, he decided to relocate to Malaysia to make the cut in entertainment.

"I was working in an amazing salon. I had my own clients. And I didn't even think twice about it: buying a one-way ticket and moving to Kuala Lumpur, where I did not know a single person or how I was gonna get into the industry."

But he had a Plan B.

"I had my scissors with me, so I thought, if all else fails, I'll just head over to maybe Australia and cut hair."

But doors opened for him and he cut his teeth as a travel host for BBC and Discovery Channel Asia.

His Hollywood foray came when an accountant, working in the Crazy Rich Asians' Malaysian production office, mentioned Golding's name to director Jon M. Chu.

The actor told GQ he could be the flavour of the month for now, but "I made it this far in life without having to rely on anyone but myself".

"I can manage it if I don't make it in Hollywood. I've got nothing to lose. Which is the great thing. There's no pressure."

And one presumes he still has his pair of trusty scissors with him.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2018, with the headline 'Henry Golding among GQ's Men of the Year'. Print Edition | Subscribe