RICHIE KUL, ACTOR and CELEBRITY MODEL. The IMPORTANCE of being EARNEST.
‘Tis a MATTER of LIFE imitating ART.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The answer to that seemed to change quite often. For a long while it was professional tennis player, then one year it was surgeon, the next it was news anchor. I became increasingly more pragmatic as I got older.
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
I first learnt of the name RICHIE KUL from my Thai producer in Bangkok.
That was way back in 2009 and right till now she is still his ardent fan.
RICHIE , a fine hybrid of American and Thai Chinese parentage, is a beautiful man, she enthused then.
Won’t it be nice if you can interview him, write something about him, she cajoled, starry-eyed.
Sure, I responded, if ever our path should cross.
It is October 2012 now, time has flown!
Finally, the opportunity of a meeting is realized, to put my words on paper, to check out this beautiful man.
We’ve waited 3 years to uncover the layers of RICHIE KUL, Actor, celebrity Model, in his bare finesse.
He’s all here: up, close and personal.
Read on to find out what RICHIE KUL has been up to recently!
Why do I ever get this uncanny feeling that RICHIE KUL has the semblance of another Asian Actor called DANIEL HENNEY?
No doubt, interesting men are bona fide geniuses that let their work do the talking.
There are lots we don’t know.
We are pleasantly surprised that this sentimental dude will not hesitate to cry over sad movies.
RICHIE swears by an unwavering belief in the loyalty of friends.
Love and relationships form a large part of his life.
He has been modeling internationally all these years and a fateful encounter lured him to play one of the male leads in a VIETNAMESE film called PEARLS OF THE FAR EAST.
He has since not look back, but is selective.
He is scouring for the right script.
He loves dogs.
The list goes on …..
RICHIE KUL with the Tinseltown good looks is poised to be one of the up-and-coming ASIAN stars to take on the region.
Now will the real RICHIE KUL stand up, please!
Describe your ideal woman?
Someone compassionate, family oriented and able to handle life’s stresses with confidence and composure. An independent thinker who gets on well with people from all walks of life but retains a strong moral code and identity.
Who are some of the actors you admire the most?
I really respect the versatility of actors like James Franco and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They consistently challenge themselves and have such a thoughtful way of approaching each character.
Your career path has been a pretty unique one. How did you go from investment banker to actor?
After university, I was pretty set on giving a career in finance a go. Made sense since I studied Economics and Organizational Behavior, but I soon realized that the best-laid intentions don’t always translate into a happy and fulfilling life. I later worked for a few years as a Finance Director for the NYC Department of Health and would occasionally book modeling work here and there. As I built my book and client base and started making a good living, I switched to full-time status and began booking contracts in Europe and Asia. I still enjoy shooting print campaigns, editorials and tv commercials but nothing beats the thrill of being part of a quality film project. You have more time to immerse yourself in the character’s world and the complexities of their mindset, and as a result you feel that much more invested.
In your line of work, you travel quite a bit. Is it difficult moving around so much?
Over the past five years, I’ve worked in over 40 different cities in over 20 countries, from Italy and France to Singapore and South Africa. Oftentimes, “the call” comes with only a few days notice and then the fun begins. Recently I flew with two days notice from Miami to Las Vegas to LA to HK to Dubai to Shanghai to HK to LA to Vegas and back to Miami, all within 10 days! Whew, exhausted just reliving that one :p I’m quite a homebody by nature so this nomadic lifestyle took some getting used to but I’m grateful for the incredible places, experiences and lifelong friends I’ve been blessed with over the years. Whether I’m back in Cape Town, Shanghai, London or Munich, there’s always someone I’m excited to ring up and catch up with.
The world would be a better place if….
We laughed more, argued less and were kinder to our mother.
Run us through some of your favorites …..
Movies: Dead Poet’s Society, Avatar, Gattaca
Music: James Blunt, The Script, Snow Patrol, The Fray
Sport: Tennis. Played since I was 4 and growing up in California, I used to be pretty active on the junior tournament circuit.
Drink: Tea (Rooibos, Ginseng, Oolong)
Food: Mushroom Pizza!
We hear that you’re quite attached to your dog! Have you always been a big animal lover?
You’re right, Lily and I are pretty much joined at the hip, and sharing in her excitement as she feels, explores and absorbs the world around her is a constant source of joy for me. She came into my life when my sister launched a personal crusade to “save the world” one rescue dog at a time, and when she saw Lily at a local shelter for abandoned dogs two years ago, she knew that we would forge a strong, unbreakable bond. She was right. It’s funny that they call it rescuing an animal, because more often than not, they end up “saving” you too and true enough, she’s brought tremendous life and love into our home.
But for every happy outcome there are the countless stories and pictures of the dogs and cats that aren’t so lucky. Recently I’ve begun working with local organizations here in Miami that strive to eliminate euthanasia in South Florida, provide low cost spay/neutering and veterinary services and promote pet adoption as a viable and attractive option. It’s a battle well worth fighting.
Additionally, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 17 years now so compassion for animals has long been ingrained in my life perspective. Like us, animals form family units and attachments, experience pain and feel fear when their well being is endangered. Lily and I recently participated in a campaign shoot for a vegan clothing brand called Vaute Couture (www.vautecouture.com) that produces quality garments at no harm to animals and at no sacrifice to one’s fashion sense so I love championing great causes like that.
What’s your workout regimen like?
I frame working out as a 45 minute “active meditation” so it’s actually something I look forward to each day. In the gym I focus mainly on weights (one body part per day) and it’s a nice chance to unclutter the mind and get the good endorphins flowing. Lily takes care of the cardio since we’re out running/walking along the beach at least 5 times a day!
What were the circumstances surrounding your decision to travel to Taiwan in 2009?
Three years ago around Thanksgiving, I received the sad news (via a college friend who happened to be honeymooning in the region) that my likeness had been misappropriated by a man in Taipei to enact a scheme that harmed many women. Though friends and agents advised me to lay low since it was clear that these awful acts were carried out without my knowledge or consent, I have never been one to take the passive route and wanted to use this as an opportunity to spotlight the growing incidence of internet crime in hopes that by doing so, I could help prevent this from happening to someone else. In flying to Taiwan, I was met with such a generous outpouring of friendship and support and the experience has reaffirmed my commitment to looking for the silver lining in everything.
How long have you been modeling? Acting?
I started modeling in NY about 7 years ago. Shooting tv commercials and working with a moving camera soon became the most enjoyable aspect of the job for me and more and more I felt motivated to take things one step further. I began seriously studying acting about 4 years ago and have had the privilege to work with many great teachers along the way.
Which of the campaigns/editorials that you modeled for is your favorite?
The 10-page spread I shot for GQ Taiwan was a highlight. It was good fun spending the day on Yangming Shan on a warm sunny afternoon. The Swatch campaigns I shot in Mallorca and the Chevrolet spots I filmed in Shanghai rank highly too.
Pearls of the Far East has garnered quite a number of accolades on the festival circuit this year. How was your experience working on the film?
Visiting Vietnam for the first time was a special experience for me. I arrived a few weeks before shooting to better acquaint myself with the language and culture and left with such a positive impression of the Vietnamese people and their beautiful country. It was a true privilege working with Cuong Ngo who I feel is a gifted director with a powerful vision of what he wants to show the world. I’m looking forward to collaborating more with him in the future and we have some cool ideas we’re mulling over at the moment.
The Vietnamese actors I had the chance to share the screen with in this film really impressed me as well. Kieu Chinh is someone whose work I’ve admired since her powerful performance in Joy Luck Club, and her work in Pearls of the Far East was one of the most moving for me. It is clear that she embraces each role wholeheartedly and with great sincerity. Minh Ngoc is such a gifted writer and clearly a wonderful actress as well. It was fascinating to see her breathe life into own work. And of course Truong Ngoc Anh and Ngo Thanh Van are gifted artists who are as beautiful inside as they are on the surface. After spending time with both of them, it’s obvious to me why they are considered top actresses in Vietnam. I count them both as friends and very much hope to work with them again in the near future.
How did you approach the role of Tan and what was it like working with Truong Ngoc Anh?
Cuong and I had been in touch several months before filming began and I knew that there would be a strong mystical/ethereal element to this vignette. The script underwent several edits but throughout it I found my character Tan to be instantly relatable as a man in search of meaning and truth. He is understandably captivated upon meeting Sac (Truong Ngoc Anh) and I wanted to convey a subtle trance-like state he experiences while in her presence. That part wasn’t so difficult to act out because Ngoc Anh does have a magnetic presence about her. She’s widely regarded as one of Vietnam’s most beautiful women and has a disarming and effortless charm about her and it was good fun working with someone of her considerable talent.
What are your plans for the future?
Film for me is what I endeavor to do in the future and I’m excited to embrace new roles and continue to work with talented actors, directors and producers to hone my craft and continue to grow as an actor and person. For me, acting is a bit like therapy – you jump into another person’s skin and see their strengths and flaws and identify ways they might be able to improve their life. For me, that experience often transfers to my own life and I try to grow from that brief glimpse into another person’s world.
What would be your dream project?
Starring in a good ol’ “tug at the heartstrings” romantic drama is at the top of my wish list. Movies likes Message in a Bottle, the Notebook, and the Vow that feature a couple very much in love but dealing with the curve balls that life inevitably throw at all of us are ones that appeal the most to me as they are so universal in nature. I think people often want to see representations of themselves on screen and I think it’s important to inject more diversity into Hollywood and develop projects that are mindful and inclusive of a global audience. Asians have taken great strides in being more visible in the entertainment business but I still feel more can be done and I’d love to contribute to even greater visibility.