Blazer, tank top and bermudas, AMIRI

It is always interesting acquainting with someone for the first time, celebrity status notwithstanding. Largely because you never know which version of them you're meeting. No one maintains an utterly identical self while meandering through the varied seasons of life.

I would like to believe it's a good moment in Justin H. Min's timeline to meet him. He's not quite a household name yet, but it's more than fair to say he's on the better side of fame. Most would predominantly know him as Ben Hargreeves aka The Horror or his alternate self, Sparrow Number Two from The Umbrella Academy. Hardcore fans may even recognise him from his stint with Wong Fu Productions.

At this juncture, we're discussing his latest release on Disney+, The Greatest Hits. The premise takes relatability quite so literally. Ever felt like listening to a particular song transported you back in time? It actually does for female protagonist Harriett, for whom the act has now become an obsessive plan to potentially undo her lover's ultimate death.

Min plays the new man Harriett encounters, whose existence inevitably forces her to make that fateful decision. A choice (no spoilers!) he still doesn't quite know if he would have made the same way, despite heavy contemplation.

"It's a movie about the exploration of grief, and I was grieving a friend that I lost when I received the script," he shares. "It's amazing that I can do art that resounds with me on a very personal level, often at a very specific time in my life the last few years."

Blazer and shirt, KENZO. Sunglasses, OLIVER PEOPLES

Not one with dream genres in mind, the only litmus test Min has is the emotional connection to the material that comes his way; because why would you put your heart and soul into something you are not passionate about?

One character that naturally surfaces is Ben from Randall Park's Shortcomings. If actors enjoy playing roles vastly apart from themselves to have a distinct divide, the highly-flawed and insecure Ben was terrifying for Min.

"The joke when I talk about him is that's who I was before therapy," he chuckles lightly, "He did feel so close to me in many ways that it was very vulnerable. Other characters I could hide behind different qualities that make up the person, but this felt raw sharing a lot of my own brokenness."

Ben, who finds his source in Adrian Tomine's graphic novel of the same name, feels unnervingly like someone you might know in real life. Which begs the question: exactly which traits did Min see in himself most?

"He has a strong sense of what he likes and doesn't. His taste in movies is very elevated, and yet he is unable to produce the kind of art that he loves because he's paralysed by his own perfectionism," Min says, explaining a similar revelation in his early aspirational phase, "You have to be willing to put yourself out there, do the work required to build a portfolio and hopefully reach where your taste and your art aligns."

Blazer, sweater, shorts and belt, AMI

Experience also puts crappy shows in a new perspective. "We can all watch and say it's so bad but we don't know how many things were needed to work out perfectly for it to be done right."

Min agrees that actors often only have the script—a fraction of the final product—to gauge; the execution you can only hope for the best. "That's why when I see a movie now and dislike it, I have so much more compassion than I used to."

However, one special script did make him cry. Not a cinematic singular-tear-down-the-cheek, but unapologetic sobbing on the plane.

"First of all, I would disclaim that by saying some of that was due to altitude," he clears his throat semi-sheepishly and grins, adding that he's not one to cry much but later discovered that heightened sentimentalism during transit is universal. In his defence, this theory has been widely supported by several psychiatric articles and reported stats.

See, the thing about After Yang (which if anything, you should watch solely for that rad dance break at the beginning) is not your typical robot flick. We don't just mean because it's an A24 starring Colin Farrell.

"Majority of android films and TV is always about the robot wanting to become human, and the thing I was so moved by was that Yang was so content being a robot. So content with serving his family and found so much reverence and dignity in doing his duty."

"It's kind of that Asian immigrant mentality that I think really struck a chord. The idea that my parents have no other joy than to see their kids succeed, you know? That's why a lot of immigrant parents move to America, for their kids to have a better life."

Min trips on his words for a split-second and continues, "I thought about my parents and it broke my heart because I want more for them? My mom owned a [dry cleaning business] for 20 years, my dad worked at a supermarket and they were just perfectly happy doing that. Anything to keep our family afloat; for my brother and I to have a future."

Suit, shirt, tie and boots, CELINE. Sunglasses, OLIVER PEOPLES

It's beyond evident that family and his Asian roots are dear to the actor's heart. Presented the hypothetical chance to access anyone's memories the way Yang's was, there wasn't much hesitation.

"I love my parents and they've been so great, but as much as we try to meet each other where we're at, there's always gonna be a fundamental disconnection because of the difference in where we were born and raised," he muses.

"There's also seeing your parents as this sort of omnipotent superheroes who are always there to take care of you and don't really have ambitions and feelings of their own. I think navigating my mom's world through her eyes could give me that much more empathy for her as a human."

Besides that instance where we as children awaken to the fact that our parents knew us our whole lives, but we perhaps only know them for half of theirs, there were other aspects the movie confronted him to consider more critically.

"The ever-evolving question I'm constantly ruminating on is: If I ever have kids, what part of my Asian identity would I want to pass down? Would I go as far as Korean New Year traditions? I don't even know enough myself to feel like I can accurately teach them… so there's no easy answer."

Blazer, vest, trousers and scarf, GIORGIO ARMANI

Still, it doesn't matter whether his Asian identity is at the forefront of his acting. It's as much fun to deep dive into the dialogue as it is simply left as a subtle nod. Min is content to work with the people he admires, participate in discourses about said work and is at peace with current circumstances.

Witnessing peers that he entered the industry with leave; the opportunity to sustain a decent living post-pandemic post-strikes; doing what he loves without countless side jobs as he used to, is in itself, career success.

It's surely been a roller coaster ride since cutting his teeth on The Umbrella Academy, which sees its culmination this August. To summarise, that's going from recurring character to series regular; from bidding the cast farewell to screaming in his Toronto apartment when he read the secret new script that brought him back.

"And before Netflix, no one was dealt fame in such rapid ascension. Even with the biggest stars, you were watched all around the globe in a gradual rollout. Whereas now you're instantly in 190 countries with millions watching. I don't think enough people talk about how crazy that is."

These days, catching a break between press tours and role-prep, Min has retreated to his happy place—alone in nature.

"I've been slowly ticking national parks off my list," he recounts the most recent being Arches National Park, but Redwoods is one he finds himself returning to. "There's something about the grandeur of those trees that just makes me feel so small in the best way possible; and acknowledge that these ‘huge problems' in my head really aren't that big of a deal."

Success on an individual level though, is something he ponders long to define.

When Colin Farrell called you beautiful, I proffer, gaining a merry burst of laughter.

"Exactly, such a core memory in my life now," he humours, referring to the very first time the two met. On a serious note, he goes, "Sounds cliché but living more authentically. By that I mean figuring out more about myself, my values and hopefully learning to live by them."

Tuxedo jacket, shirt, trousers and cummerbund, BRUNELLO CUCINELLI. Cap, stylist’s own.

Who would the authentic Justin H. Min be?

The man who was once less confident and perchance a little more self-centred, or the one before me; who carries an open, positive energy that you can see why he resonates with crews and audiences alike. Who was previously a photojournalist, but whose fascination with the stories of others persists in his curiosity towards mine through the two-way conversation that the interview eventually became.

The actor who resolved from the onset to have his middle initial be present in his stage name because he feels tethered to his Korean identity. Yet was not aware of what "Hong Kee" means (he's convinced it was a phonetic preference his parents had rather than significant symbolism …but he's going to check with them after this).

The child of immigrants, who recalls Celine Dion's It's All Coming Back To Me Now as one of three albums playing in the car on family road trips. Who abides by the culture that surrounds him, who reflects on essential truths when in the forests and in the air; to imbue its amalgamation in his craft, and one day, in his children who would look back and wonder what the world was like through his eyes.

Photography: Art Streiber
Fashion Direction: Asri Jasman
Art Direction: Joan Tai
Styling: Oretta Corbelli
Producer: Cezar Grief at COOL HUNT INC
Grooming: Aika Flores at EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS using SKIN 1004 and ORIBE
Styling Assistant: Alessandra Mai Vinh
Location: Downtown LA Proper Hotel