Photography by Mr Bjorn Iooss | Styling by Ms Gaelle Paul
Words by Mr Yale Breslin
Best known for his small-screen gigs, Mr Daniel Dae Kim may be most recognisable for playing the role of Jin Kwon for six seasons on Lost. Now, he's back at it with Hawaii Five-O, in which he plays Chin Ho Kelly in the re-imagined police drama that first hit screens in 1968. Before boarding a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu (where the show is filmed), he took time to model some of our favourite button-down shirts with an appropriate touch of West Coast ease.
You were born in South Korea and then moved to Pennsylvania and New York. What was your very first acting gig?
It was in a play in college by the German playwright Peter Handke called The Ride Across Lake Constance. The play had characters that were based on real people at the turn of the century. But my very first professional acting job was in a New York production of Ibsen's A Doll's House.
Before acting, you toyed with the idea of being an attorney.
I did. My dad's a doctor and he wanted me to follow him in some professional footsteps.
And then you got the acting bug?
That's pretty much it. Pretty cliché, I guess.
How did your parents take the news that you were following an alternate route?
It was a rough few years. My parents, being conservative and traditional, made a big sacrifice leaving Korea and coming to the US. They did it to give us a chance at a better education and give us a life they weren't able to lead themselves. So, when I chose a risky path, it was rough on them and tough on me as a result.
You're based in Honolulu. What is life like there?
On the surface, it is the image that everyone thinks: very laid-back and easy-going, and the weather makes everyone a little happier. It's definitely reflected in the personality of the culture. It's also a very small place so it has all the benefits and liabilities of a small town. I think it's a fantastic place to raise kids.
How would you say the culture and climate affects your approach to getting dressed?
Well, that's the thing. One of the most fun things about the MR PORTER shoot was that it reminded me of when I used to wear clothes. Living in Hawaii, the uniform is pretty much T-shirts, cargo shorts and slippers - what mainlanders call flip-flops. You can literally go 99% of your life in that outfit and you'll never be out of place.
Do you ever miss seasonal clothes?
I do. Growing up on the East Coast, when fall and winter would hit, I would love to bring out the wool trousers, boots and scarves. Today really reminded me how much I miss the fashion that comes with the changing seasons.
The second season of Hawaii Five-O is now showing on CBS