With new projects ahead and a lavish partnership with Hennessy, Henry Golding proves he’s a leading man.
The Hennessy event is still buzzing with pre-production when I arrive early at Studio 525. Servers receive their marching orders; photographers adjust their settings; items get crossed off lists. But suddenly, the double doors open, and daylight floods in, along with a hundred furious camera flashes. In a second, this has become a party because Henry Golding is here.
Guests hustle out of the actor’s way as he leisurely escorts in his wife, fitness guru Liv Lo, who’s wearing a gold gown that glints like the sun. Hennessy is hosting this 80-person soiree to announce that Golding, who slingshotted into international stardom as a lead in Crazy Rich Asians, is now ambassador for the Prestige & Rare Cognac Collection.
Hennessy’s own star of the evening is the Paradis Impérial, which comes in a new crystal decanter that makes the Cognac resemble a jewel in an amulet. Retailing for $3,000, the Arik Levy-designed bottle rotates here on a mirrored platform.
This partnership seems like the perfect brand pairing for Golding, who embodied opulence in Crazy Rich Asians, his first feature film. During my few minutes with him, I point out that his new world—red carpet appearances, designer suits, fine Cognacs—doesn’t seem too different from that of Nick Young, the character who made him a celebrity. “It’s the ability to enjoy the luxuries of life,” he says. “Does my life imitate any of Nick Young’s? Not really. There are very amazing moments.”
He describes an afternoon trip to the Cognac region of France that included a private flight, tour and beautiful dinner. “That was like stepping into Nick Young’s shoes,” he says.
With the Hennessy alliance, two films dropping this year and a Crazy Rich Asians sequel in the works, Golding’s globetrotting and parties will only continue. Fans are already tittering over news of Paul Feig’s Last Christmas, in which Golding stars with Emilia Clarke. The holiday rom-com allows Golding to continue making room for Asian actors as romantic leads in Hollywood.
“There was no reasoning behind why [my character is] Asian or half-Asian,” he says. “You know, I was just a leading man, and to normalize that, I think, is so important.”
The rest of the Hennessy event is luxury on luxury on luxury with a gourmet dinner by chef Yann Nury and even an aerial dancer twirling in Cirque du Soleil fashion. The whole scene rotates around Golding, of course, and he remains friendly and charming to everyone. He has the movie star smile but also an attentive eye contact and open manner that don’t feel typical to someone with this level of fame. But Golding hasn’t been famous for that long yet.
“There’s aspects where my life bleeds over into sort of art, and art becomes reality,” he says. “I think that’s the joy of working in movies. There’s always a part of you in that character, or that character becomes you in a sense. There’s just this weird thread that connects you.”
Then our time is up. The cameras, the women in silk, the flutes of Champagne all return—and Golding falls back into his world.
Photography by: Photography courtesy Hennessy