Hwang In-youp has big shoes to fill. On the type of actor he aspires to be, the 32-year-old has a realistic perspective to the scale of his endeavours. “I think it’s very difficult, but wonderful, to win someone’s heart. I want to be an actor who will always be remembered with good memories and thoughts by many people.”
Hwang first established himself internationally with a breakout role in True Beauty. Three years on, he has fashioned himself a name amongst other stellar South Korean actors, with roles in Why Her (2022) and 18 Again (2020). Still, as effervescent as Hwang is on set with Men’s Folio and PEDRO, those who may not know better may mistake him for just a handsome stranger.
By no means would this association be drawn from lacklustre looks or a lack of charisma — Hwang In-youp definitively exudes both with ease. Instead, it comes from an air of humility borne by the actor, which relays an ‘almost’ quality of relatability and relaxation. Guided by his philosophies of “doing his best” and “to create without regrets”, his on-set etiquette involves him seeking affirmation that his work lives up to what was envisioned and attempting an array of poses and expressions without question. All of which makes up his affable and dynamic disposition — one that contrasts the expected, given his likely future as one of South Korea’s biggest stars.
In response to a question on role models, Hwang In-youp does not name-drop any of the buzzy celebrities he has had the pleasure of collaborating with, nor does he clickbait with illustrious industry heavyweights. Instead, he offers the every-man on set as aspirational figures. “After I became an actor, my respect for everyone that I work with has grown immensely. People in their respective positions and roles pour out their passion and energy, and everybody does their part, for the work, for me, for each other and for the roles they play in production. And I find this to be really admirable, especially when you’re observing from the sidelines.” It is clear-cut that whilst Hwang upholds similarities to the bad boy personas he depicts on-screen, like the faceted characters he portrays, there is a warmer side to his otherwise stoic appearance.
Despite coming to his own, Hwang is modest. In place of complacency or hubris is a sense of growing zeal and fervour. An eye for detail and an appreciation of variety are perhaps Hwang’s distinguishing factors. “I will learn anything to make my character three-dimensional and rich,” he says when discussing his verve for his craft. Illustrating this earnestness and hunger is a layered, complex thought process that fuels the depth he lends to his performances. On his own accord, the actor continually strives to do better despite already shedding his ‘rookie’ title. “I worry that while I do my best, I may not be good enough. So I will keep trying my best and keep trying to be better.” Stuntsmanship and motorcycle licenses have been added to his existing repertoire of on-set talents, which include singing, dancing and instrument playing. While he could make a name for himself by sticking to the roles he has earned acclaim for playing, his personality does not allow for it.
In part, this is attributable to Hwang’s regard for the job. His current career has been charted by forays into modelling and fashion, but acting has always been the dream. “My industry seniors inspired me as a child, so I’m hoping to be someone who can inspire like they did.” While this may be ambitious in the actor’s mind, the scale of his recent fan meetings — which signpost Hwang’s sheer, sizeable influence — may be an indicator of the imminence of his icon-level status.
Photography | Lee Yonghee
Creative Direction | Izwan Abdullah
Interview | Vanessa Grace Ng
On-Set Stylist | Park Sungbae
Grooming | Jeon Dal Rae | Prance Sinsa
Hair | Eom Jungmi | Prance Sinsa
Fashion Coordination | Manfred Lu
Photography Assistants | Lee Hyojin, Lee Suyeon
Styling Assistants | Lee Jiyoung, Jang Juhee
Grooming Assistant | Kim Ye Jin
Hair Assistant | So Ji Hyeon
Production | Oh Seoyul
All Accessories & Shoes | PEDRO
This article originally appeared on Men’s Folio.