Power Players

Harry Shum Jr. explains what it's like to have Beyonce as your boss

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Harry Shum Jr: This is what it's like to have Beyonce as your boss

Beyonce is known for her show-stopping performances, and actor Harry Shum Jr. knows just how she's able to pull those off.

Before starring in "Glee," the planned sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians" and Freeform TV's "Shadowhunters," Shum was a dancer, touring with artists and appearing in films like "You Got Served" and "Step Up 2."

Shum, now 36, says the highlight of his dance career came when he performed back-up for Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott during their co-headlining tour, "Ladies First," in 2004. Beyoncé was touring for the first time as a solo artist.

Harry Shum Jr., star of "Glee," "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Shadowhunters"
CNBC

Shum says he admired Beyoncé's talent and leadership ability, especially the way she doled out constructive criticism.

"I remember one time I walked, I ran in front of her...during rehearsals," Shum tells CNBC Make It. "And it was just like a simple misstep and she named every single misstep from every dancer. And to me it was like, she wasn't even looking at me and she could just feel that energy of walking on the wrong step.

"To me, it's like this woman is really special because she has this essence that is so sweet in the way she tells you you're doing something wrong, but at the same time it's commanding, so she lifts you up to be better."

Shum says the "Single Ladies" singer kept team morale high.

"When you're a backup dancer in the sense that — she didn't make you feel like that," he said. "She made you feel like part of the whole performance and you yourself are a performer with her. And she set this standard of excellence that we had to hold on to.

"To me, it was a dream come true, being a dancer on that."

Harry Shum Jr. (right) starred in the hit TV series, "Glee"
Getty Images

Shum is now focused on his acting career. Known for breaking beyond stereotypical Hollywood roles for Asian characters, Shum can currently be seen on "Shadowhunters" as the powerful, suave and bisexual warlock, Magnus Bane.

And he is set to star as tech billionaire Charlie Wu in the sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians," called "China Rich Girlfriend," which is in pre-production. In "Crazy Rich Asians," Charlie is the former flame of Astrid Young Teo (played by Gemma Chan), cousin of lead character Nick Young. After Astrid finds out her husband is cheating on her, she and Charlie share a lingering glance at Nick's engagement party at the end of the movie. In the sequel, Charlie's character will have an expanded role as Astrid's rekindled love interest in "China Rich Girlfriend."

A representative for Beyonce did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.

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