Power Players

Why 'Crazy Rich Asians' actor Harry Shum Jr. says being authentic in Hollywood 'completely changes the game'

VIDEO1:5701:57
Harry Shum Jr. has the answer for fixing Hollywood's diversity problem

With roles in "Glee," Freeform TV's "Shadowhunters," and the upcoming sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians," actor Harry Shum Jr. has broken the mold of acting roles available to Asian actors.

At a time when Hollywood still regularly comes under fire for its lack of diversity, Shum says authenticity has been key to his personal success.

"As an immigrant coming from Costa Rica, and also being of Chinese heritage, and being an American as well, you're fighting all these different things," Shum tells CNBC Make It. "Which one do I be more of, and which one do I be less of?"

He says he was raised to highlight his complete self, and has made career decisions accordingly.

"When you start learning about the past or your heritage, I think it really allows you to be authentic," he says. "You're not pushing something away that you are.

"Feeling comfortable in your own skin at the end of the day completely changes the game."

"Crazy Rich Asians" was the first major Hollywood film to feature a majority-Asian cast since "The Joy Luck Club" in 1993.

It received a heap of praise from critics, who celebrated a film that featured Asian characters who were not stereotypical or one-dimensional as in so many previous Hollywood productions.

Shum is set to star as tech billionaire Charlie Wu in "China Rich Girlfriend", the sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians," which is in pre-production. In the sequel, Shum character will have an expanded role as the love interest of a major character.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: 'This Is Us' star Chrissy Metz on her worst credit card fail, why she shops at Costco and her Warren Buffett mindset

VIDEO1:4701:47
How 'Crazy Rich Asians' star Jimmy O Yang looks at money
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM