Daniel Dae Kim makes acting look easy, but that is because he is a pro. In fact that is perhaps something people don't understand about acting, that it takes work to be a professional. "There really is a lot of hard work behind making something look simple," he says.
Making it look easy really took a lot of work for the 48-year-old actor, producer and director. More so because he had a pretty tough time growing up in Pennsylvania, US.
Known for his role in Lost and now on Hawaii Five-O, it is difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that Kim wasn't as loved as he is today.
"It's just weird in general for people to make assumptions about you, without knowing you, based on the way that you look," says Kim in a interview for #BehindTheFace, a campaign by skincare brand Clinique that encourages people to celebrate men who are confident and successful.
As an Asian-American, Kim knows the perceptions some have on Asians and that has fuelled him to select roles that go beyond racial barriers and stereotypes. It is almost as if he needed to defy the racism he encountered in his youth.
Looking different made him feel like an outsider, which led to him thinking that he was ugly.
"The way I internalised that was that somehow I must not be attractive. I felt like I became a man when I believed I had something to offer. That is not to say that I think I'm a super hot, hunky guy. That's a very different thing. But I now have the confidence to say, 'this is who I am, you may not like the way I look, but this is who I am anyway'," he says.
Finding his confidence has helped pushed Kim to achieve what he wants in life. "I used to feel like I didn't deserve accolades. But over the past couple of years my perspective has changed slightly to feeling like I've earned it. I feel like I'm in the conversation of good things. I may not be where I want to be in my career, I may not have all the things I look to achieve, but I feel like I'm on the right path."
This confidence comes from him feeling comfortable in his own skin, and making his strong opinions heard. For Kim, however, he is not above laughing at himself.
"I think what defines a man is the ability and the confidence to make choices, stand by those choices, and be able to admit when those choices are wrong," he says.
"When I look in the mirror I see a man, I no longer see a little boy. I think that has something to do with the fact that I'm working to achieve something. I have a purpose and a goal. When I look at myself in the mirror, the question are not 'do I have bags under my eyes' or 'does my face look puffy' but instead, 'how am I doing?'," says Kim.
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