Culture, Lifestyle

Austin Lin: The valiant experimentalist of the here & now

Austin Lin: The valiant experimentalist of the here & now

Are good actors always good models?

In theory, yes, since comfortably emoting for film seems to be a more demanding version of posing for pictures. It is not a stretch to posit that acting would translate into an automatic mastery of the latter.

In reality, acting is more about the sincere portrayal of characters in fictitious settings than showing who the actors are themselves. It is one thing to be in touch with one’s emotions and another to be wholly honest and vulnerable with them when there is no character to play or script to bring to life.

Jacket, shirt, pants, all Saint Laurent; B.zero1 rose gold and matte black ceramic bracelets, both Bvlgari

Yet Austin Lin’s cover shoot could not be more different than any day on set or an off-day hanging with friends or loved ones. He is at ease taking on another persona and coming to the foreground of a frame as himself.

Jacket, vest, pants, all Ferragamo; B.zero1 white gold three-band ring with pavé diamonds, B.zero1 white gold ring with pavé diamonds, both Bvlgari

Though it is not often that the word “perfect” is thrown around and used literally in creative settings, the 35-year-old Taiwanese actor’s enthusiasm to explore adventurous photo concepts, his immediate ease in front of the camera and graciously warm words while on set of the five-hour shoot virtually demands its application.

Jacket, Fendi; B.zero1 white gold pendant necklace with pavé diamonds, B.zero1 white gold ring with pavé diamonds, both Bvlgari

“I quite like being able to undergo so many transformations,” said Lin. Being ascribed the label of “cute” no longer bothers the baby- faced but lion-hearted rom-com veteran, nor does it make him worry about appearing too naive or immature. “Now I feel like having any descriptor or label might not be bad. If I’m able to borrow a character to change peoples’ perception of me, then I would consider that a breakthrough.”

Vest, Saint Laurent; B.zero1 white gold pendant necklace with pavé diamonds, Bvlgari

Maybe this resolve comes from a level of professionalism so high that it is imperceptible to the casual observer. Granted, there must be some basis of self-awareness and self-confidence for actors like Lin to willingly face public scrutiny for a living. Not everyone in the film industry is as cool with their natural disposition to not only accept but also enjoy challenging their public image and taking growth and change wilfully by the jugular.

Jacket, top, pants, all Fendi; B.zero1 white gold pendant necklace with pavé diamonds, B.zero1 white gold ring with pavé diamonds, both Bvlgari

Being this comfortable or satisfied with his abilities and the pace of his career also took time. From his first project, Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, to starring alongside Greg Hsu in Marry My Dead Body, and finally to his latest project, At The Moment, Lin went from listening to the director’s instructions, daring to experiment with his imagination to learning life lessons about human relationships, love and what he is truly seeking in acting.

Jacket, shirt, pants, tie, shoes, all Bottega Veneta

“Of course, getting awarded is a big encouragement, but fully immersing oneself in the role or being able to live life as my character is still the most important to me,” he said. “Every role will help an actor grow differently — that’s the most fun and special thing about performing.”

Jacket, shirt, both Saint Laurent

Austin Lin cites a policeman who is neither good nor evil, or an athlete who puts up a powerful front despite facing a lot of pressure on the inside as characters he would one day like to challenge — almost as if he has already given this thought before. Clarity is one of the other perks that comes with the habitual dissection of the self and the act of portrayal, and Lin wastes no time in reflecting on how his day-to-day life has benefited from his initial leap of faith into the film industry.

“Nowadays, I think I’m less irritable because I understand myself better and know how to slow down. I can now make decisions that truly make me happy,” Lin said.

Vest, Saint Laurent; B.zero1 white gold pendant necklace with pavé diamonds, Bvlgari

Sure enough, in describing his experience playing a hairstylist who does not know how to say “no” in the compilation of 10 love stories that make up At The Moment, he affectionately shares that he never thought he would come to learn of celebrating love in this way.

“Being able to love someone is already something worth cherishing.”

Photography POYENCHEN
Creative Direction & Styling Izwan Abdullah
Interview Charmaine Tan
Grooming Yi Li
Hair Garden | 80’s STUDIO

Production & Fashion Coordination Manfred Lu
Photography Assistants Shawn Sun, Jonas Peng, Joanne Lin
Production Assistant Liew Hui Ying