Richard Juan on meeting Korean stars and becoming a CEO
Meet Richard Juan, a Hong Kong raised Filipino actor, host, model and entrepreneur who has starred in a variety of programs across Asia. Many call him the "Filipino Kim Soo Hyun" for his good looks and resemblance to the Korean actor.
Richard started out as a model for school events back in his university days, where he was scouted into a modelling agency and eventually casted onto the TV shows You’re My Foreignoy and Pinoy Big Brother. It was during his stint on Pinoy Big Brother that he was exposed to a large mass audience and his career took off. In the last couple of years, Richard has collaborated with big international names like celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, Korean stars Sandara Park and Park Joon Hyung, and has even interviewed the cast of Avengers: Infinity War.
“Growing up, I did not expect this. I did not even think I was a good-looking guy!” shared Richard.
In 2020, Richard started his own production company, 28 Squared Studios, where he is now CEO and co-founder. We spoke to Richard to hear his thoughts on becoming a CEO, launching his first podcast, as well as his goals and aspirations for the future.
You’ve done some really cool things in your career- interviewed big names and collaborated with people like Gordon Ramsey, Sandara Park and Joon Park etc - which has been the most memorable for you so far?
Richard: My favorite experience, honestly, was shooting in Korea. The Hallyu wave is so big now, and being able to experience it firsthand and understand why they are so big is something that I think not a lot of people get to experience. We did a travel show, and there were more than 20 cameras following us! There was a scene at a restaurant on a long table, and I was sitting next to Dara. I asked her, “Is this normal? 20 cameras?!” and she said it’s normal, especially with reality and travel shows. So I thought, “I can’t pick my nose here!”
Sandara Park and Joon Park have been in the Korean entertainment scene for a long time, yet they treated myself and the other artistes with utmost respect. They were very genuine and I absolutely loved that. Even the staff treated us well. I also talked to Gordon Ramsey- that was another type of favorite. I was scared at first, but then I realized that he is so nice!
It’s such a privilege to be able to talk to all these world-class talents. While working with them, you get to see how professional they are.
Do you have any dream collaboration?
Richard: Because everyone has such unique stories, being able to work with anyone would be great. The goal for me is to be able to talk to people who have made a significant impact on the Asian side of things, because that is something that I really want to encourage.
When I was growing up, I remember telling my friends, “Why are we always the butt of the joke in Hollywood films?” But now, especially with the rise of Crazy Rich Asians and the Hallyu wave playing such a huge role in changing this landscape, I feel so proud and lucky to be able to experience all of this during my lifetime. With me being in this entertainment industry, maybe one day I’ll be able to do those things too.
I heard that you started 28 Squared Studios with a friend doing production-related work. What is the story behind starting this company of your own?
Richard: It’s kind of funny- we actually started 28 Squared Studios during the pandemic. I’ve experienced so much in the last 5 to 6 years that I know a lot of the know-hows both behind and in front of the camera. Why not put it altogether, and start a company where we can service this?
I don’t really like the term "YOLO" (You Only Live Once). I prefer “You’re only young once”. This is the time where you really set the foundation and chase those things that you want to do in life. We work with like-minded people who have a global vision and want to grow together with the company. What’s better than winning together?
My business partner is into the creative side while I’m behind the finance side of things, building the brand, and the marketing. I enjoy all of these things. Because my parents are businessmen, they groomed me growing up to be business-minded. At the end of the day, this whole entertainment thing won’t last me forever. I’ve always wanted to start something on my own from scratch, and now I’m a CEO and a founder!
You also recently launched your own podcast, “Your dose of inspirASIAN with Richard Juan” - could you share with us what this podcast is about and what your listeners can expect from it?
Richard: InspirASIAN - it’s a wordplay of “Inspiration” and “Asian”. We talk to inspirational Asians who have accomplished something big out in this world- let it be from the entertainment scene, music, acting, business, sports etc. Hopefully listeners will be inspired by their stories and chase those dreams and goals they’ve always had.
It relates back to when I was younger. I never really had any mainstream Asian people that I could look up to. Asian men were always portrayed as the dummy or the joke. I want this podcast to inspire the next generation of Asians that we can be successful in every single field that we do and we can chase any dreams that we want.
We've had TikTok star Linda Dong, Lea Salonga, etc on the podcast so far, and a list of exciting guests ahead!
What are your goals and aspirations for the future?
Richard: Honestly, for me, the goal is just to be the best version of myself. I want to be the best CEO of my own company. Although I have no control over whether I can grow this company to become a global brand name, but at least I know I can do my very best and take this company to the farthest based on the circumstances that are around me.
I separate goals and dreams very distinctly. My dreams are things that I wish can happen, and if all circumstances let it happen, then those dreams can come true. For my company, we dream to one day produce a Hollywood film or co-produce with a huge Korean entertainment company. For myself, my dream is to be able to one day do something on the big screen- let it be acting or hosting. I've got to be ready and do my best in all the opportunities I have here locally in the Philippines and those that I can create for myself.
I believe that opportunities are for people who are ready. So hopefully if and when the opportunity comes, I’m ready to take on those challenges.
Lastly, what is your life motto?
Richard: To have self-discipline. If you can’t discipline yourself, you’re not going to get anywhere in life, especially with the fact that this world has so many distractions these days. I try to stay away from my phone, because it’s a huge distraction for me. I try to be as productive as I can and plan my days to the hour. You’ve got to work hard and work smart. I’ve met way too many people who are hardworking, but they don’t work smart.
The biggest competition, honestly, is just yourself. If you’re able to be a better person than you were yesterday, I think that’s more than enough.
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