By Stephen Ostrowski | October 12, 2016 | People
Though it was her turn on MTV’s The Real World: San Diego in 2004 that sparked her career, what was once a qualifier for Jamie Chung has since faded to footnote status behind film credits including Sucker Punch, The Hangover (Part II & Part III), and Big Hero 6—all while emerging as a veritable, contemporary style idol (to wit, she’s closing in on one million Instagram followers on her fashion and lifestyle-fueled feed).
Most recently, the actress starred opposite Chris D’Elia in Flock of Dudes, in which the split between D’Elia’s character, Adam, and Chung’s character, Katherine, prompts the former to course-correct and “break-up” with his cabal of man-boy friends. Chung—who also appears in the forthcoming Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman-headlined Office Christmas Party—chatted comedy, her fashion muses, and the cardinal sin of menswear.
This Flock of Dudes cast is just absolutely stacked between Chris D’Elia, Hannibal Buress, and Eric André. What was that experience like working with them?
JAMIE CHUNG: I mean, it was bananas—like what you said, it is absolutely stacked. Chris to Skylar Astin, to Hilary Duff, to Brett Gelman, who’s hilarious; Eric André—there’s just so many comedians.
It really is a movie about their relationship. It’s this bromance and a break-up and getting back together and working on yourself as individuals before, you know, being in this relationship with each other. It’s really quite unique and I feel like there’s really never been a movie that explores these kind of relationships.
Who did you learn the most about treating comedy like as a craft?
JC: The person that I worked the most with on this film was Chris, and I got to watch Brett Gelman from afar, but it absolutely is a craft, and they’re always working on jokes, and it’s a part of the brain that you have to constantly use. [Office Christmas Party co-star] Kate McKinnon is a prime example of someone who is so in-tune with the craft and is uber-talented. It’s really fun to watch and at times I certainly felt like I was out of my element. You have to have a fine balance: You have to have the actors that ground the scene, and then you have the actors that continue on with the joke. You never want to stop the joke, but I think it’s more funny if it’s grounded in some way.
Jamie Chung in Flock of Dudes.
Disney announced that there will be a Big Hero 6 TV series in 2017 and you’ll be reprising your voice acting as Go Go Tomago for that, but can you speak at all to an actual film sequel, or are or they pretty tight-lipped about that?
JC: No, I think the director and the creators of Big Hero 6 have openly discussed what their plans are. It’s certainly not off the table, it’s something that they absolutely love and it’s a project they lived with for six years; it’s something that they’re so passionate about and it’s just a question of what they want to do next.
Switching gears a little bit, you are at nearly a million Instagram followers. So with already having a sizable canvas to display your personal style and your affinity for fashion, what was your motivation for starting a style blog, What the Chung?
JC: It came in between a long gap between projects. I figured I love taking photos, I love traveling, I love fashion, why don’t I just do a weekly photo journal of my travels or whatever I’m wearing. It really just is for myself and it’s got its life. I’ve ran into women all around the world—especially in Asia, on my last trip to Hong Kong, I had young girls coming up to me saying that they loved the blog and that they follow me on Instagram.
You don’t realize how far your reach really goes, so that was kind of an eye-opening moment for me, like wow, that’s really sweet; and I didn’t realize that those people knew who I was in Asia. I wanted to inspire young women to feel good about themselves and take chances; to have fun with fashion and not take it so seriously.
Who inspires you to take it up to the next level, or innovate, if you will, when it comes to your daily style?
JC: I would say like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s got this relaxed style; there’s so many. There’s Olivia Palermo, I think she’s absolutely stunning. There’s the creators of Fashionista from New York City.
It’s just really [women] who are confident and they’re embracing their curves and their different tastes and sizes and they’re always putting their best foot forward. It’s just all about confidence, and I feel like that’s what I’m most influenced by and attracted to.
Jamie Chung enjoys a Hennessy Mule.
This season, how do you think guys can upgrade beyond the typical grey V-neck sweater combo with the flannel underneath? Because that’s the rut we can fall into.
JC: I feel like it’s kind of fun to mix sport jackets or wool blazers with tapered khaki slacks and a casual upscale sneaker [like] Air Max racers or a cool boot. I love it when men mix up patterns, so you’ll see like Polka dot socks with a sneaker or [men with a] plaid or striped tie. I love it when guys dress up just a little bit, it’s kind of like where prep meets urban.
I feel like Anoraks have been cool. I also love to find a really clean coat, like a well-tailored coat, and you really just need one, you can always throw a hoodie underneath. Again it’s like a mix of urban and prep.
Whether it’s for girls or guys, what’s a played-out trend that you think should be retired?
JC: I really don’t think that fashion ever retires, it’s so cyclical; the ‘90s are back, last year it’s the ‘80s, the year before that it was the ‘70s—everything comes full circle. But I think one trend that makes me cringe would be the white gym sock. Whether it’s ankle-height socks or white gym socks under dressy pants [it’s] a huge no-no; just no, wear a different color. That’s one thing that I just can’t say enough; it makes me cringe.
What do you see as a medium that you’d really like to dive into in the next year?
JC: I just got off a nine-episode run with Gotham [where she played Valerie Vale], which is a fantastic TV show, and shoots like a film in terms of the quality of the shots [and has an] incredibly talented cast. It’s just a fun project to come off of, but it made me really miss film; I’d love to dive into another film in the next year. It’s all about elevation, and it’s all about growing, and it’s all about doing something new.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DONALD TRAILL (WITH DRINK); ARIANNA SHARFMAN (FASHION)
July 17, 2017