Proof the influence of K-drama is here to stay? Apple TV+’s new American drama series Pachinko , a Korean wartime epic adapted from Min Jin-lee’s bestselling novel of the same name, and produced in three languages – Korean, Japanese, and English – to ensure maximum cross-border crossover. It follows two main characters – Sunja and her grandson Solomon Baek – who are forced to leave their homeland in the 1930s and again in 1989. As Baek, actor Jin Ha portrays a Korean immigrant attempting to fit into a new life whilst attempting to stay true to his roots. In fact, Ha could relate to the storyline more than you might think, since it bears a remarkable resemblance to his own. Here’s what we know about the actor. I would always try to look at the potential project through the lens of, ‘Is this helping? Does this help my community? Does this help storytelling about faces and bodies that look like mine?’ Jin Ha 1. Acting became his way to fit in Ha shares a similarly international background to Baek. Born in Seoul, South Korea, when he was three, his family moved to Hong Kong, and then at eight, they immigrated to the US. Each time he arrived in a new place, he tried hard to fall in line with society. Surrounded by “white upper-middle-class students” in the US, he tried hard to dress like them, ran for student body president, and played football and baseball. But he never managed to escape the feeling of being “othered”, as he put it in an interview with NBC News. 5 times Blackpink’s Lisa proved she’s Thailand’s unofficial princess He nevertheless found joy in acting and singing throughout his school years. “I had to very frequently find a new anchor in a new community or rediscover my identity or place in a community because I had to move a lot,” he explained in another interview with The Last Magazine . “Perhaps performance for me felt like a staple, where I could drop the responsibility of figuring out where I was in that social space because I was told who I had to become for a role.” 5 things to know about Park Seo-joon, Marvel’s next Korean star 2. He eschewed a career in finance for acting While Ha had a lot of fun on stage during his teenage years, he described himself as being “very type A” in the NBC interview, saying that when it came to picking a university degree for himself, security had been his priority and he’d decided to pursue a career in finance rather than acting. He even applied for internships with banks and hedge funds. Noticing that he seemed unhappy, his mother asked if he truly was interested in finance. His answer? “No. I’m not really interested in finance. I just want security. I want stability.” She replied, “Great. Don’t do that then. Because you’ll be miserable.” Soon after he decided to go to New York University to do an MFA (master of fine arts) and the rest, as they say, is history. 5 times Will Smith lost his cool and got in trouble 3. He’s also a Broadway actor After joining the ensemble of Shakespeare in the Park’s Troilus and Cressida in 2016, Ha debuted as a theatrical actor on Broadway in M. Butterfly in 2017. He played Song Liling, a man masquerading as a female Chinese opera singer who won the love of a French diplomat. He was also the first Asian-American to play King George in Hamilton (the 2016 Chicago production) and portrayed Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton in 2018 and 2021. Prior to Pachinko , Ha also performed on the big and small screen in Steve Coogan’s Hot Air , in sci-fi drama Devs and in HBO Max’s Love Life . 4. He is an activist first, an artist second Inspired by American artist and activist Harry Belafonte after seeing a talk by the singer at Columbia University, Ha decided there and then that activism was important. “To know that there’s a lighthouse like [Belafonte] in our industry, one of many, gave me the encouragement to seriously pursue a career in the joy that is play-acting while continuing to prioritise the importance of activism in my day-to day-life – staying educated, open and generally [caring] about communities and people who have lived experiences beyond my own,” he told Esquire . 5 K-drama actresses who married ultra-rich husbands View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blue Marble Pictures (@bluemarblepics) Such considerations also play a major part in the types of projects he takes on, he added. “Even during the times when I felt trapped, and I needed a job, I would always try to look at the potential project through the lens of ‘is this helping? Does this help my community? Does this help storytelling about faces and bodies that look like mine?’”. 5. He loves hanbok At Pachinko ’s world premiere in Los Angeles, Ha turned heads when he showed up in a gorgeous hot pink and mauve hanbok. Growing up in a family that always wore traditional Korean clothes for special events, he said he’d been waiting for an opportunity to wear one in public for a while, according to Esquire . “I always loved the women’s hanbok. The colours, the design, the patterns – everything about it was so enthralling. I felt like this was the perfect event for me to finally wear a hanbok. It felt entirely relevant to the story that we were telling, and to the women we were honouring in Pachinko ,” he explained. “On top of that, I just wanted to look beautiful. I wanted to feel beautiful that night, and I was able to find this hanbok in a hanbok store. It was perfect.” Inside Crash Landing on You co-stars Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin’s wedding joy 6. He’s a skilled linguist and musician Since Ha’s character Baek speaks Korean, Japanese and English in the show, he had to study hard to get the dialects and accents in Pachinko right, and likened the work he did with his coach to an “eight-month doctoral thesis course”. He’s no stranger to such study though, having done a degree in East Asian languages and culture at Columbia University. According to his acting resume, he can also speak conversational Mandarin and Spanish. Impressive! Oh, and did we mention he’s also an accomplished singer (with a tenor voice) who was nominated for a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album back in 2018 for Jesus Christ Superstar. He can also rap (as seen in Hamilton ) and play several instruments including the guitar, violin, and somewhat amazingly, the didgeridoo. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .