I’m not going to lie, it’s a strange feeling to be sharing a bed with one of Asia’s most Insta-famous couples. Even stranger is that one-half of that couple, Henry Golding, is a friend from way-back-then, has now taken on Hollywood with his latest role as Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians, and is set to star alongside Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick in 2018’s A Simple Favor. On the other hand, we have Liv Lo, one of Singapore’s most inspiring fitness personalities, model, and aspiring techpreneur, who just launched her online venture Fit-Sphere.com. Such forces to be reckoned with, and I’ve just plopped myself down next to the couple in an oversized tee and expandable trousers, with neither a possible Academy Awards nomination in the future, nor abs of steel to flaunt.
As the power couple walks into the penthouse suite at InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay at exactly 10am (I know this, as I heard Liv’s chirpy voice echo through the room just as my alarm went off), the crew is greeted by their infectious charm, with hugs galore across the room. “I haven’t seen you in ages!” Henry says, before gesturing towards his bubbly wife, dressed in a lace-up Zimmermann dress that’s part-surfer-chic, part-Talitha Getty. “Remember Liv?” he nudges, all the while gazing adoringly at her. Of course, how could I forget? The first time I met Liv was back in 2015, at a mutual friend’s wedding where Henry was the best man. At first glance, Liv possessed all the elegance of an Italian screen siren and the electrifying spirit of a romantic bohemian. Effervescent, vivacious, and altogether alluring, it was clear why Henry had fallen head over heels with the Italo-Taiwanese. A perfect pairing: her wit complemented by his humour, his tenacity matched only by her inimitable fire.
“We met through friends in Singapore on New Year’s Eve at a club,” shares Henry on their first fateful encounter. “Liv approached me, but it wasn’t until later that we started to get to know each other, and started liking each other.” I remember hearing that story from the same mutual friend who invited us to that wedding where we met, and thought how it was kismet for him to have met someone who could throw him off-guard. “It’s one of the most distinct memories I have of this entire relationship,” Liv confesses. “It took a lot of guts, but I was just drawn to him. I feel that he draws a certain spontaneity and spark, and it’s obvious that it drives me as well. I don’t even know why I did it in the first place, but I did and that’s what stood out for me.”
Since then, the couple has conquered some great heights and more. In 2011, Henry moved from Malaysia to Singapore after being offered the presenter role for the BBC News’s The Travel Show, while juggling the 8TV travel series Welcome to the Railworld Japan and filming with Channel News Asia. At the same time, Liv was also making a name for herself through various acting roles in 2014 such as playing Sophie Thomas on Mediacorp Channel 5’s Point of Entry series, as well as high-profile interviews where she rubbed shoulders with Hollywood A-listers from Chris Pratt and Chris Evans to Mark Hamill.
It seemed as if Hollywood and life on the red carpet had been the most natural trajectory for the couple. A stylish fixture at the region’s glossiest occasions, Henry and Liv are often considered the ultimate fashion tag team—him dressed in remixed tailored suits, and her in risqué yet playful pairings. Two years ago, the couple made an entrance at a Dior Homme event, with Henry in a skinny Dior suit paired with a camo-print shirt, and Liv in a semi-sheer mesh knit top, worn irreverently with a graphic skirt from Dior Autumn/Winter ’16. “I like to wear a lot of different things, but Henry has a very specific look.” Liv explains. “The funny thing is, I can never really shop for him even after being together for six years. He has a very specific idea and sense of style, which I’ve yet to figure out!”
What they have indeed figured out is their respective career paths, especially with Henry’s meteoric rise as Nick Young in the Kevin Kwan novel. Premiering this August, Henry is cast alongside Fresh Off the Boat’s Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, and our very own First Lady of action films Michelle Yeoh. Months after shooting for Crazy Rich Asians, he saw himself once again in front of the lens, doing a complete 180 from heartfelt comedy to psychological thriller in A Simple Favor. These accomplishments say a lot about Henry’s own repertoire, as he transitions from TV host to Hollywood actor. “It’s definitely at times overwhelming, just because of the sheer position you find yourself in,” he says about the recent double whammy. “But then again, if you allow yourself to be overwhelmed, it’s not going to do anyone any good.”
In other words, cool, calm, and collected. It’s qualities Henry has always had, and why I’ve always considered him “the most grounded dude”. Case in point: from driving around Kuala Lumpur in his old Mini Cooper many years ago to his adventurous spirit, evident from his travel documentary Surviving Borneo, to even insisting on making his own espresso on the day of our shoot. “It’s been a pretty insane journey thus far. 2018 is really going to pick up, and I’m looking forward to keep it rolling. I’ve found a new passion with acting on-screen, and it’s something I definitely want to keep doing.”
The same could be said for Liv. A risk-taker at heart, the former model traded billboards in Shibuya for projects in the realm of wellness. “I wanted to exercise as a model, but I wasn’t able to get toned or be active; it just wasn’t part of the physique,” she shares. “So when I stopped modelling, I made the conscious decision to dedicate myself to fitness, and once I went down that path I just couldn’t turn around.” Four years and a diet change later, Liv is now a vegetarian, and her sculpted frame is proof of that. But leave it to a multi-hyphenate to take things a little further, adding Fit-Sphere.com to her bow while being a TV host and a yoga instructor. “It is mentally and physically exhausting because I could go from hosting or being at a photoshoot to teaching a yoga class or practice in the evening,” Liv explains. “It’s a two-way job, but it’s something that I love to do.” And no kidding—in 2017 alone, Liv taught 226 classes and reached 4,705 students.
But with a manic schedule jet-setting across continents for work obligations, the question remains: how do “The Goldings” even keep up with themselves?
For both Henry and Liv, time is a luxury. “We only get to spend a few months out of the year together, and that makes the year even quicker,” Liv reveals, noting that relishing every moment with each other is the logical way forward. She adds, “That’s most important for us because when we’re together, we’re 100 percent in it.” Like the time they both dove with sharks in South Africa, or when they travelled to Tokyo, or visited Malaysia just for the day. But if you’re a couple who would move countries just for each other, then perhaps being away from each other for months on end isn’t a big deal. As Liv would eloquently surmise, “We have to be independent together, and together, independent.”
How Rachel Young, I thought, as her sentiment calls to mind Henry’s love interest in Crazy Rich Asians. Surprising, considering their sense and sensibilities. “We don’t really splurge on our lifestyle, we just take in whatever interests us at the time,” Henry adds. “We’re saving up for a house, so we’re pretty sensible with our cash.” A far cry from the materialistic-driven world Crazy Rich Asians portrays. But one thing’s for sure, as revealed through our quick-fire series of interview questions—one, is certainly crazier than the other. “She’s unpredictable!” Henry exclaims, jokingly. “She changes her mind quite a lot, but she’s very outgoing, which is great.” To which Liv cheekily responds, “So I spice it up, but Henry doesn’t mind … lucky!” In love, too.
Find out how well Henry and Liv know each other:
Videography: Bruce Lim T.C
Hair and make-up: Greg’o Oh
Manicure: Joyce Chang
Photography assistance: Samsidi Baderi; Loy Kok Wee
Special thanks to InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay and Fly Entertainment, Singapore