The man simply known as, UTT, is on our top 5 list of the coolest Ferrvor Men the Ferrvor Team has worked with. The former MTV Asia VJ, was handpicked to represent HBO Asia as host of the red carpet at the Academy Awards this year, interviewing and flirting with A-list celebrities including J.K. Simmons, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, among many others.
Sweater: Jacob Holston
As a successful actor and host, Utt, has proven that he can plug in his talent from one end of the world to the other.
The Ferrvor Team spent a day shooting him at some of LA’s hot spots. But before Ferrvor’s Creative Director and Photographer, Kaleb Khu, got underway, we got the chance to hangout with the worldwide star and ask him a few questions.
Photographer: Kaleb Khu
Grooming: Katie Skarvinko
So Utt, do you prefer Utt or your English name, Greg?
Either one works, in Asia they know me as Utt, but whichever you wish is fine for me.
Ok, cool, we’ll just stick with Utt.
Considering you’ve lived in Asia the past decade and made quite a name for yourself as host for 14 years on MTV Asia based in Singapore, we’re guessing many fans and readers would probably be surprised to know you’re actually a native Californian, which in itself is pretty rare in the sea of daily California transplants and so we have to ask, do you miss Cali?
I do miss California, this trip to LA made me remember all the things I loved growing up here. I miss skating through the streets of where I used to grow up. I took out my brother’s longboard this trip and just coasted around. I spent some time in Venice Beach staying at my friend Sonia’s pad near Abbot Kinney. I enjoyed just biking and hanging out at the local shops and seeing the sunset in the evenings. I took a jog along the stretch and it was awesome.
Blazer: Marc By Marc Jacobs, Shirt: J.Crew, Frames: Tom Ford
Those are some great spots indeed. We love Abbot Kinney and the restaurants and frankly, don’t make it to the beach as much as we should, so thanks for reminding us. Ok, let’s dive into the Red Carpet. How did your interviews go at the Oscars?
Was interesting because I was jet lagged and my responsibility was to keep things moving on Social Media and so I had to hype it up. I basically took over HBO Asia Instagram. It was crazy and exciting, but I was hungry and there was no food or drinks allowed on the Red Carpet from 1-6. I noticed when we were doing blocking on the red carpet that there were 20 other media channels crammed together and they said we’re going to be tweeting between ABC & NBC. I was blown away and thought, wow, either the actors are going to walk past me and, or I had to go into overdrive and get their attention. But, in the end, they were kind and stopped by and said hello. I was familiar with most of the actors but not the presenters. Overall, it was a lot of fun and quite an experience, and I hope to do it again.
Sounds like a lot of fun, I bet you got to meet some cool people, who were some of your favorite interviews?
Couple highlights. Fun ones were John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen, (Who’s half Thai), We got Eddie Redmand, Felicity Jones, Laura Dern, Steve Carrell, Zoe Zaldana. I wanted to interview the Rock, Common, and Andy Samberg but because we needed to specifically interview the nominee’s we had to skip some.
You obviously have a passion for hosting, what do enjoy most about the art of hosting?
After 20 years, still addicted, still adrenaline. Constant learning experience. I feel all the work I do is constantly challenging whether its acting, modeling, or hosting the adrenaline keeps it fresh for me and its still exciting.
Suit: Marc By Marc Jacobs, Shirt: J.Crew, Shoes: Paul Smith, Frames: Tom Ford
I fully understand that, I’m a host myself sometimes and it’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. We’ve established that you’re from Cali, Where do you live now?
I live in Thailand, though I’m constantly commuting (via plane) between Singapore and sometimes nearby Southeast Asian Countries for work.
Do your parents or other family members live in LA?
Yes, close, my mom still has a house in California, my sister in law and nephews are living there and I have relatives in LA too, in Cerritos. I grew up in the Valley (Chatsworth to be exact ) so sometimes I visit friends there when I’m back in town.
What’s a must do when you come back to LA?
Amoeba Records music. Hitting all the fast food joints like In-N-Out, some Jamba Juice and I need my IHOP fix too. Ha of course, Amoeba is a true sweet spot, especially if you’re still rocking the Vinyl records and DVD’s.
Jacket: G-Star RAW, Shirt: J.Crew
Speaking of music, what are some of your favorite types of music, favorite artists?
Was first into 90s – Brit Pop. I hosted an Alternative Show for a Music Channel way before MTV hit Asia and I sort of produced and did the line up for the show (Pulp, Blur, Oasis, Ash, Sonic Youth, Bjork, The Cranberries etc. I personally like Alternative. There’s a place for it deep down, but when I moved over to MTV Asia I was introduced to a wide range of music/mostly Pop and Contemporary.
Very nice, I’m a fan myself of 90s Brit pop/alternative. Switching gears a bit, you were a model for sometime as well, do you enjoy it?
Yes, I do its an extension of acting I feel, you need to work with the photographer, understand the concept know what you need to convey with what your wearing and the environment your in. I always look to working with new creative people to see what we can bring out of it.
Do you have a favorite designer?
I like Tom Ford he brings Classic Hollywood to the modern day, clean dashing looks. Designers in Asia that are creative would be Songzio and Song for the Mute.
Favorite daily look?
It varies with my moods, casual and relaxed would be cargo shorts and a tee and you can’t go wrong with a simple black tee and jeans. I tend to pick up and shop for things on the go, sort of whatever pops, anywhere from the racks at Ross and Marshall’s or boutique shops in Daikanyama in Japan or Garosugil in Korea to Urban Outfitters. I like mixing and matching but getting dressed up for me are usually saved for attending events, going on TV shows, hosting etc. Brand names I like are Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Tom Ford.
You’ve been a host on MTV Asia for the last 14 years. Do you often get noticed or mobbed in Asia and or elsewhere?
During my MTV days I would get mobbed when I’d host huge events or meet fans at College’s and Mall’s. But I always made sure that my TV hosting persona is approachable and down to earth so I’d be able to do things normally. As of lately, I’m sometimes recognized when I take the train or bus, people will approach and have casual conversations with me and every now and then a random frenzy fan pops up.
Blazer: Marc By Marc Jobs, Shirt: Scotch & Soda
Tells us one thing that nobody knows about you?
I’m not sure if people know but I’m an introvert at heart despite having a very extroverted career. I’m also a virgo and so I have OCD. It’s a lot better now, but I still go a bit crazy cleaning and organizing everything now and then. It’s not as bad as it was and I can let things go a bit now.
OCD can be challenging, sorry to hear that, but glad it’s gotten better for you.
Suit: Marc By Marc Jacobs, Shirt: Scotch & Soda, Shoes: NIKE, Frames: Tom Ford
A lot of people don’t know this, but you’re an ordained Monk. What pulled you in that direction and made you want to do that?
A rights of passage. Part of Thai culture and I wanted to find some peace after decades working in the industry I was in. How long does it take to be ordained as a Monk? It can be anywhere to a few weeks to months to years it really depends on the person. There’s a whole structure and ceremony. I had to study scriptures Polynease 20. I’m a Buddhist, free thinker and quite worldly in the sense that I feel religion is basic faith and it comes down to what works for a person and there’s no right, no wrong.
Besides hosting and modeling, what else do you do now for work?
I love mentoring new talent and so I have a small boutique Management company that I run with my Business Partner, Ying. We have developed into an agent-based company that works with local Talent Manager’s in Thailand and other Asian countries and we negotiate assignments and projects. So instead of having a full time roster of Artists, we manage only a few full time and the rest are project based.
Suit: Marc By Marc Jacobs, Shirt: Scotch & Soda, Shoes: NIKE, Frames: Tom Ford
What’s the future hold for Utt as an artist and as a non-artist?
I’ve reached a point in life where I’m not overly concerned about the future and I’m just taking it a step at a time, really living in the present. Each year is different for me, stepping into 2015 I’m looking to step back and just breathe more have more sleep, more rest, more family time. So that means taking a little break from doing any major Management/Consultant duties to taking on and choosing projects as an Artist that might interest me. Next year I don’t know I might just go into everything full speed again!