In our first edition of a new ParentsCanada series—25 Questions with… where we fire 25 quick-response questions at a celebrity parent—we chatted with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee. The award-winning Kim’s Convenience actor and dad of two told us about everything from what’s always in his fridge to the childhood traditions he carries on with his own brood.
What is your idea of the perfect day?
When I get to sleep in and not have to run around chasing the boys to get ready for school.
Why did you choose your career?
It was something I was drawn to because I fell in love with the craft of acting. It was so much more than I thought it was going to be. I love the challenge of it and I love performance.
What do you love most about what you do in your job?
The fact that I get to work with really fantastic people who are super talented both in front of and behind the camera. I get to basically play for a living.
What has been the hardest part of building your career?
Getting the opportunities to play roles that I think I’m capable of playing just because the colour of my skin. For the longest time I wasn’t considered for roles because of the way I looked.
Who was/is your mentor?
[Canadian actor, director, writer, teacher and painter] Brenda Kamino.
Who is your favourite Canadian?
[Actor, improviser and comedian] Andrew Phung.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“At the end of the day” and “Nothing can be easy”
Which words or phrases do you dislike when other people overuse?
“We have to pivot.”
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My wife. She’s the beginning and the end. She’s my muse, my best friend, mother of my children. She’s everything.
When and where were you happiest?
I’m happiest here, right now, with my family.
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to play the ukulele.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My wife, my mom, my dad.
What is your motto?
Above all else, be kind.
What do you always have in your fridge?
How would you describe yourself as a parent?
A very simple man who’s doing his best to get along and not screw up his kids too much.
What is your parenting superpower?
The ability to nitpick.
What is your favourite memory of your own parents?
Helping my dad open up the fish & chip shop in Calgary. In the 30-minutes before we’d open I’d sit beside him at one of the tables and would read my comic book while he read the newspaper. I loved that because it was my alone time with my dad.
What is a tradition from your childhood that you’ve carried on with your own kids?
We open presents on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day. A new tradition I’ve started with my boys is we all play hooky and go to a blockbuster matinee during the school year.
What do you love most about being a parent, and what do you dislike most?
Watching my kids grow and seeing them face difficult challenges and overcome them. But that’s also one of the things I dislike about being a parent is because that means they’re getting older and I’m getting older. It’s a double-edge sword.
What has surprised you most about being a parent that you weren’t expecting?
The great lengths I will go to do anything for my kids.
Favourite family vacation and why?
New York City in 2017. I was working Kim’s Convenience the play. We went sightseeing, went to Coney Island, and really got to experience living in Manhattan.
What one trait or value are you most trying to instil in your children?
Kindness, responsibility, and treating people with respect.
What one trait are you hoping to avoid?
Selfishness. Getting our boys to think of others first before they think of themselves.
Favourite family summer activity?
Going to the beach together at Presqu’ile and coaching my youngest son’s baseball team.
Favourite family winter activity?
Ice skating is a lot of fun as a family.
Watch weekly episodes of Funboxing Sundays LIVE! with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee on YouTube: Bitterasiandude, Inc.