In just four years, Glenn Yong is already hitting big-name status in Southeast Asia through his work on the silver screen, his music and fashion engagements. Next on his list, global domination.
Blazer and shirt (worn inside): both Gucci; Tank Française timepiece, ring and earrings: all Cartier
Glenn Yong doesn't think he's a talented actor. Sure, he's already nabbed two prominent feature film roles in Singapore's prolific filmmaker Jack Neo's projects—Ah Girls Go Army and, most recently, The King of Musang King (TKOMK)—alongside several television gigs since his debut in 2019. However, the 26-year-old rising star seems to think otherwise. "I don't think I'm gifted. I have to work really hard," he declares, "but I've always dreamed of being an actor and singer, and performing on stage. It's been very rewarding, so I'm thankful and never take that for granted."

Just days away from Chinese New Year, I travel to Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, to catch the promising artist in between his schedule of unceasing promotional tours for the premiere of TKOMK that week. Accompanied by his assistant, Glenn arrives at the Deluxe Pool Suite of the Equarius Hotel, dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and a green varsity jacket, flashing a bright warm smile as he greets everyone in the room. I ask him how he feels, given his packed calendar. "I think I average on four hours of sleep every day, but I'm feeling good," Glenn shares graciously. Seeing as how this is his very first shoot with a Malaysian publication, the star couldn't help but be very enthusiastic.

By now, you've probably come across the heart-throb on your social media accounts. After all, the serial user first gained prominence on TikTok. At first glance, you'd mistake him for a K-pop idol with his tall stature, boyish good looks and charm, which explains the instant admiration and love his fans have for him. But Glenn is adamant that he's more than just a pretty face. "I'm in this industry because I see the beauty of films and want to inspire people like how others have inspired me. You know when you were younger and watched a superhero show, and you wanted to be one yourself? That's what movies did to me—I loved watching films growing up," he reveals.
Sweater and pants: both Fendi; Bracelet: Tiffany & Co.; Earrings: Glenn's own
Raising the bar
Having kick-started his acting journey in university, Glenn was initially unsure about his career path—he even considered following in his father's footsteps to become a tour guide. "But once the TV drama Victory Lap came out, and then later, Ah Girls Go Army, which were well-received in Singapore and Malaysia, that gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams and forge ahead. Seeing that people appreciated and loved what I was doing was all I needed," he shares.

The past year saw Glenn very busy shooting, travelling (I first met the actor at Milan Fashion Week in September 2022), and performing on stage. Aside from acting, the dashing star is also dabbling in music, with a debut single, Up, Up, already released last year with more to come. "Music and performance-wise, my idols are BTS. They might be a K-pop group, but the feelings and emotions that their music and content evoke are inspiring. I'm nowhere near them, but as an artist, that's what I aspire to do. Whether it's my fans, followers or people I work with, I want them to leave feeling encouraged, hopeful and happy whenever they spend time with me," he declares.
Another huge musical inspiration? Rapper-singer Jackson Wang, previously of South Korean boy band GOT7, which Glenn had the honour of spending time with last December after his concert in Singapore. "I was called to see him backstage, and it was pretty surreal. All I can say is that being recognised by your idol or someone you admire is a huge affirmation. It has motivated me to work even harder, and who knows, it might even lead to a collaboration in the future," Glenn manifests.

Between the two very different professions, it's hard for Glenn to pick one over the other: "Because I feel like acting is about playing out different life experiences and becoming a completely different character. When it comes to music, I'm pouring specific emotions into a song."

To demonstrate, Glenn shares that his first single Up, Up, is an angry anthem and a clap back to his haters. "I went through many challenges in the entertainment industry over the past four years. From people discouraging me to belittling me, I wanted to compile my feelings and let them out," he says with a laugh. In line with his first single, each song he releases moving forward will represent the different sentiments and stages of life he goes through. "I have four to five songs ready to be released throughout the year, so you can expect more from me, musically," he reveals with a cheeky smile.
Shirt, beaded denim jeans, sneakers and studded jacket: all Gucci; Ring, necklace and earrings: all Cartier
Staying above the haters
Navigating the gruelling, competitive, high-pressure path of showbiz is no easy feat. Still, Glenn seems to have found the right formula: "If you take every rejection or piece of gossip seriously, you're setting yourself up to fail. Ignorance is bliss, and I truly believe that. I don't care too much about people's opinions of me. Just do what your heart and intuition tell you to do because they are always right."

That being said, Glenn does not need to worry about the sceptics, as he's got a massive fan base who eagerly anticipates his every move. Charmingly named the 'HangBaoBaos'—meaning hamburgers in Hokkien—the actor attributes his motivation and success thus far to them. "There's a cute story to the name of my fandom. It's a wordplay between my Chinese name, Qi Hang, and the word baby in Mandarin, bao bao. That's because I see my fans as my adorable little babies," he exclaims with a huge smile.

"Honestly, they are my greatest inspiration and motivate me in anything I do. Whether it's the music I put out, the shows that I act in, the events that I go to, or whatever content I post on social media, I always think of my fans first. Ultimately, I want my work to add value, encourage or help them in any way, just as their screams and comments encourage me. I feed off the energy that they give."
A bigger splash
From shimmery blazers to double denims, immaculate suits, jackets and sleek crossbody bags (all displayed on his Instagram account @glennyqh), Glenn is a budding trendsetter, cultivating relationships with fashion designers and luxury labels, all of whom are eager to dress the dapper lad in their brands.

"I wasn't always fashionable. Interestingly enough, it all started when I began to listen to and watch BTS. I saw how the boys would dress up for their performances and events. It dawned on me that men too can style beyond the usual suit and tie, and play with silhouettes, colours, layers, materials and fabrics," shares Glenn.

Off-duty, he reaches for letterman jackets, easy-to-style T-shirts and comfy hoodies. "Now, I love wearing different types of clothes to express myself. It has become more of a passion, and I'm lucky enough to do it as a job. When in doubt, I look to the Koreans for styling inspiration," he adds.
Pearl-embellished knit sweater: Dior; Earrings: Glenn's own
Heart and soul
Glenn has dreams of breaking out beyond Singapore and finding opportunities in other countries. "I mean, if you look at the Thais and the level of success they're at right now, I want to be able to achieve that too," he says. This does not feel like an implausible goal. After all, he is the first and only Singaporean to have made it to TC Candler's '100 Most Handsome Faces' list in 2022—landing at number 62, beating notable K-pop singers like BamBam (of GOT7), Kai (of Exo) and Taemin. "I never expected that myself. It's just surreal and amazing. I guess I can say I'm officially a handsome guy for the entire year until they renew the list," he jokes with a chuckle.

Glenn's strong qualities of hard work, tenacity, and determination are clearly traits he has in abundance, and the star credits them to his very Singaporean nature. "In Hokkien, we call it kiasu. I don't like to lose, which explains why I get back up whenever I fall. I'm afraid of disappointing people." On his love for Singapore, Glenn shares how much he values the food, unity and convenience of living on a small island: "Anything more than 30 minutes to get to someplace else already feels like a road trip to us."
When we discuss how he's able to keep himself grounded despite his sudden thrust into the spotlight, Glenn shares that it is his family and friends out of the industry who help him reclaim some semblance of normalcy. "I guess to them, I'll always be a friend they had known since before I became an artist, so they never saw me differently. It's just that now, I have no more privacy," he shares.
Shirt, jacket and trousers: all Louis Vuitton; Necklace and rings: both Tiffany & Co.; Earrings: Glenn's own
A new high
While Glenn is still buzzing from the high of TKOMK's success, right now, he's also laser-focused on the release of his latest single, Break Out, which he just shot a music video for in Malaysia. "It leans towards K-pop and has a party vibe. I hope to hear the song at festivals, clubs, or dance parties. The message of it is really about breaking out of your comfort zone and entering new territories. Of course, it correlates with my career too as many have told me that I'm the current breakout star," he acknowledges.

Fans will be happy to know that he plans to release new music monthly, culminating in a concert by the end of the year. "Not only that, I might be doing more meet-and-greets in Malaysia and Indonesia. In fact, I might be doing even more in Malaysia," he teases. A collaboration with a few Malaysian artists is on the cards too, Glenn tells me oh-so-casually. "Honestly, I love coming over there. You guys are so hospitable, uncomplicated and so nice to hang out with."

As the shoot comes to an end, despite the long day we've had, Glenn gets ready to head off to another movie promotional event happening later that night—before continuing with the next venture in the coming weeks. While the future might not be certain, one thing's for sure: Glenn Yong is definitely going places.
Sweater and pants: both Bottega Veneta. Necklace, ring and earrings: all Tiffany & Co.
Editor & COORDINATOR / Sarah Hani Jamil
layout design / Sarah Tai
Photography / SHAWN PAUL TAN assisted by melvin leong
Videography / DAVID BAY
Makeup / ZOEL TEE