Digital cover: Louis Vuitton x Bruce and Chris Tong
May 18, 2021
Physically similar but creatively distinct, Bruce and Chris Tong are following in their father’s footsteps and treading the boards in the Hong Kong entertainment industry. Decked out in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton, they speak to Natasha Gillespie-Wong about the demands of the entertainment industry, their studies of human nature and the complexities of being a twin.
As the photographer adjusts the lighting and fills the makeshift pool for our digital cover shoot, Bruce and Chris Tong tell us about their budding acting careers over an iced lemon tea. Scions of TVB actor extraordinaire Kent Tong, the Tong twins have followed in their father’s footsteps and begun treading the boards alongside big names such as Donnie Yen, Joe Chen and of course, their dad.
Growing up in Hong Kong, the brothers left everything behind to pursue further education in California. Their joint big break came in the 2018 Cantonese action flick Big Brother after they were signed to Bullet Films post-graduation from UCLA.
Physically similar but creatively distinct, the twins endeavour to further their connection to their audiences through the medium of social media. Bruce curates his feeds to showcase his love of fashion and design, while Chris shares photos of his fitness journey, love for the outdoors and old family snaps. Boasting over 10 thousand followers each on Instagram, the Tong twins spread positivity with their happy-go-lucky attitudes – although their striking good looks probably help a little too.
In this series of photos, the brothers take a metaphorical plunge into an urban odyssey, showcasing the durability, bold colours and water resistance of the Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver watch. Living up to the versatility of the third generation addition to the Tambour watch range, the brothers reflect on the demands of the entertainment industry, their studies of human nature and the complexities of being a twin. There’s no doubt that the Tong twins will continue to surprise us in their endeavours. Welcoming of a challenge and decked out in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton, they stride into the cold water of the pool.
What is the best and worst thing about being a twin?
B: The best thing about a twin is that you always have company and they’ve always got your back. The worst thing about it is when people compare the two of you or see you as the same person, because I think even if I wasn’t a twin, I would still have been on this journey alone, because I love film and acting.
C: The best thing about being a twin is always having someone looking out for me and the worst thing about it is we get confused for each other by others sometimes.
You studied sociology at university. What was it about the subject that interested you?
B: It touches upon so many different subjects: education, economics, cultures, human relationships and so much more. Pretty much everything creates a society, so it’s interesting to learn about all the different aspects.
C: I think sociology is a really broad subject and the most interesting part about sociology to me is understanding more about society and how it works. Things such as human behaviours and human relationships are particularly interesting and useful because I can apply these to my business, as I have a better understanding of consumer behaviours.
What made you want to become actors?
B: I was mostly influenced by my dad. He’s an actor himself and I grew up watching him on TV. We also minored in film while in college and that’s how I grew into it. My dad definitely encouraged us to finish our education before we began in the entertainment industry.
C: My father definitely had a big impact as I grew up watching him as an actor. Also, I think what’s really fun about being an actor is you get to experience and learn about new things every day because every role is different.
What was it about Bullet Films that made you want to sign with them?
B: My mom [Christy Jiang] has always been friends with Mrs. Yen [Donnie Yen, owner of Bullet Films’ wife], we’d met at dinner before, and it just so happened that one summer they reached out to us and asked if we were interested in starring in our first movie, Big Brother and signing with them, so we were really lucky.
C: I grew up watching Ip Man and Donnie Yen has always been somebody I looked up to, my idol. It’s a dream come true for me to be a part of his company.
What was being in Big Brother, your first movie together like?
B: It was fun, because were students in the movie, we just had to be ourselves, also the people around us were pretty much the same age so it was easy to make friends.
C: I still think it’s unbelievable being in a movie and seeing myself in a movie theater, and it’s what I’ve always dreamt of since I was a kid.
There is a scene in Big Brother where your characters get into a huge argument, what does your actual relationship with your brother look like when you have disagreements?
B: It’s an interesting story, we used to fight (physically) all the time and would ghost each other for weeks and even months whenever we argue, but one time we got into a huge fight and I broke Chris’s nose and he ended up being hospitalized, we never fought ever since then and surprisingly our relationship got better after that fight. Now it just takes us a day or two to cool off whenever we have disagreements.
C: Yea, we used to fight a lot, but now we just don’t talk for a couple of days when we have disagreements.
Some feedback you received after Big Brother is that you needed to be more explosive? How did you achieve that?
B: I guess I just need to be more confident about myself, and to be able to do that I will have to keep improving myself as an actor.
C: I think the best way to improve acting is to be more expressive in daily life which i’m still trying my best to learn every day.
If you weren’t actors, what do you think you would be doing?
B: If I wasn’t actor I think I would be doing something related to art and design, I’m into interior design, or maybe fashion. I have always wanted to start my own business, have my own brand, maybe a clothing brand or work backstage, maybe directing. Anything creative for me.
C: If I weren’t an actor I think I’d be starting a business myself, which I’m actually doing right now by starting up a grocery shop with my relatives. But, if I weren’t an actor I would spend more of my effort on it and might think of expanding into more than just one business.
What have you learned about yourself through the film industry?
B: You have to learn to equip yourself with as many skills as you can because you never know what your next role is gonna be. I wouldn’t say anything has surprised me though, because my dad also works in film so I was experienced in that way.
C: I am not a very talkative person and being in the film industry made me become more outgoing. I will continue trying my best to work on it.
Are there any traits in a character that you have played that you wish you had?
B: One of my characters has OCD and I wish I had OCD so I would clean my home more often.
C: I haven’t got to act in a lot of different roles yet, but if I could choose I would definitely go for somebody with superpowers, just like the film Limitless.
What is something that you couldn’t live without?
B: I couldn’t live without my phone, I’m always on my phone.
C: Definitely my phone. I spend 1/4 of my time on my phone every day.
Not each other?
Both: Ohhhh… [both laugh]
The watches you are wearing today are made not only for fashion, but for divers too. How universal do you think this makes them?
B: I have never dived, but I like a diver’s watch because they’re durable, they are water resistant and sporty. I love sports, so when Louis Vuitton, my favorite brand makes sporty watches, even better.
C: I am kind of a coward, I’m scared of water and fishes [laughs], so I am glad these watches are suitable for non-divers as well.
What hopes do you have for your future?
B: I hope to be a versatile actor. I hope to be recognised as more than just a face, I hope people will love me for the roles that I play. I want to inspire people.
C: I have always hoped to be someone that has an influence on the world – someone that people look up to.
Photography / Ricky Lo
Director / Ricky Lo
Videography / Lewis Lau
Styling / Alex Loong
Make-up / Kae Li
Hair / Dickson Chan