Ki Hong Lee
Seoul, South Korea
Los Angeles, California, United States
American and South Korean
Ki Hong graduated from a high school in Southern California.
He majored in psychology while studying at the University of California, Berkeley (2004–2008) with an intention to become a practicing psychiatrist.
When he found out he would have to further attend graduate school to get a license, Ki Hong dropped that career aspiration altogether, since he had no money left for further education.
He decided to become a full-time teacher by signing up with Teach for America but took a year off first.
In order to fulfill his creative side, Ki Hong revived his interest in acting that he first developed in middle school when he used to participate in skits at his local church.
One project led to another and Ki Hong progressively built upon his portfolio until his acting gigs increased in profile.
Actor, Writer, Producer
- Father – Former Restaurant owner
- Mother – Former Restaurant owner
Stone Manners Salners Agency (SMS) LA & NYC
5 ft 11 in or 180 cm
73 kg or 161 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
- Ha Young Choi (2008–Present) – Ki Hong was at first, friends with long-time girlfriend Ha Young in high school. They started dating after finishing college. Ha Young is a product of Laguna College of Art and Design and has formerly worked as an Assistant Designer and Buyer. She also co-starred with Ki Hong in a short film by Wong Fu Productions called She has a Boyfriend (2013). The couple got married in a private ceremony at Tujunga, California in March 2015. They registered for wedding gifts at Pottery Barn and went to Bora Bora and Moorea islands, North-West Tahiti for their honeymoon.
Race / Ethnicity
Asian (South Korean)
- Thick, voluminous head of hair
- Dimple on right cheek
- Eyes nearly close shut when Ki Hong smiles
- Deceptively looks much younger than his actual age
He was featured in a McDonald’s commercial (2013).
Ki Hong believes in God, but his faith is not confirmed.
Best Known For
Playing the character of Minho in The Maze Runner (2014), Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) and Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018).
Ki Hong was cast in a minor role of BD Wong in a small budget comedy called Yellow Face (2013).
First TV Show
Ki Hong had a 2-episode guest role named Clayton in a Nickelodeon sitcom called Victorious (2010).
- Ki Hong claims that he always maintained a fundamental level of natural athleticism.
- He hates running but enjoys swimming, basketball, soccer, and baseball.
- He spent a few dedicated weeks in the gym and even hired a personal trainer to get strong enough to perform all his stunts in The Maze Runner films. The focus of his training was to build the endurance for all the running, he was expected to do in those films.
- Ki Hong’s exact dietary details are not known but he is comfortable cooking his own food and likes grilling meat.
Ki Hong Lee Favorite Things
- Ethnic Korean Dish – Soondubu
- Animal Meat – Pork
- Korean Food in LA – Korean barbecue and Oxtail soup
- Comfort Food – Pizza
- Words – Bro, dude, pizza
- TV Show – Disjointed, Atypical
- Teen Wolf Character – Dylan O’Brien as Stiles Stilinski
Ki Hong Lee Facts
- After finishing college, he worked as many hours as he could in various capacities such as a waiter, manager, host, and cook at his parents’ restaurant Tofu Village in Little Tokyo to support himself during his early years of struggle.
- His parents permanently left South Korea to live in New Zealand when he was 6 years old.
- They relocated to Los Angles, California when Ki Hong was 8 years old.
- His childhood dream was to become a teacher.
- His favorite activities always involve creating something with his hands. As a child, he loved LEGO but since those blocks were expensive, he couldn’t convert his liking into a hobby.
- After watching Korean-American actor Aaron Yoo in Disturbia (2007), Ki Hong was propelled to switch his career path because Aaron’s work felt relate-able and made Ki Hong believe that he might have a real shot at getting a break in Hollywood. Ki Hong thanks Aaron every time he meets him.
- According to him, his biggest challenge as an actor is to manage the fine line between doing good work for the sake of creating brilliant art and be an inspirational representative of his Korean-American community in all his acting projects.
- He had no formal experience in acting when he decided to become a full-time actor after college. Hence, he got involved in theatre and read every play he could possibly get his hands on.
- Ki Hong repeatedly feels thankful for the existence of a real-life Minho in author James Dashner’s life. His niece married a Korean man after whose name he created the character in his Maze Runner books, which was played by Ki Hong.
- The actor is very vocal about expressing gratitude for all the forces beyond his control that helped turn him into a successful actor.
- In the beginning of his acting career, Ki Hong briefly thought about changing his name to something less ethnic. However, he changed his mind when he saw actress Uzo Aduba talking to Seth Meyers in an interview. She mentioned talking to her mother about changing her name because everybody around her kept on pronouncing it incorrectly. Uzo’s mother retorted that if people could learn to pronounce the difficult names of talented and acclaimed historical figures such as Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky, they would also learn to say her name correctly if she became good enough.
- After booking a series of guest roles in prime time TV shows in 2010, Ki Hong was out of work for 2 years. He met and befriended Wong Fu Productions filmmakers and created a portfolio of work on YouTube that later helped him secure a contract with an agency.
- People magazine placed him on the 4th place in the 2014 list of Sexiest Men Alive. Initially embarrassed by the attention, Ki Hong later expressed gratitude and added that mass media popularity should comprise of as many ethnically diverse faces as possible.
- The actor said that he is bad at taking compliments gracefully.
- He is left-handed.
- Ki Hong honestly admitted that he is a big ‘wuss’ when it comes to watching horror movies.
- He does not like traveling and exploring by himself and would rather have company than do things all alone.
- To find out more about the actor, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Featured Image by Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0