Interview by Jana Letonja

Japanese American actor Mackenyu will be starring in Netflix’s highly anticipated series ‘One Piece’, which is being released today (31 August). Soon, he will also be starring in two Hulu projects, including the original live action/ anime mixed feature ‘Dragons of Wonderhatch’ and the drama series ‘House Of The Owl’.

full look MM6
bracelet CARTIER

We’ll be seeing you in Netflix’s highly anticipated live-action series ‘One Piece’. It follows the other-worldly adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew as they explore exotic islands and endless oceans in search for the ultimate treasure. What can the viewers expect when the series will release?

If you aren’t familiar with ‘One Piece’, it’s a great introduction to these characters and the stories. The show is about friendships, following your dreams and believing in yourself. I think that many people will relate to it. 

For ‘One Piece’, you’ve done quite some stunts. What do you love the most about your character Roronoa Zoro?

Besides having green hair, fighting with three swords was a lot of fun. I was familiar with using two swords from live-action shows I’ve done in the past, but three swords was a new challenge.

full look KENZO
shoes MARNI

This series was actually not the first time you did stunts, as you did them as well for ‘Knights of the zodiac’, which came out this year. How hard was it preparing for the stunts and then executing them on set?

We had stunt rehearsals for weeks before we started shooting. The hardest part of Zoro’s action was having a third sword in my mouth. The training I did for ‘One Piece’ was specific to Zoro and the skills I needed to learn to really be him.

What do you find the hardest and most challenging part of acting?

I need to have space for myself when I’m not filming, not only to relax and re-energize, but to focus on what’s next.And sometimes that’s hard with all that’s happening on set. 

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Growing up, you had many interests, which included learning horseback riding, Kyokushin Karate, gymnastics, water polo and wrestling, as well as interest in music that led you to learn piano at the age of ten and later also learning to play saxophone and flute. How did you end up as an actor? When did you develop interest in it?

Initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to be an actor. But when I got into my teens, the acting bug hit me. 

How do you look back on those early acting days, when you just started your career? 

I wasn’t sure how things were going to go, but my manager saw me in a short project when I was 16 and was impressed. That was the start and acting opportunities followed. 

full look PAUL SMITH
shoes MARNI

You’ve starred in many Japanese projects. How do Japanese productions differ from international productions?

The process is the same, but the details of how the project gets done is different depending on what country you are filming in. ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ was filmed in Australia, ‘Knights of the Zodiac’ was filmed in Hungary and ‘One Piece’was filmed in South Africa. 

You are also partnering with many fashion brands, like Tiffany & Co, Fendi, Burberry and Louis Vuitton. What do you love the most about fashion?

I love fashion, so it’s easy to partner with fashion brands. I even started my own fashion line called ‘INCRM’.


full look JIL SANDER

full look PAUL SMITH
sunglasses DITA

How would you describe your style? 

My style is a mix of high fashion for events and casual, fashion forward and lounge wear at home. 

Next up, we’ll see you in Hulu’s live action/anime series ‘Dragons of Wonderhatch’ and drama series ‘House of the Owl’. What can you share with us bout these two projects?

‘Dragons of Wonderhatch’ is an original series from Disney+, that mixes anime and live-action and is very original. ‘House of the Owl’ is a dramatic series, also from Disney+, that is a great script about family dynamics, centered around the father who is retiring from his job as a ‘fixer’ for high profile clients in Japan. I loved doing both projects. 


Talent MACKENYU @mackenyu
Photographer DAVID KATZINGER @davidkatzinger
Stylist AVO YERMAGYAN @avoyermagyan
Creative director KATHLEEN HOWES @howeskathleen
Hair KAYLA CASEY @kaylacassee
Makeup SASHA BORAX @sashaborax
Set designer JEREMY REIMNITZ @jeremyreimnitz
Floral artist KRISTEN ALPAUGH @flwrpstl
Production BE GOOD CREATOR STUDIO @begoodcreatorstudio
Photography assistant KEVIN MC
Styling assistant MARY YERMAGYAN
Video editor JONNY BEKER @jonnybe.szo
Editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
Cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen

Interview by Jana Letonja @janaletonja