HBS Feb 2023 Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn
Jacket; trousers, Prada

The year has gotten off to a good start for Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn. In January, Prada announced the appointment of the 23-year-old Thai actor, model and singer as their brand ambassador. In a short two years, he has made the leap from rookie actor to international star, with over 14 million followers on Instagram and a slew of acting and popularity awards under his belt. And it was all because of 2gether: The Series, the boy’s love rom-com that became a global hit.

“I have always been shy,” says Win, as he reflects on his life before 2gether. “I was nervous whenever I had to be in front of people. It was only when I was forced to step out of my comfort zone that I gathered the courage to make decisions, voice my opinions and express myself. And after entering showbiz, I realised I needed to change my mindset. It’s all about preparation. Like everything else in life, if you’re well-prepared and well-trained, confidence will come naturally.”

Related article: Metawin Opas-iamkajorn Is Prada’s Newest Brand Ambassador

HBS Feb 2023 Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn
Coat; t-shirt, Prada

Observing him during the photo shoot, Win comes across as reserved rather than shy. The soft-spoken actor is careful with his words, but he also has a cheeky side. He makes the crew laugh when he teases his manager for her “poor performance” at the Prada Men’s show in Milan last June. He was burning up in his winter coat in the summer heat and she had left the portable electric fan in the hotel. “Sweat was running down my cheeks but she was busy taking pictures—she even posted a photo of me all sweaty! That’s why she didn’t meet her KPI last year,” he jokes. The missing fan aside, attending the show was a wonderful experience for Win, from the enthusiastic welcome by fans at the airport and the show venue, as well as the excitement of meeting Korean celebrities like NCT band member Jaehyun and actor Song Kang.

Win’s first big adventure overseas was as an exchange student in the US when he was in Grade 11, around the age of 17. “At home, I didn’t have to lift a finger. But in the US, I had to handle everything myself—do my own laundry, clean my room. I needed to pull myself together and take the initiative to make friends, even though my English wasn’t very good in the beginning. But I figured that if I didn’t break the ice first, I’d end up with no friends. I did cry and ask to go home about six months into my stay,” he says with a laugh. “After the initial excitement of a new environment, I hit the crossroads at the six-month mark. I missed my family very much. But I was told to persevere and stay until the end of the programme.” And so he did, passing his GED test to receive the equivalent of a high school diploma, and then scoring well in his SAT to enrol in Bangkok’s Thammasat University, one of the top universities in the country.

This wasn’t the only time Win’s close-knit family gave him a much-needed push at a crucial juncture in his life. He had originally planned to pursue an architecture degree due to his love for world-building video games like the SIMS and Minecraft. However, upon his parents’ advice, he switched to economics even though it was not his first choice. “I wanted to quit all the time but after making it through a very tough first year, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to persevere for another three years. Honestly, if I hadn’t entered showbiz, I would probably have gone back to get another degree in architecture.”

Related article: All About The Boys We Love This February

HBS Feb 2023 Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn
Coat; inner jacket; top; trousers; boots, Prada

Win’s foray into entertainment was serendipitous. The owner of the school where he was taking a dance class knew a talent manager from Thai digital terrestrial television channel Channel One 31, and submitted his performance clip. He was talent-scouted, and trained as One31 talent for one year before auditioning for the role that would change the course of his life. “I had auditioned for many roles both in dramas and advertisements during my time at One31 but didn’t get any. After hearing about the 2gether project by [TV production and talent agency] GMM TV, I auditioned. I won the role and moved to GMM,” he says.

Aside from a year of training, Win had zero acting experience. He was a bundle of nerves on the first day of filming. “It was pretty chaotic,” he recalls, laughing. “It’s my first real acting job. I was so tense, I stopped breathing in my first scene. I had no idea how I should move my body or where my hands should be. I only started to relax halfway into the filming. I was lucky the crew was so patient and didn’t complain when we had to do take after take.”

Being on set was a completely different experience from the acting classes he took. “We did the rehearsals in a studio so it’s easier to maintain your focus but once you are outside, in a different environment, there are many distractions. You have to pay attention to camera angles and the rhythm of your co-actors,” he explains. “I was glad the feedback for the show was so good. I didn’t expect people to like me so much after my first drama. I was just doing my best so when it aired and people liked it, all my exhaustion disappeared.”

Related article: Thai Actors Vachirawit Chivaaree And Metawin Opasiamkajornn Are Causing Social Media Frenzies

HBS Feb 2023 Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn
Coat; inner coat; top; trousers; boot, Prada

Despite seeing the number of his social media followers rise astronomically, Win was unprepared for the actual impact his popularity would have on his life. But it has given him a purpose—something he bashfully admits he’s never had before. “My life has changed since 2gether. Before, I didn’t really consider how my actions could affect others but once you know many eyes are on you, you have to really think about whatever you plan to do. I have changed a lot. Before becoming an actor, I just lived every day aimlessly, only making sure I didn’t fail so I could graduate. I had no clear life goals or future plans. Now, I want to be successful as an actor because that’s what I do for a living. I want to take on a role people will remember me for apart from 2gether; something people will watch and think ‘this is a role only Win could do’.”

He wants to explore other genres besides romance. “Something like John Wick! I really, really love action
movies. Honestly, rom-coms are not my thing at all,” he says. Win’s fans may beg to differ: His boy-next-door looks are made for love stories and melodramas. He was praised for his natural expressions and emotional range, and particularly for his crying scenes in 2gether. Since then, Win has garnered two more acting credits to his name: F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers and the feel-good romantic series Devil Sister where he starred alongside veteran Thai actress Peechaya Wattanamontree. This year, his acting chops will be tested in two diametrically opposite leading man roles. He’ll be playing a clean-cut college student in Beauty Newbie, a remake of the Korean rom-com My ID is Gangnam Beauty, and a mysterious, tattooed teacher in the supernatural horror series Enigma. He also plans to travel for fan meetings. “I always receive a warm welcome from fans in Singapore and I’m really looking forward to meeting them soon. Please stay tuned for more of my work this year!”

Makeup: Phornpichid Khumnguen
Hair: Akkarapong Punkaew
Producer: Duangporn Leelaampaikul
Production assistant: Matharipoln Monthanatunrat
Digital technician: Porapak Sirijaisomboon
Photographer’s assistant: Sopon Chaisen
Assistant stylist: Phi Ritwiwat
Stylist’s assistant: Patipan Limsuwash