From Nickelodeon shows to high-profile Netflix series, Reyn Doi’s star is on the rise.
At 14 years old, most kids worry about school or puberty. For Reyn Doi, he worries about those things, too. But he does so while he so happens to be a rising Hollywood actor in the public spotlight. Reyn, who was born and raised in Hawaii and loves dancing, has been in the industry since he was nine. Already, he was booking roles in projects like S.W.A.T and Boss Baby 2.
It was in 2021 when really landed on people’s radar thanks to his breakout role in Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar. As Yoyo, Reyn was a scene stealer and was one of the best parts of the comedy, often going toe-to-toe with stars like Jamie Dornan and Kirsten Wiig. The praise helped land Reyn the coveted flex of being a Nickelodeon kid when he joined two shows, Drama Club and Side Hustle.
Already, his 2023 got off to an amazing start with the release of the anticipated That 70s Show sequel series, That ’90s Show where Reyn plays Ozzie. Not only is Reyn part of one of the most high-profile new shows of the year, but his character also is involved in one of the most moving scenes in the season. And he also is one of the few Asians on the main cast (another is Filipina Sam Morales). This fast-paced career in the spotlight can be a lot to take in for most, but Reyn is staying cool as a cucumber, being grateful, and taking it all in.
NYLON Manila recently had the chance to speak with the actor where he opened up about being in Hollywood, meeting Mila Kunis, auditioning in a bathroom, and more.
What made you want to be an actor?
When I was in preschool, I got chosen to be an emcee for my school’s annual program. After the program wrapped up, a lot of people came up and complimented me for my talking skills at such a young age. However, when I started my career I never imagined I would be in the place I am today!
How would you describe your experience being an actor in Hollywood so far?
I’ve been able to work with some really amazing, talented people who are just so kind to everyone. Part of a successful show or film is having a good work environment, I’ve been blessed to be able to work on sets with the most amazing crew, cast, and producers.
On top of that, I have experienced so many opportunities many kids my age haven’t. For That 90s Show, being able to perform in front of a live studio audience made filming scenes so much easier, and I got to feed off the audience’s laughter. Their energy is something really special and I couldn’t imagine filming the show without our phenomenal audience members.
What’s the most Hollywood moment you’ve experienced so far?
Meeting all the actors and actresses! When I did Barb and Star, I met Kristen Wiig, and the first time I met her she just finished filming a scene in the ocean. Her appearance looked so different that I didn’t know who came into the makeup room! She was so sweet, and I’m so grateful for her. Barb and Star are what took me to my first award show!
Also, the first week of filming our show, Mila was knocking on everyone’s dressing rooms and I was doing school across the hall, but my mom was in my room. All of a sudden I hear this scream, and my mom was telling me to “come over, come over” and standing right in front of the door was Mila Kunis. My mom and I were both in shock, she was standing right in front of us!
You are a standout as Yoyo in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Looking back, did you ever realize how special the role was?
When I first did the audition, I didn’t realize how big the film would actually end up being. I will always keep a piece of Yoyo and the film in my heart, as it was my first major film. Yoyo wasn’t in every scene, but in the scenes, he was in, he stood out, and although I like all of the characters I have played, Yoyo is definitely up there in my list of favorites!
What’s the best thing about being casted in a Nickelodeon TV show?
Being able to build those relationships and connections. I became very good friends with Mitchell Berg and Isaiah Crews from the Side Hustle series. To this day, we still hang out and text. They were my first friends from a project I had done and I’m thankful to have met them and I hope to continue our friendship for years to come.
How did your participation in That 90s Show come about? Were you a fan of That 70s Show?
I did the audition for the role of Ozzie and did the callback. I had to do the Zoom callback in the bathroom of an Atlanta hotel because I was filming another Netflix film at the time called The Outlaws. So, I had to be creative and that was the only space available, and since the camera and my face never match up, I used an ice bucket to match the camera with my face. Then I did one chemistry read with Ashley (Gwen) and without even testing with the network, I booked the job. It was like an early Christmas gift.
I had never heard of That ’70s Show, but once I booked the role, I bought four seasons and watched it. I realized a lot of similarities between our script and the original show, but a lot of unique differences. Watching That ’70s Show is always a blast. I hope the fans will enjoy our sequel!
What was the experience like working on the show?
My character was able to have many special moments throughout the season and our writers are extremely creative. Being able to work with the original cast was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that I will never forget. They were so nice and friendly to all of us, and Topher and Debra Jo took the time to eat lunch with everyone, and it was so intriguing hearing all of the stories from filming 30 years ago.
Also, Wilmer gave me a lot of advice and was super sweet in taking the time to talk. He shared, “always take the rehearsals as the time to be creative because you have one chance to show it to the network and producers, so really take the time during rehearsals.”
How does it feel being the only Asian actor in the show’s cast?
I am so extremely proud to be able to represent the Asian community. I’ve been given a huge opportunity and this show is an absolute dream.
It’s quite exciting, because Ozzie is very judgmental, and honest, and he won’t think twice if he wants to say something. I’m the complete opposite, so it’s nice to see what it’d be like if I had the characteristics of Ozzie’s personality. But Ozzie also has a sweet side to him that he shows once in a while and to see that side of Ozzie is very touching.
What can viewers expect from That 90s Show?
They can expect a lot of fun, a lot of chaos, a lot of funny, and a lot of 360 scenes (if you know what I mean). We’ve taken aspects from the original show and taken them to our show, but we’ve also made it different, and when the viewers watch they’ll know what I’m talking about.
When you step on set with these big stars and cameras facing you, do you ever get nervous?
I don’t feel nervous to perform in front of big stars, and when it’s show time and the director says “action,” there’s a switch inside of me and I become a totally different person. I’m able to shine in front of the camera and the audience, but at the beginning of our first couple of live shows, I was definitely feeling nervous. I had never performed a scene live so it was nerve-racking. But once I got used to doing the live performances, it was something I’d look forward to every week. Once Friday came around and it’d be time to go down to the stage, “it’s go time!”
Aside from acting, you also have a performance side to yourself, especially when it comes to dancing. What is it about dancing that you like so much about it?
I’ve been dancing since I was four, so I think it’s something that I will always carry with me. In every project I’ve done, the writers and producers always write something for me that requires me to dance. With this show, I’ve done it at least a couple of times, and with Barb and Star, I can’t remember how many times Yoyo had to dance. It brings me this indescribable joy, the same kind of joy when I make someone laugh. I hope I keep getting to dance on the big screen!
How do you manage to stay grounded in the midst of all the craziness in Hollywood?
I always remember where I came from and where I started. It has been years in the making, but I’ve stayed strong, patient, persistent, and humble. It’s not an easy industry, but it’s super fun, and that’s why I enjoy working in Hollywood. I always tell myself how lucky and blessed I am to have such amazing opportunities.
What’s one misconception about being an actor in Hollywood that you want to disprove?
When I see a comedy actor, I would always think their personality on-screen must be the same as off-screen, but with all the people I’ve come across, a lot of them are much calmer and quieter than I would have imagined. Now that I think about it, although I have a big personality on camera, and off-camera I’m pretty calm. Although there are days when I like to talk a lot.
What’s next for you? Do you see yourself continuing to be an actor in the years to come?
I hope that this is just the beginning of many more opportunities to come. I have enjoyed working on all my projects and seeing the final product since I began my career in 2017. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and where it will take my career. But in the meantime, watch That 90s Show!
Photographer: Irvin Rivera (@graphicsmetropolis)
Styling: Charlotte Harris (@fashion_finds)
Grooming: Elie Maalouf (@elienmaalouf)
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