Justin Hakuta is a Japanese-Filipino entrepreneur, who attracted public interest for being the husband of American actress-comedian and writer Ali Wong, of the 2019 movie “Always Be My Maybe”, and Netflix’s popular stand-up comedies, “Hard Knock Wife” and “Baby Cobra.”
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Early Life and Family
Justin Hakuta was born on 18 October 1981, in Los Angeles, California USA to parents Japanese-American Ken Hakuta and Filipino Marilou Cantiller. His father was the TV host of a popular game show for kids, “Dr. Fad,” in the 1980s, and was also part of the writing team for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 1992, as well as for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in 1993.
His father also created the Wacky Wall Walker, which became one of the most popular toys in 1983, selling over 240 million units. Justin and his brothers were raised in a relatively wealthy household.
His father was born in Korean with the name Paik Kun, and his family were successful textile entrepreneurs in South Korea until 2002, when Justin’s grandfather was accused of being a collaborator with the Japanese during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945, based mainly on the fact that the family’s company was the biggest and most successful textile company during those turbulent times. To avoid conflict, his family permanently moved to Japan where they changed their names; Paik Jun became Ken Hakuta based on the Chinese translation of their Korean family name.
In the late 1970’s, Justin’s parents met when they were both working at the World Bank in Washington D.C. They were married in 1977, and after four years they had Justin, and later on two more boys, Kenzo and Aki.
Justin matriculated from Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. in 2000, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Decision Science. In 2002, he spent a year at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico to further his studies in the fields of economics, sciences, and Mexican history. In 2011, Justin attained a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University Business School in Boston, Massachusetts – he was a Fulbright Scholar, and served as the Vice President of Young Alumni at Harvard Business School.
American Stand-up Comedian Ali Wong's Married Relationship With Husband Justin Hakuta; The Couple Shares A Daughterhttps://goo.gl/Ag5v4D#Comedian #AliWong #JustinHakuta
After college he worked with Honest Tea, an organic beverage company in Bethesda, Maryland, partially owned by the Coca-Cola Company, and was responsible for teaming up with another beverage company Canada Dry, in 2004. Around the same year, he co-founded All Day Buffet, an event organizer and marketing company. After two years, he joined the Center for Court Innovation, where he worked as a research assistant in creating programs for the New York State Unified Court System and Fund for the City of New York. He also worked with Avacara, which he co-founded and was the product leader of a team of designers and engineers creating technology platforms.
Justin then moved to Los Angeles, California, and joined Direct TV DLab as lead developer of new digital products and services. In 2016, he went to work as vice president for GoodRx, a company that provides latest cost, discounts, and developments about prescription drugs.
After parting ways from GoodRx in 2019, he started to accompany his wife on her stand-up comedy nationwide tour, while also establishing an online yoga and wellness resource site, YogaStart.
He married Ali Wong on 27 November 2014. They met at a wedding in 2010 – in an interview, she said that she was smitten and impressed by him. She invited him in one of her standup comedy shows, and from then on they started dating.
When he decided to marry her after four years of dating, his parents weren’t so keen about it. Coming from a wealthy family, his parents felt they needed to protect Justin as Ali wasn’t yet successful during that time. His parents apparently ambushed Ali to sign a prenuptial agreement before the wedding.
Fast forward to 2020, they have two daughters, Justin is in-between jobs, Ali is quite successful with her career, and the family is currently living in Los Angeles, California.
What do you know about Ali Wong?
Alexandra “Ali” Wong was born on 19 April 1982, in Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California USA, to parents Adolphus Wong, a Chinese-American anesthesiologist, and Tammy Wong, a Vietnamese immigrant social worker.
She was raised in a middle class household, as her father was with health care institution Kaiser Permanente for 30 years, while her mother who immigrated to the US in 1960, worked in social services.
Ali matriculated from San Francisco University High School in 2000, where she was the student body president, and then graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Asian American Studies in 2005 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It was while she was at university that she realized she had interest in performing in public. She was a member of the country’s oldest and biggest Asian-American theater group, LCC Theatre Company.
Some summers, she would be working at the University of California, Berkeley summer family camp, The Lair of the Golden Bear, and other times she would be taking vacations to her mother’s homeland, Hanoi, Vietnam.
After college, Ali started to do stand-up comedy at the BrainWash Laundry Café, but decided to move to New York City to professionally pursue comedy and acting in the Big Apple. The fame didn’t come to her easily; she started as a struggling stand-up comedian doing nine gigs a night, going from one bar to another. She lived in a loft with six other people, and wouldn’t eat out for the first year she was in NY but it didn’t deter her from continuing to chase her dreams.
Her parents weren’t supportive of her career choice at first, but eventually they were fine with it. It wasn’t such a big issue to them anyway, since her older siblings had already exposed her parents to the concept of pushing for your own dreams on your own terms.
In 2011 her hard work paid off, when Variety magazine included her in the top 10 comics to watch out for. She was invited as a guest onto several popular TV shows, including “David Attell’s Comedy Underground Show,” “The Tonight Show,” and “John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show.” In 2012 she appeared in nine episodes in “Chelsea Lately,” an American talk-comedy show with Chelsea Handler, and also featured on “Best Week Ever”, appearing in 16 episodes in 2013.
— Ali Wong (@aliwong) January 28, 2020
Her acting career started as well, and she appeared in several TV series and films. Most notable were “Savages,” a movie adaptation of a thriller novel written by Don Winslow and directed by Oliver Stone, released in 2012; “Black Box,” an American medical drama in which she played a doctor for 13 episodes with Vanessa Redgrave and Kelly Reilly. that aired in 2014; and “Always Be My Maybe,” an American romantic-comedy movie, which she co-acted and co‑wrote with Randall Park, and was released in limited theaters – later on, it was available on Netflix, and garnered 32 million views in the first four weeks of airing.
Ali’s popularity had risen, and her stand-up comedy specials on Netflix, “Ali Wong: Baby Cobra” and “Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife” were great hits. She also wrote for the popular TV show “Fresh Off the Boat” for all of its six seasons from 2014 to 2020. Recently, she wrote a book, “Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets and Advice for Living Your Best Life,” in which she shared her experiences and offered her wisdom on how to live a happy life. Ali refers to it as a guide for her two daughters when they start navigating their adult life.
- Justin’s mother-in-law was uneasy, and worried about his often status of being in-between jobs, but his wife would just brush it off and would rather not have Justin be part of a toxic working environment.
- His wife was mentored by popular American comedian, actor and producer, Chris Rock.
- He wrote a series of healthy lifestyle articles for Huffpost.com.
- His wife would always run her jokes by him, and make sure that it wouldn’t be offensive to him or the family. In an interview, she said that, ‘Marriage is a priority over material. I can always make new jokes, but I can’t marry another man. I don’t want to.’
Justin is 5ft 7ins (1.73m) tall and weighs around 145lbs (65 kgs). He is Asian with black hair, black eyes, and wears size 8 shoes.
Net worth and salary
As of June 2020, sources have estimated his net worth to be over $1 million.