Behind the exuberant facade you see of Justin on Asia's Got Talent 2 is a love for artistic creation and travel. The host, actor, director, writer and seasoned traveller tells us more
He once hitchhiked from Mongolia to Bangkok… by exchanging beer for rides.
It was for a 2012 series of Heineken ads where the 36-year-old Texas native of American and Burmese lineage had “to interact with total strangers.” “I was flagging people down when they were driving by in the middle of the desert in Inner Mongolia,” says Bratton who was a Bangkok-based model for eight years and had hosted CNA docus The Big Idea and It Figures. “[The road trip taught me] that a smile can do wonders when it comes to bridging cultural gaps. When you can't understand each other's language, the only way to reciprocate is with a smile.”
He and Asia’s Got Talent co-host Alan Wong are buddies.
“First of all, Alan is my best friend. He's incredibly talented — he has, like, 20 hidden talents, one of which is this ability to connect with people really quickly emotionally. It’s really easy for people to be comfortable around him. Work-wise, I prefer to wing it and see what happens whereas Alan likes to know what’s going on first. Which is why we make a great team. Also, Alan wears his heart on his sleeve and is a really genuine guy. Women have told me before that I’m a hard nut to crack because I seldom talk about how I feel (laughs).”
He’s also a budding filmmaker.
He recently wrote, produced and acted in Screaming at Stars, a short film about interdimensional travel, currently doing rounds on the film festival circuit. Bratton says the shot-in-Bangkok film is inspired by the works of Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival). “I like how del Toro combines all these fantastical elements in his very distinct films. Villeneuve is killing it right now [with Blade Runner 2049]. I like his kind of multi-faceted stories where you don’t really know where you are. I would love to be as good as these two guys.”
He and Alan Wong are starting a YouTube channel soon.
“It’s called Onesies Chats and we are going to wear animal onesies and chat about different types of things we’re working on. We’ll also interview interesting people. It’s a really good time for content creation now. With networks like Netflix and HBO expanding into Asia, they’d need all kinds of local original content. Needless to say, YouTube is also a platform worth exploring.”
Asia’s Got Talent airs Thursdays, AXN (Singtel TV Ch 304 & StarHub Ch 511), 8.30pm.