Henry Golding was called "every racist name under the sun" when he moved to England.
The 'Crazy Rich Asians' star - whose mother is Malaysian and father is British - lived in his mum's native country until he was eight, and admitted relocating to Surrey was a "slap in the face" because he was subjected to so much abuse by his classmates.
He recalled: "Casual racism was rife back then because there weren't many Asians. We were called every racist name under the sun.
"It wasn't even the right racist names, but they would just say them because they were kids. It was like, 'Oh, s***. I've never experienced this.'
"[It was a reminder that] 'You're different, you're not British, you're not one of us.' "
But as he got older, the 33-year-old actor grew more proud of his heritage.
He added to The Guardian newspaper: "I always felt we were at arm's length just because of the way we looked. Then growing up in the UK, you slowly start assimilating.
"As a young man, you start taking pride in who you are. You start realising, 'Yeah, I am Asian.'
"Then you yearn for a broader understanding of what that means."
When he was 21, Henry quit his job as a hairdresser to move to Kuala Lumpur in a bid to fulfill his ambition of a career on TV - but still didn't feel as though he fit in.
He said: "I felt like a fish out of water. I was like: 'Whoa, I thought I was Asian. But this isn't the experience that I thought I would be having.'
"So that just makes you all confused again."
And the 'Gentleman' star - who is married to Liv Lo - admitted neither England nor Malaysia have ever felt like home, but he finds his sense of belonging "wherever [his] loved ones are."