Ivan Fuchs, French-American banker turned actor

Speaking five languages and having traveled to more than 90 countries, Ivan is someone whose recommendations we’d trust any day.
Discover Ivan's Lists in Compell'd

Ivan Fuchs was once a banker whose career took him to China, Singapore and New York, until one day he decided to change course and move to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being an actor. Having been to more than 90 countries, he speaks five languages, and he certainly inspires us to get out there and see more of the world.


Can you give us a little bit of a background about your life and career?

I grew up in Paris, France. My family is pretty mixed: my Mom is Croatian, but she grew up in the States. My Dad is Russian-Italian, but he grew up in France. I studied law and politics in London before working in China and Singapore doing finance. Eventually, I moved to New York to continue my financial career. I wasn’t enjoying it, so one day I quit everything and decided to follow my acting dreams and moved to LA on a whim.

You’ve traveled to 97 countries. How is that possible?

Europe is small. Growing up in France meant that I traveled around a lot. Half of my family is also based in the States, so from a young age I traveled to America, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. When I was living in Shanghai it was easy to explore Asia and I also have cousins in Australia and New Zealand, which explains why I’ve been to so many countries!

What is your life philosophy?

I have two mottos that I try to live by. The first one is my own and it’s pretty straightforward: "Smile, someone is watching" which, for me, means to keep your head up and try to spread positivity as much as you can as you don’t know who you can affect with a simple smile.

The second one is from Einstein: "Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". I find this very empowering and I think it conveys a message that people should focus on what they believe they are good at and not on what society says they should be good at. 

What is on your food bucket list?

There is a place in Santa Monica called Bruxie. They serve waffles with fried chicken and a whole bunch of fun brunch food and I want to try that. There is a food convention where they grill a whole alligator and I’d love to try that as well because why not! I’ve tried a lot of extravagant or weird foods from my travels so I’m mostly looking for fun new places that like to experiment.

Where have you experienced the best food so far? 

Japan is the one country that I would go back to just for the food. It’s by far the best food that I've ever had in my life because it is the freshest, and because they're so meticulous about the way they prepare the food, the way they present it - everything.

“Japan is the one country I would go back to just for the food. It’s by far the best food I've ever had in my life.”

Which places would you recommend in Japan? 

The one place that really, really marked me was the Park Hyatt in Tokyo on the 52nd floor. They had the best buffet I've ever had in my life, and I’m not a big buffet person at all. You have this magical view of the entire city of Tokyo on the 52nd floor of the Hyatt hotel and you see everything through these giant crystal clear windows and the food was so phenomenal. I spent 10 days in Japan in Tokyo, Kyoto, Naha, Nii-jima, Hiroshima, and then back to Tokyo. On my last night back in Tokyo I had to go back there for dinner because it was just too good and too phenomenal. Everything I had in Japan was perfect. If I had to pinpoint one place, that's the place for me.

What are your favorite spots in Paris and Shanghai?

In Paris my three favorite places are: Balagan, Fuxia and Chez Vong. The first is an amazing dinner spot with phenomenal food and a really great time which I highly recommend to anyone going to Paris. The second is a great Italian place on a very fun street with huge plates and fresh food and huge burrata plates and great pastas, pizzas and meat. Chez Vong is the best Vietnamese/Asian you will find in Paris, period. An extremely elegant setting with great food and you need to eat the Vietnamese ravioli they make. If you like Asian food just go here and say thank you after.

In Shanghai, it depends if you want to eat slightly overpriced European food but have fun and have a little party then go to Mr. and Mrs. Bund. If you want authentic Chinese food go to Lao Beijing by People Square into a sketchy building elevator to find an insanely nice restaurant and obviously delicious and perfectly done "Beijing Duck" that will cost you nothing at all. I also really enjoy Mr. Willis and Zapata’s.

What’s on your travel Bucket List? 

1. Iceland (I’d want to take a week there, and drive everywhere I can)

2. Bolivia (specifically Salar de Uyuni)

3. Bhutan (these are the happiest people in the world, so there must be a reason).

4. Nepal (to go to Everest Base Camp

5. Antarctica (I want to see the giant whales and see the least populated place on earth).


Thanks so much, Ivan! We love your idea of a travel destination recommendation list (we’re sure you get asked for this all the time!).

Discover Ivan's Lists in Compell'd
February 17, 2020

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