7@7: Hawai‘i State Rep. Chris Lee Gets Real About One Question He Hates Answering

Simple, streamlined, no surprises: That’s how State Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo) describes his wardrobe in the August issue of HONOLULU Magazine. However, Lee’s life on the go is anything but basic. I caught up with the ‘Iolani alum in between work trips and community events, and learned about a crazy ex encounter, his love for Mickey D’s and how he used to spend his Friday nights.

7@7 is an occasional feature where the HONOLULU Magazine fashion team gets the scoop by asking local creatives 7 questions at 7 o’clock over a drink of their choice.

  Chris Lee

Photos: Aaron K. Yoshino


Who: Chris Lee

What: Hot Americano

Where: Tea Boss Kissa

What was the craziest thing that happened to you recently? 

I ran into an ex at Jamba Juice and she introduced me to her boyfriend. He gave me the coldest shoulder I think I’ve ever received. In my job, I’ve gotten death threats, but it’s different when someone shows intense dislike right in your face.


What was your first job?

It was flipping burgers at Enchanted Lake McDonald’s. A friend of mine worked there so I applied, plus it was one of the few places that would hire me. I have to say, it was one of the best work experiences I’ve had. I learned how to communicate with people who are often frustrated, rushed and hangry! It really taught me patience.


How would your mom describe you?

I’m sure she would have glowing words to say about me, many of which I don’t deserve. Creative, determined and curious come to mind.

  Chris Lee


What three things keep you up at night?

Honestly, I sleep pretty well. Since my stroke six years ago, I do everything I can each day to change the things I can change around me. I don’t win every battle, but if I’m doing as much as I can, I’m good.


What question do you hate to answer?

During the same-sex marriage movement, I was always asked if I was straight or gay? I understand why, but it took focus away from the real issue. I’m not gay, but I deeply believe everyone deserves the opportunity to be with the one they love. So, what did it matter?


What’s one of your favorite childhood memories?

I used to sleep over my grandparents’ house on Friday nights and watched University of Hawai‘i games with Jim Leahey commentating.


If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

To step out of my comfort zone more often and try things I usually wouldn’t do. Part of the reason why I did this interview.