Quirky and soft-spoken, Hong Kong entertainer Ivana Wong may cut a strange figure on stage with her tiny frame, timid demeanour and unorthodox fashion sense. But, audiences simply love her for all her idiosyncrasies.
Dubbed the Queen Of Singer Songwriters after her seven-year winning streak at the Radio Commercial Awards, Wong got her start in the entertainment industry as a songwriter for two generations of Hong Kong God Of Song – Jacky Cheung and Eason Chan – as well as Taiwan’s Princess Of Pop Jolin Tsai.
Then she ventured into stage acting before wowing audiences on the silver screen. Her stage shows played to packed venues, which led to her big break in Hong Kong cinema in 2014 with three movies – Sandra Ng’s Golden Chicken 3, Wong Cho Lam’s Delete My Love and Ekin Cheng’s Break Up 100.
Movie lovers were bowled over by her funny antics when she made her big screen debut (as a hooker with a heart of gold) in Ng’s lunar new year flick Golden Chicken 3.
Her hilarious portrayal won her both the much-coveted Best Newcomer and Best Supporting Actress Awards at the 34th Hong Kong Film Awards.
The 36-year-old entertainer, who just got married to her designer boyfriend Eric So last November, was in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year to film her part in Malaysian movie Show Me Your Love, written and directed by Ryon Lee.
1. Can you tell us about your role in Show Me Your Love?
I play a naive Hong Kong woman who is the mother of a little girl, and the wife of the character played by Raymond Wong Ho Yin.
She was initially working as a secretary, and had to follow her husband to Malaysia to look for his mother (Nina Paw).
Due to the fast-paced environment in Hong Kong, people are accustomed to working very hard to make a living. That’s why, she even got a job as a real estate agent to make more money.
But, her experience with her husband’s estrangement from his mother leads her to cherish her own family. So, when it came to the point where she had to choose between her career and her family, she chose the latter without hesitation.
For me, family comes first too. I’m close to my parents and brother. And, now that I’m married, family has become even more important.
So, when it comes to work, I’d block the time for important dates, even if it would mean I’d be missing out on something major.
2. Is this the first time you’re making a movie in Kuala Lumpur?
Yes, I’ve been to Malaysia quite a few times during promotional activities for other music and movie launches.
But, it is the first time I’m filming a movie outside of Hong Kong. I’ve filmed in KL for eight days, and have a few more scenes to shoot in Hong Kong.
3. If you had children of your own, what kind of mother would you be? Would you encourage your children to go into entertainment?
I’ve not really thought about it. I feel that it should be up to them. They should be able whatever they like.
I think I would be supportive of my children’s ventures, whatever they may be. But, they have to learn how to shoulder their own responsibilities.
It is important that they be responsible people.
4. What are some of your upcoming projects.
I’ve some commercials to film and some movies to shoot but my main focus in 2016 is music. I’ll be releasing a mixed-language album.
There’s also a movie called Bong Ga Ding Ding Dong (Love Detective) that I filmed with Alex Fong Lik Sun. It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy.
These days, most film directors who come looking for me are casting for this sort of genre.
5. All of your movies roles are funny. Is comedy your preferred genre?
Well, it’s because I’ve not had much opportunity to try out other genres. Everybody is offering me comedic roles. I feel that it’s because I really like shooting comedies. They make me feel happy.
For a movie like Show Me Your Love – which is a tear-jerker – I’m in charge of bringing in the laughs. You need to have a bright side, to show how grim the dark side is. So, my role is to shine a bright light with lots of energy.
In comparison, this will reflect how the people of today have to face problems that make their lives so sad, tragic and complicated.
The message is strong: When you think you’ve got it all in control, there is one thing you can’t control, which is time.
So, when you choose to do one thing over another, you are making a sacrifice which means you will lose the other.
And, this is the problem that city folks face, when they choose to spend time on work, they end up neglecting their family.