Having ventured into the fashion scene as a model when she was only 16, Louise Wong has always been seen as a bonafide fashionista by her peers. When it was announced that she would play Hong Kong’s beloved Canto-pop legend Anita Mui in the highly-anticipated biopic Anita, the city was just as excited and nervous as she was. Through bringing the late singer’s spirit to life on screen, Wong touched the hearts of many who witnessed and lived through the glory days of Anita Mui. For Wong’s first Vogue cover and in celebration of Vogue Hong Kong’s third anniversary, we took the chance to revisit the unique beauty of our city through the lens of Wing Shya, penning a love letter to Hong Kong through fashion and photography.
This cover shoot pays tribute to local cinema. What does “Hong Kong cinema” mean to you?
I think Hong Kong is the pioneer of Asian cinema. Compared to other regions, Hong Kong cinema has matured in its early years and distinguished itself through different unique elements. Films and television productions from different eras have witnessed the development of Hong Kong, and over the past decade, local stories and issues close to people’s lives at home have been presented to the world, giving global audiences a chance to know Hong Kong better.
Which directors and actors have you always looked up to?
The directors I really admire include Wong Kar-wai, Wes Anderson and Hayao Miyazaki, and for actors, Natalie Portman and Tilda Swinton.
Were there any movies that had a profound impact on you growing up or made you want to become an actress?
I was focused on becoming an outstanding fashion model, so I never thought about being an actress. However, I’ve always loved watching movies and one that left a lasting impression on me as a child was Léon. What struck me most at the time was how young Natalie Portman turned her character’s negative emotions into strength, whether it was fear or the sadness she felt from losing her loved ones. From her character, I learnt that through discovering and feeling different emotions, actors can live all kinds of lives invented by screenwriters. I was intrigued by the industry then.
After playing legendary Hong Kong pop diva Anita Mui, what similarities do you think you share with her?
Actors need to find commonalities between themselves and their characters because it helps to bring them closer together. I think we both have bright personalities and we are both “older sisters” in the sense that we love to take care of people, but there are, of course, a lot of differences between us.
Was there anything you borrowed from Mui’s attitude in life?
Her determination to stay true to herself and her desire to improve — these aspects of her character touched me.
What should the people of Hong Kong learn from Anita Mui?
Her perseverance and indomitable spirit, of course. And her determination to pursue what she loves, her gratitude for those around her and her kindness to those who need help.
Were you ever worried about being stereotyped by your role as Anita Mui?
No. As an actor, you’d want to bring out different aspects of your character to the audience. In Hollywood films, actors even transform into a whole other person in terms of appearance and personality. I think this process is a bit “self-abusive”, but it is also very interesting, so I hope to continue to present my multi-faceted self to the audience.
Your audience has met Louise Wong on-screen, but what do you want people to know about Louise Wong off-screen?
I’m a person who strives to be versatile. Whether I’m shooting commercials or films, I always want to get something new out of it. I’ll keep being the “silly older sister” to everyone, so I hope people can feel my positive energy.
How have you adjusted to the sudden attention you’ve received from the success of your first film?
I think the success was a team effort and I’m very grateful for this role. I will always feel thankful because everything I’ve learnt from and felt in this film comprises an unforgettable page in my life.
As you venture further into acting, what kind of films or roles would you like to challenge yourself with? What else do you want to achieve in terms of modelling?
I will try to not limit myself, as long as it’s a meaningful script, I’m happy to take on any kind of role. As far as modelling is concerned, I think this photoshoot for VOGUE Hong Kong has helped me achieve an important milestone in my life. To be able to work with Sean Kunjambu and Wing Shya has been a dream of mine since I entered the modelling scene at 16.
Can you use three adjectives to describe Hong Kong?
“Belief” because Hong Kong is a city of strong beliefs; “hard work” because there are many people who are always striving for life and new opportunities, and lastly, “infinite possibilities” because anything can happen here as long as you’re willing to try.
What do you appreciate most about Hong Kong people?
Hong Kong people have always found a way to adapt to change. They will always try to find opportunities to pursue their passions and keep moving towards success.
Which three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
Simple, silly and hardworking.
You’ve been through ups and downs in your relationships, what keeps you believing in love?
I think everyone goes through ups and downs in life and love, so I have never given up on believing in love.
How do you define “happiness”? Can you share a recent moment in your life when you felt happy?
I think “happiness” depends on our mindset. Happiness to me is simply getting along with my partner. Being close to each other, watching a movie together, connecting spiritually and going through our peaks and troughs together — these are all happy moments.
If you could say one thing to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?
Work hard, don’t worry, and just be yourself!
If you could say one thing to yourself 20 years from now, what would it be?
Have you fulfilled your plans to travel the world? How many countries have you visited so far?
Translated by Kaitlyn Lai
Photography: Wing Shya
Fashion and Style Direction: Sean Kunjambu
Executive Producer: Alice Barg
Production Manager: Katherine Ho
Makeup Artist: Pinky Ku
Hair Stylist: Kolen But
Manicurist: Jasmine Chan
Model: Noise Wong
Makeup Artist for Noise: Vanessa Wong
Production House: Shyalala Workshop Ltd
Photography Assistants: Samuel Chan & Ka Ka Wai
Production Assistants : Abbie Tong & Nononino
Fashion Assistants: Foxla Chiu & Pianca Ngan
Cover Wardrobe: Louis Vuitton
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EditorVOGUE HONG KONG