Grace Wong revealed to Her World, who was here to meet fans as part of the line-up leading to Starhub's Night of Stars event, that she faced a culture shock after moving back to Hong Kong after 17 years in New York.
Her biggest struggle? Trying to understand the humour that the Hong Kongers appreciated. She recounts how she would be laughing heartily while watching American comedies at the cinema while her neighbours had little to no reaction. The opposite happens when she watches local comedies.
“People looked at us differently, felt that I carried myself as being too exaggerated and fake, and it took awhile for me, Grace, to find myself, what I am comfortable with and what I can adjust into the new culture I am in.”
This introspection however, helped Grace develop her role as Ophelia in the 2018 drama OMG, Your Honour. As though it paralleled real life, Shanghai-born Ophelia grew up in Guangzhou, studied abroad and ended up in Hong Kong.
While her own experiences helped with the role, Grace credited Ophelia as her most demanding role to date, “the most challenging part was trying to create a difference between Grace and Ophelia to the viewers. What would Ophelia do rather than what would Grace do?”
Despite these difficulties, Grace had been recognised for her acting chops with multiple award nominations and wins under her belt. Her most recognised character is Fa Man from the 2016 martial arts television drama A Fist Within Four Walls where she won the StarHub TVB Award for My Favourite TVB Female TV Characters.
Set in lawless and gangster-ridden Kowloon City of the 1960s, Fa Man is a Bajiquan master who uses her charms and looks to seek revenge against the people who killed her parents.
While one might think that an action-packed role that demanded a lot of martial arts training to be difficult to overcome, Grace shared that the actions were easier to remember than her lines because she learns better through motion.
Grace loved the role of Fa Man so much she named it her favourite, “it was so fun to create her - her look, hair and the makeup. The kung fu as well because I didn’t have past training. This role had a lot of ‘firsts’ and it was very exciting to me as an actress.”
But beyond her acting career, a quick scroll through her Instagram reveals how stylish and fresh she always looks. Perhaps, these elude to the fact that Grace, who got married to businessman Daniel Chang last year, was the first runner-up in the Miss Hong Kong pageant in 2007.
From her best-loved fashion brand to her favourite hotel and Hong Kong dish, we delved into Grace’s world. Take a peek:
“High-waisted anything. It helps hide the tummy, makes you sit straighter and elongates the legs.”
“I would say streetwear. I love designs who think outside the box and make street fashion sophisticated. I love those exercise pants with the trims at the side, and especially how this has evolved to dressier pants where you can dress with sneakers or heels. I just like how these pants don’t look too formal yet it looks tailored and flattering.”
“I love Balmain so much because they make women look so feminine yet so strong and edgy. I love their structure, layering and their craftsmanship. One of my favourite red carpet look to date was a Balmain outfit I wore to the Marie Claire Fashion Icon Award. I would love to meet Olivier Rousteing.”
Styling tip she swears by
“A styling tip I would give is to be conscious of where you part your hair. I am quite good with a middle part, so for bad hair days, I will just do a middle part, slicked-back look and it never goes wrong.
Finding a hairstyle that frames your face well will always guarantee that you look fresh and clean regardless of the outfit you are wearing or how you are feeling that day.”
Beauty product to look fresh
“I love treatment masks, especially those from Glamglow. They have different ones for different needs whether you need tightening or targetting breakouts.”
“I love InterContinental because they are a landmark, and they have very clean, modern designs. Good room service and spas are especially important for me, and they have them.”
Favourite dish in Hong Kong
“There’s so much good food in Hong Kong! But I love clams, so my favourite dish would be this razor clam-like dish, that is steamed with lots of garlic and topped with vermicelli. Super yummy and you can find them in big seafood restaurants at Sai Kung and Cheung Chau region.”
Catch TVB artistes at StarHub Night of Stars on Saturday, 22 December at Marina Bay Sands.