Mandy Wong Is Not Aggressive Enough

When it comes to the next generation of rising Hong Kong television stars, the TVB Most Improved winner Mandy Wong (黃智雯) is definitely someone we should all look for. Arguably one of the biggest breakout stars last year, Mandy ended 2012 with a few critical successes – winning Astro’s My Favorite Promising Actress and TVB’s Most Improved Actress for her performance as the stingy housewife, Lau Siu Lan in the drama L’Escargot <缺宅男女>.

Mandy may have received the most acclaim from acting critics, but her exposure rate is notably much lower than fellow TVB newcoming actresses, Christine Kuo (苟芸慧) and Eliza Sam (岑麗香), who both lost out to Mandy for the Most Improved Actress award. Christine and Eliza are not only part of Hong Kong’s new generation of goddesses, but also very popular among casting agents. This is something Mandy knows she must learn.

“I must learn to be aggressive,” Mandy sighed.

From Dancer to Flight Attendant

Born in 1982, Mandy was raised in a public apartment building in San Po Kong. Without a father, Mandy was raised by her mother, grandmother, and aunt. “I would be unhappy whenever it is Parent-Teacher Conference day. My classmates will always bring both father and mother to the conference. How come I can’t? It is something that I eventually accepted, and slowly, I became fine with it. It actually isn’t much of a big deal. Without fatherly love, I still had the love of my grandmother. I don’t even need to bear hatred for my father. I have learned one thing from my parents though, and that is this: choose wisely.”

Mandy used to watch Michael Jackson’s music videos and concerts on laser discs when she was younger. She fell in love with dancing, and even before her high school graduation, Mandy planned to enroll in the dancing department of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts accepted Mandy’s application, in which she applied for a major in musical dance. But after years of study, Mandy suddenly took an indefinite leave from college to apply to work as a stewardess.

“I did not regret it, and I do not think that I wasted my time. I had many unforgettable experiences in my time as a stewardess. But I was capricious. On summer vacation, I saw an ad from an airline in hiring stewardesses. Since they get to earn money with free vacations, I decided to apply. It is actually a very relaxing job. The pay is not bad, and if I continued with it, I would be living a life without worries.

“But sometimes, when the night is dark and the lights are off, I would look around the dark surroundngs of the airplane cabin and think to myself – why am I being so indolent? Every time I fly to New York or fly to London, I would think about applying to dance classes. Why was I still in the air?”

After two years working as a stewardess, Mandy finally decided to quit her job and return to her studies at the academy. She studied theatrical acting, but stage actors rarely get the success they deserve in Hong Kong.

“That’s when I decided to audition for Miss Hong Kong. With the educational background I had, I would not have much of a future if I don’t join the competition. In the last round, I was praying that I would not win the crown. I wanted to become an actress. I don’t want to be committed to other things.”

The Truth in Breaking Up with the Perfect Boyfriend

Before auditioning for Miss Hong Kong, Mandy had a stable boyfriend of four years. Mandy smiled as she recalled her first time meeting her boyfriend.

“When I first met him, I was still working as a flight attendant. I was working on a flight from Hong Kong to Singapore. Sitting in the first row was a young man. He was wearing a nicely tailored suit, sleek black hair… he looked exactly like Richard Gere. When the plane was landing, I sat across from him. I could not control myself from shaking – it was as if I was electrified.

“I noticed that he was scribbling on a small piece of paper. At first I thought it was because he wanted to get to know me, but in the end, he left his seat without turning back.”

But like many Hollywood romances, another man slipped that piece of paper into Mandy’s hand. They met up, and the budding romance began.

“He told me he was too shy to give me his email up front,” Mandy said with a smile.

Mandy broke up with her boyfriend soon after she auditioned for Miss Hong Kong. Mandy told the press that the reason for her breakup was because she wanted to concentrate all her efforts on filming, that she did not have enough time for dating. But was this all true?

“Actually, in the end, I knew there was a third party [in the relationship]. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It’s already been many years. I don’t want to affect him negatively.”

On recalling her breakup with her boyfriend again, Mandy said, “An artist and a businessman – how is communication possible? In the past, there would be times when we would not say anything to each other when we go out to eat together. We didn’t think we had problems, but after breaking up, I felt I’ve liberated myself. After all, his family viewed the acting industry with colored lenses. That just gave me more of an excuse to push myself into the industry, to support all actresses.”

Exposure Is Not Enough

Mandy first attracted the attention of Hong Kong viewers in 2009’s A Chip Off the Old Block <巴不得爸爸…>, where she portrayed Myolie Wu’s (胡杏兒) bespectacled younger sister, So Fung Lin. Mandy grabbed some headlines after the broadcast of 2010’s Suspects in Love <搜下留情>. Mandy finally achieved critical claim after 2012’s L’Escargot.

“Every once in a while, I would hit the news. But I understand that mere exposure is not enough.  One year at an awards ceremony, I was hired to perform as a cheerleader. After watching seniors such as Wong Cho Lam (王祖藍) and Kate Tsui (徐子珊) walking the red carpet, I vowed to myself that I would be next in line to walk the red next year. But I waited year after year. I am happy that the audience is praising me for my performances, but what does this represent? In the past, I didn’t think there would be a need for promotion; just concentrate all my work on filming. If I had to wear anything too ceremonious or sexy, I get scared.”

Mandy explained that sometimes, it is not too good to go low-profile. If you want to achieve success in the entertainment industry, this is the lesson you must learn – promote yourself. Show off yourself. Doing well in a role is just not enough. Mandy has learned.

“I remain committed to my craft, and I will continue to better myself. I want the audience to know that my success is well-earned.”


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. ““I must learn to be aggressive,” Mandy sighed.”

    And she will probably morph into Tavia, like selling her soul to TVB and thus losing even that shred of her personality.

    However it is good to have ambition. I just hope she also has much aspirations in improving her acting. I still see Mandy everytime I see her act.

    1. I beg to differ. Tavia still has her unique charm and quirky/tomboy-ish personality she had back in the days.

    2. I think differently as well…Tavia’s personality is well and truly there LOLOL.I don’t see how she ‘lost’ her personality in any way because she supposedly signed a long term contract with TVB. As for Mandy, Signing her so-called life and soul away to TVB would not mean she is going to lose her personality…..

      I dont understanding your reasonings at all lmao.

      1. You will probably have many more troubles understanding all her other reasonings.

    3. Of coz, difficult to understand. She did say that 170cm Karen Mok is little, and small sized and short, LOL

      1. LOL. WHAT? Who said that? How did I miss that one? Karen Mok is known to be tall. She may have turned a bit skeleton but that only has to do with width…not length.

      2. I met Karen Mok and unless she has a growth spurt, she is NOT 170cm. And she is petite, tiny even. Do you believe every cm posted in their official blog? Then I am afraid you will be severely disappointed when you meet them in person, like just that 10 steps away.

      3. Were you standing next to her? Or were you also someone who was 10 steps away? Are you over 6ft coupled with over 170lbs of fat then I don’t see how she is short. She is at least five feet 6. I’ve stood next to her before without heels and I’m five feet eight with a couple cm to spare. She is not short. I don’t know what you consider tall but five feet 6 is pretty above average for a asian woman. The only people who I’ve caught lying on their profile about their heights are korean stars/idols. Chinese/Taiwanese/rest of the asian population not so much. They’re pretty much on point. But you are right that she is skinny, not short.

      4. Nope at least I saw no heels on those flats. Maybe half an inch but def no more than one inch. She is really really skinny though…thus maybe she looks tiny from afar.

      5. Funn:
        You must be a very tall person. I remembered that you said Raymond Lam, Ron Ng, Bosco Wong, and Ruco Chan were all shorter than 5’8″. They should be 5′ 7″ the most. Even Kenneth Ma should be no more than 5′ 9″. My hubby and our son are 5′ 9″+, so I can usually tell if a person is 5′ 9″ or not. I don’t think the above-mentioned actors are shorter than 5′ 8″. They declared that they are 5′ 9″, and I think they should be between 5′ 8″ and 5′ 9″. Kenneth Ma’s height is 183 cm. (as per his Blog), i.e. 6.00394 ft. I agree. He looks at least 5′ 11″.

        Myolie Wu and Linda Chung are fairly tall for Chinese. Myolie and Linda should be around 5′ 7″ or 5′ 8″, and you said they cannot be taller than 5′ 5″. Well, it may be harder to tell a lady’s height because of her high-heeled shoes. But they still look taller than 5′ 6″.

        Next time when you see an artiste, try to stand next to them, you will be able to tell his/her actual height then.

      6. I searched Karen Mok on Google. Her height is 167 cm, or 5′ 5.74″ (or approx. 5′ 6″). If she is 5′ 6″, she is not a petite at all. According to Canadian standards, a petite should be under 5′ 4″, and as per Asian standards, a petite should be no more than 5′ 2″. Most Chinese girls are under 5′ 4″.

      7. Kenneth ma should be 6 feet. He is tall. Bosco should be around there as well maybe a tad shorter than kenneth perhaps a few cm or half an inch. Sammuel chan is somewhere there too. Raymond lam should be around 5’9 maybe 5’10. Im 5’9..and hes taller than me or maybe it was the leveling…nonetheless tall haha. Ron ng is the shortest in this lot but should be at least 5’9. Myolie is known to be tall back in her pageant days….linda should be around karen mok’s height.

      8. Kenneth Ma is about 5 9 to 5 10 but not 6 feet. I was next to him.

        The actresses you mentioned is 5 6 at most, minus heels. If they’re 5 9 then they’re Nicole Kidman’s height which is impossible. The actors you mentioned except Kenneth is max 5 8 and no more. They’re rather short in that sense but well proportionate. I am not tall but I am under no illusion there is a misconception of these actors’ height. When I see a tall one I say he is tall and Kenneth is tall, for a Chinese man. They are all also very slim hence the illusion of height. Long legs, etc.

      9. Now I am confused because I met ray at his concert backstage and snapped photos with him. I am five nine. He was not wearing heels and he is definitely taller that being said…he is clearly well over five eight. Now when you compare these men using ray as a benchmark…kenneth and bosco and sammuel are all taller than ray. Ron is close to rays height……so yes theyre tall.

      10. I think the actors whom I have mentioned should be 5′ 9″. They look 5′ 9″ to me, except Kenneth Ma. Kenneth should be close to 6′.

      11. Myolie Wu and Linda Chung should be at least 5′ 7″.

      12. I’ve met Steven Ma on four different occasions and he is around 5’7″. If you Google Linda Chung and Steven Ma, its clear that Linda is about 2″ shorter than him. There is no way Linda is 5’7″. She’s 5’5″ max.

    4. I disagree. Have you seen Tavia during her interviews? She’s quirky/blunt/tomboyish – definitely not the cookie-cutter HK girl.

  2. “Mandy explained that sometimes, it is not too good to go low-profile. If you want to achieve success in the entertainment industry, this is the lesson you must learn – promote yourself. Show off yourself. Doing well in a role is just not enough. Mandy has learned.”

    This is so damn right!

    1. Totally agree.

      A lot of support artistes are excellent in their acting skills and acting their roles very well, but they still are not popular or paid well.

  3. It’s so right you have to promote yourself especially if you lack talent. Like I didn’t know when the goddesses title popped up, over exaggerated in my opinion. Her acting is good but it seems tvb values less of talent nowadays, hence the politics and the subpar performances … Tvb dramas lost their magic touch a long time ago. Sad sad…

    1. Just to add, I meant she’s the most talented actress out of the bunch of so called goddesses. Christine has the look but can’t speak canto period and I have no idea how Eliza got popular overnight (was it for that heing heung character?) but her canto is better than Christine. Lets look for improvements this year.

      I think there’s a trend in nicknames or character names to promote themselves:

      Christine – goddess or 9th gu Leung
      Eliza – another goddess
      Linda – pure innocent Bb??
      Michael tse – laughing gor
      Raymond – chok man
      Wcl lsj louis – fok luk sau
      Wayne – how many 10 years do we have in a lifetime? (Golden phrase)

      1. I do agree that she is 1 of the talented actress compared to Christine Kuo and Eliza .Hope to see her in more drama 🙂

  4. I like how this interview shows how she is pragmatic – she knows the rules of the game and not like those holier-than-thou idealists.

  5. Love Mandy…hope she has more opportunity in drama, show…yea she sing good too…hope she can be successfull in this industry!!

  6. She is good, like her acting

    What role you guys thinks she act the BEST ?

  7. She will definitely make it to the top one day – I think she’s like SherenTang – very good actress.

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