Last year, Myolie Wu (胡杏兒 ) won the TVB Best Actress Award for her performance in Curse of the Royal Harem <萬凰之王>. For the career-minded Myolie, winning the TV Queen title was not her ultimate goal, but rather marked the beginning of a new chapter in her life. After 12 years, Myolie finally received public acknowledgment [of her acting]. She vowed to work hard to repay the audience’s support, while thanking TVB executive, Tommy Leung (梁家樹), and Producer Poon Ka Tak (潘嘉德) for granting her opportunities. In 2006, nominated for her role in To Grow With Love <肥田囍事)>, Myolie lost in the Best Actress race despite being one of the initial favorite contenders. Fortunately, boyfriend, Bosco Wong (黃宗澤), attentively comforted her, allowing Myolie to emerge from this difficult period in her life.
Grateful Towards Father
Myolie was extremely grateful towards her father in sending her two sisters and herself to study abroad in Belfast, Ireland. Since Mr. Wu was a civil servant in Hong Kong, his children received the benefit to study abroad. In Myolie’s mind, her father deserved a lot of respect. He loved to read books and was currently enrolled in a Translation Studies program in university. In his spare time, he utilized the dictionary heavily to perfect his fluent English skills. Mr. Wu was interested in continuous self-improvement. In this aspect, Myolie was influenced by her father’s hard-working ethics, making her realize that hard effort was required in accomplishing her goals.
In a Constant State of Anxiety
Myolie only studied for several years in high school in Ireland. Due to living overseas, Myolie’s perspective in life was broadened, increasing her independence. Since her father possessed a traditional Chinese personality and kept his feelings internalized, it was difficult to outwardly display their love for each other. Initially in the interview, Myolie only spoke of her father. Upon prodding, Myolie revealed that her parents had divorced when she was 8 years old, after which the 3 Wu daughters lived with their father. When Myolie’s mother was 24 years old, she gave birth to her first daughter and subsequently, two more daughters every two years. Perhaps too young at the time of marriage and motherhood, Myolie’s mother did not have enough fun in life yet and was unable to sustain the marriage.
“Ten years later, when I was 18 years old, I saw my mother again.” Reserved in speaking about her family situation, Myolie said, “I had studied abroad during my teenage years; furthermore, young children cannot understand adult matters. Under my elder sister’s arrangement, I was able to meet my mother again.” After years of separation, Myolie did not possess any special feelings upon seeing her mother; the meeting felt as if it took place between strangers. Mother and daughter see each other frequently now; her mother would go to Myolie’s house to prepare soup for her.
Myolie’s parents often argued in front of their 3 young daughters. After divorcing, perhaps Mr. Wu was upset and thus did not like to bring up the girls’ mother in conversations. Myolie said, “Initially, I was afraid to even mention my mother and we were not allowed to see her. If I violated this rule, it was as if I had committed a great sin! After growing up, I realized that there was no need for my parents to have ended their marriage on such a poor note. Divorce was not a big deal.”
Growing up in a single-parent family, Myolie stated that she did not possess any sweet childhood memories. There were no incidents where the entire family went out to have fun together. Her elder sister got married and have 3 children. Witnessing her sister’s family when they were together, everyone very warm and happy. Myolie said, “My sister is very protective of her children. Perhaps she did not want her children to experience what she had in her own childhood.”
Parents’ discord resulted in the emotional scarring of a person’s childhood. It was a painful experience and gave the child a lot of stress. “I could only force myself to grow up [quickly]. Although I also suffered reverberations of my parents’ divorce, my eldest sister was impacted the most. As a result, I developed an extremely high alertness level in protecting myself well.” Myolie became less cheerful and more sensitive, often in a state of anxiety. Possessing this type of personality, it was even more painful to work in the entertainment industry.
Myolie did not carry any ounce of blame towards her father, instead possessing only gratitude upon realization that her father had worked very hard to raise his daughters and send them to school in Ireland. Mr. Wu straddled a great deal of responsibility upon his shoulders, why would Myolie discredit his efforts? “He tried so hard to ensure that my sisters and I received a good education. This is already very important!”
Similar to the scenario found in dramas, Myolie’s mother warned her three young daughters to not address her as “Mother” in public. Myolie’s mother often went out with her female friends and was nowhere to be found by her family. Did the girls have to worry about their mother and where she went? Myolie said, “I learned how to take care of myself at a young age. There was no need for me to cook, but I learned how to clean the laundry. Growing up under such circumstances, it was impossible to develop a ‘Princess Attitude’ in life. Instead, I became very tough!”
Studying in Ireland
Studying in Belfast, Ireland was also a defining experience that trained Myolie’s perseverance. Living abroad as a young teenager, Myolie did not know anything and was faced with prejudice. “Arriving in another country, my English skills were weak, how was it possible to communicate with other people? I remember that I was very poor at the time. It took me 3 years before I was able to catch up in my English!”
At Myolie’s school in Ireland, her living and food arrangements were provided. “However, the money for extracurricular activities was not included.” During her summer vacation, Myolie returned to Hong Kong in which she found a job at a restaurant as a juvenile worker, escorting customers to their tables and giving them their dining tabs. While working, Myolie thought to herself why she was servicing other people and not the other way around? If Myolie were to work 20 days at more than $100 HKD per day, she would earn over $2,000 HKD. Exchanging into approximately $200 British pounds, this would provide for half a year of her expenditures while studying abroad.
Myolie recounted living in a small town while studying in Belfast, Ireland, “It would take 15 minutes of driving to go through the entire town. In order to save bus money, I would walk to the town center in the middle of the cold wintry weather. I only ate French fries because they cost one British pound. Adding fried fish filet would cost $5 British pounds, which I could not afford.” During those years, Myolie did not own a down coat, thus she was chilled to the bones. Although the town did not have a Chinatown, it did have a Chinese restaurant. When her friends asked her to have dim sum with her, Myolie did not have money but she still joined her friends. If she were to eat with them, she would have to pay over $10 British pounds, thus she would claim that she already ate elsewhere.
Joining Miss Hong Kong Pageant On A Whim
Money could not buy a poor experience in one’s youth. With her poor youth, Myolie learned to cherish things in life. Realizing that her father already tried his best in paying for her education, Myolie did not ask her father for additional money. After completing high school, her grades were quite good. She was accepted by several universities’ Pharmacy programs in the United Kingdom. Myolie said, “I wanted to become a doctor, however I did not get straight A’s in my grades. Thus, I applied for the Pharmacy programs despite knowing that my family had no money to pay my tuition. If I were to attend university in the United Kingdom for 4 years, the tuition would cost $1 million HKD, without factoring in dormitory and food costs yet!”
Without the proper funds, Myolie enrolled in Hong Kong University to study Biology. At the time, her father had just retired and Myolie did not want him to find a job as a security guard to pay for her education. “Many things in life seem to be pre-arranged. My friend in school applied for the Miss Hong Kong pageant. I enjoy singing and had performed in my school drama club. I worked as a model to earn side income. However, I never considered entering the Miss Hong Kong pageant. My friend asked me to go with her, thus I bought high heels and a swimsuit last minute to enter the pageant.
“I was afraid to tell my family that I had applied for the Miss Hong Kong pageant, until I was selected as one of the official contestants. My father was conservative and insisted that I complete school before entering the contest. Fortunately, my stepmother, who was Japanese and was more open-minded, supported my decision. I was selected as a contestant in April/May while my university exams were in June.” Weighing her options continuously in her mind as to whether she should participate in the pageant, which posed a low chance in winning, Myolie wondered whether she should waste her one year of studies at Hong Kong University. “Finally, I thought of a solution. I went to my professors and told them that I intended to participate in the Miss Hong Kong pageant. I begged them to allow me to take the final exams early.” Her professors, who were from overseas, agreed to allow Myolie to fulfill her dreams and requested that she not reveal the examination questions to the other students.
After Myolie became the second runner-up in the 1999 Miss Hong Kong Pageant, Hong Kong University kept her grades active for one year. When she started filming dramas, she officially withdrew her enrollment status. After working, she started earning a salary. As a student, she did not have high expectations for her salary. Realizing her weaknesses during filming, Myolie could only continue to learn from each of her costars. Filming day and night, there was an occasion in which Myolie only slept ten minutes [in one day] and three hours within a six-day period.
Risking her life at the job, Myolie no longer need to be concerned about the days of having no money. Requiring a basic lifestyle, she did not love buying designer brands or especially expensive clothes. Possessing the financial strength to invite her elder sister to live with her, Myolie’s motivation to earn money stems from the desire to not lack money in her life. Realizing that money does not mean everything, money can buy one moment of happiness, but not necessarily everyone’s acknowledgment, which was especially important in the entertainment industry. If the audience were to disapprove of her acting, then the results would be undesirable.
Sister Is An Understanding Confidante
“I have returned to Ireland with two of my friends, changing flights in London. The London airport is very lively and each time, I will pass a restaurant which serves caviar and seafood. In the past, I did not have money to purchase such items, now I can enjoy them anytime, shop in London and stay at the most expensive hotel in Belfast, which cannot be compared to the basic past hotels I stayed at. At the time, I wanted to stay at such high class hotels for the experience.”
When Myolie approached a bottleneck in her career, her elder sister served as her confidante. She was a very understanding listener, who had studied psychology. Since Myolie’s sister experienced an unhappy childhood, she tried very hard to help others attain balance and happiness in their lives.
“Bosco Wong Complements My Life”
Accepting the 2011 TVB Best Actress Award from Francis Ng (吳鎮宇) and Patrick Tse ( 謝賢), Myolie cried tearfully, while publicly thanking boyfriend, Bosco Wong. She stated, “I know that I have many faults, but so do you! However, I hope that we can continue to support each other.”
Myolie and Bosco have dated for 7 years, maintaining an underground relationship all along. Dating secretly, Myolie was often very alert, scanning her surroundings carefully to make sure she was not photographed, “I am rarely photographed by the paparazzi!”
Due to their secret romance, Myolie and Bosco had to be extremely careful when meeting. While filming To Grow With Love <肥田囍事>, Myolie experienced a difficult period in her life, causing her personality to become more extreme. “When I gained weight for my role in To Grow With Love, he (Bosco) said I was quite intolerable. It is as if I had to face a difficult obstacle and did not know if I can handle it.” Former TVB executive, Stephen Chan (陳志雲), even suggested that a production crew follow Myolie around everyday to film a reality show on her weight gain, which can be used as a promotional tactic.
“After filming for one day, I was very stressed out and cried in front of the camera. Although I had to eat non-stop to gain weight for my role in To Grow With Love, I had no appetite.” Bosco Wong completely understood Myolie’s psychological dilemma and was very gentle towards her. Cooking noodles for her to eat, Bosco also provided emotional comfort to Myolie.
Bosco Left an Initial Poor Impression Upon Myolie
Myolie and Bosco met on the set of Triumph in the Skies <衝上雲宵>. The first impression that Bosco gave Myolie was not a good one. Myolie thought that he frequented night clubs and was not faithful to his girlfriend. She felt that he was not a good man, in which she said to herself, “This is definitely not my cup of tea!”
When it time to film in War of In-Laws <我的野蠻奶奶>, Bosco had just started leading TVB dramas. In Myolie’s mind, she thought that Bosco would only be focused on playing and not working hard. However, her initial judgment was wrong, “It turned out that he was very hard working and adapted quickly! He also possessed another good quality, in which he was very respectful towards elders. Aside fromLiza Wang (汪明荃), Bosco was also respectful towards Peter Lai (黎彼得) and Wong Ching (王青). He put in a lot of effort during filming and was not late to work. He was also good in his martial arts scenes. Slowly, my impression of Bosco changed….”
Working Hard Because of Family
Myolie and Bosco were afraid that if they were to admit that they were involved in a relationship, TVB would think that they prioritized dating and not their work. Since it was a trend to keep romances underground in the industry, Myolie and Bosco felt that the only way was to date secretly. However, this was the wrong mentality. Myolie was 32 years old and Bosco was 31 years old; it was perfectly understandable to date.
When Myolie was a teenager, she thought that she will never get married due to her parent’s divorce causing emotional scars in her childhood. She felt there was no guarantee in marriage and witnessed many couples divorcing despite being married for a decade. Encountering a person she can trust and a suitable marriage partner, Myolie’s perspective has changed. If she were to get married in the future, Myolie will definitely have children, which was an inevitable part of life. “Two people have to be very sure about their love for each other. No matter what happens, they have to face the problems together and work hard for the family they have created!”
If Myolie had any emotional problems, she was the type of person who needed to discuss all the issues out in the open. On the other hand, Bosco did not like to discuss his problems. Myolie said cheerfully, “When he does not talk about the problems, I will force him to do so!”
Bosco possessed a cheerful personality that was able to withstand the “sky falling down.” Due to Bosco’s influence, Myolie became happier and her perspective in life has changed as well. Myolie possessed an alert and careful tendency. “Since our personalities are different, we are able to remind and complement each other!”
Source: Ming Pao Weekly
Jayne: A very introspective interview on Myolie Wu’s childhood. I sense that there was a lot of loneliness in her childhood and perhaps teenage years when she was studying in Ireland. Yet many people thought Myolie was a cheerful person in real life due to her bright smile and romantic comedy roles.
Myolie sounds immensely happy in having found Bosco in her life. Perhaps together, Myolie can find some of that missing happiness lost in her childhood….or create happier ones for their kids down the road?