Sonija Kwok Felt Disheartened and Did Not Know What to Do
After winning the 1999 Miss Hong Kong title, Sonija Kwok (郭羨妮) was quickly recruited into the drama department at TVB. It was considered to be a lucky streak. Due to her personality, which was slow to warm to people, Sonija rarely mixed with crew members and heard numerous complaints. She felt disheartened, “I did not know what I wanted at the time. I considered leaving the entertainment industry.
“After winning the Miss Hong Kong title, I started acting in TVB series. My first drama was A Step in the Past <尋秦記>, which is still very popular in mainland China today. During filming I was not happy since it was my first time filming an ancient drama. My dialogue was very genteel and unsuitable for me. Fortunately, the veteran cast, such as Jessica Hsuan (宣萱), Kong Wah (江華), and Louis Koo (古天樂) took good care of me. We filmed in Hengdian and Mongolia. Perhaps due to my personality, which is slow to warm to people, I was not well acquainted with the rest of the cast. Many crew members and action choreographers asked whether I remembered that I used to hide in a corner, drawing pictures [during breaks]. It was very funny. Of course I will no longer do that now and will talk a lot more with the cast and crew!”
Learning From Past Experience
“As a new artist, each time the cameras started rolling on set, I was unable to breathe and felt immense pressure. I was afraid of being scolded by others. Some of the past complaints included, ‘What time are we getting off? That depends on Sonija!’ Of course, I was unhappy upon hearing such words. I do not know how to communicate that well with people and keep too many things inside myself. Now, of course I will not care what other people say. If someone were to say that to me now, I will ask him to clarify his statement and resolve the issue on the spot. I only learned how to handle such situations after many years’ of experience.”
Being Scolded by the Audience
In the past, I felt disheartened and considered giving up acting. I attempted to register for some classes. At the time, I did not know what I wanted to do. Was my personality not a good fit for the entertainment industry? It was quite curious, as many things seemed to pull me back into the industry. As a result, I never considered my path to be smooth; it was quite difficult in many aspects.
After A Step in the Past, I filmed Where the Legend Begins (洛神) and Perish in the Name of Love <帝女花>. The characters I portrayed in both series were despicable. The audience did not know who I was at that time, but my onscreen personas were deeply embedded in their brains. On the streets and in online forums, many people scolded me. When Where the Legend Begins was re-broadcast earlier, I was afraid to watch it; my face was quite horrendous. I told my manager that I did not wish to portray such despicable characters. Afterward, I did not act in any more evil roles. In recent years, I have acted in light-hearted series such as D.I.E. <古靈精探>.
Source: Oriental Daily
Jayne: My impression of Sonija as lacking confidence is again supported in this interview. Her description of drawing in a corner while filming on set of A Step in the Past illustrates how socially awkward she was when she first joined the industry. Perhaps she is more sociable with the cast and crew now.
Earlier, I asked why Sonija was not promoted more heavily at TVB despite her beauty. I think her personality makes it hard for people to get to know her well, including cast and crew and perhaps TVB management. Is a star born or made? Likely a bit of both. Sonija had the looks, but TVB did not put more muscle behind her to promote her to a higher status.
Perhaps due to lack of better communication skills, Sonija was relegated to despicable roles in Where the Legend Begins and Perish in the Name of Love. However, she was unable to face negative public sentiment after the series aired. Her request to not play any more despicable roles also prohibited her from honing her acting skills by playing more interesting characters. For several years, Sonija was indeed cast in many “vase-like” roles which have no distinctive edge.
In my opinion, Sonija does not seem to be able to deal with crisis well, although her social skills and understanding of herself may have improved over the years.
In recent articles, I came across the common theme of being unable to find one’s direction in life and failure to make work rewarding for oneself. Even celebrities frequently question whether they are suitable for their jobs, a question everyone asks in their 20s and 30s. This is a question and journey that leads to self-discovery, greater understanding of oneself, and hopefully self-content down the future. Understanding of oneself is truly empowering….
Once again, I am touched by Sonija’s candid interview with Oriental Daily. It takes courage to reveal all these fears and vulnerabilities before other people.