Sonija Kwok Felt Disheartened and Did Not Know What to Do

By on December 21, 2011 in NEWS, Star Interviews


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.

25 comments to Sonija Kwok Felt Disheartened and Did Not Know What to Do

  1. AC says:

    Things are so different now since it seems like everyone wants to play an evil character now. Sonija just had bad timing to play those characters a few years before it became the popular thing to do. lol

    It’s very interesting reading what went through her mind and the experiences she went through. Thanks for translating these Jayne!

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    • yen replied:

      so agree oohh!! she performed very well in 帝女花!!

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  2. lychii04 says:

    Interesting comment Jayne. I do feel bad because once upon a time I did not like her due to her earlier characters. Nor did I know that A Step Into the Past was her first series, she wasn’t bad in it! However, I do like her these days in her more light hearted dramas. I think its better for her too because she seems like she acts for the audience more than for a passion for acting so if people enjoy her acting, she will be happy. She does not strike me as an ambitious actress, although hardworking.

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  3. evieta says:

    i always have this saying “let bygones be bygones and i hope she will forget about those memories and focus on the future job and family. by the way, congratulation to sonija having a baby. and i agree that shee should film more roles like DIE, because i love her with roger, they’re so cute. i hope tvb will make a third one. anyone agree.

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  4. Funn Lim says:

    “Earlier, I asked why Sonija was not promoted more heavily at TVB despite her beauty.”

    I disagree. She was promoted, can’t define what is heavily. I believe her poor acting was a reason for not more heavily promoted and also audiences didn’t warm to her. The path to leading roles in TVB can also be taking evil roles. I feel she had her opportunities. Except her acting was just… terrible.

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    • Lacey replied:

      Sonija was promoted but somehow her involvements with various leading actors had tarnished her reputation. I do agree about her acting is not the greatest, I watched 7 days in Life this past summer, her acting certainly did not improve over the years. Take Fala for example, her acting skills improved year after year and she started her career after Sonija.

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      • nomad 822 replied:

        Agree. It wasn’t a matter of her not being promoted or recognized, but the scandals that had a negative effect on her career.

        If my memory is not wrong, Virginia Lok actually likes Sonia alot, and always tried to ‘smooth waters’ for her when her involvement with various actors (including married ones like Michale Tao Dai-yu) came to light. Virginia also introduced Sonia to church, or something.

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      • mito replied:

        is she linked to various actors? back in days, it was bad to get involve, but it is great to involve now, I guess it is really a different era

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      • lychii04 replied:

        I feel bad for her on this front. She seems like a romantic who is initially bold in love,esp her relationship with Deric Wan. I remember during that period it was a big deal to go public but she optimistically did so. Unfortunately that relationship didn’t last, and so I think she became more cautious to the point she was reluctant to clarify all rumours related to her, as well as media seeing her as a target. Nowadays, people are more open to rumours, even Fala who became more well known through rumours , but her reputation isn’t ‘tarnished’the way sonijas was

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    • Sammie replied:

      There are numerous Miss Hong Kong who could not act and were painful on the screen to watch, eg: Michelle Reis (Lee Ga Yan), Aimee Chan just to name a few but they were promoted heavily especially Michelle Reis. I’m taking a guess here, I think Sonija is pretty back in her hay days but she didnt have the personality that attracts fans.

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  5. Kidd says:

    Interestingly, my sister like Sonija after watching her in ‘Where the Legend Begins’. She’s still a Sonija fan after so many years.

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  6. mito says:

    Man, Sonijia totally can act man. Perish in the Name of Love . She is so awesome evil in that. Not anyone can pull that off. Wish her well for her family.

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    • Sammie replied:

      Hmmm, a person playing an evil character is never going to win lots of fans. Take Jackie Chan for an example, he never ever played a badie…He once was asked why he always played a “good guy” and never an “Evil person” in his movies. Jackie’s response was his fans hated seeing him act as a “bad guy” on the screen.

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  7. Jasmine says:

    I think I was one of those people who really disliked her onscreen characters in those series she mentioned…but doesn’t that mean she is really good at acting (those roles at least) to cause such ‘hatred’ towards her haha

    Have to admit though that her acting in seven days with Steven Ma was pretty boring but then it could be the character as I thought Steven Ma did a pretty bad job there too..

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  8. Sammie says:

    Could someone please tell me why the media is suddenly so interested in Sonija? I find her pretty and all but cannot stand reading about her. Some celebrities have lifestyles one wants to read about but others one cannot be bothered and Sonija is pretty dull and boring. She married a mainlander big deal.

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    • lychii04 replied:

      I think its a series of interviews. And Jayne chose to translate. Its fair to say if you don’t want to read, it is up to you as thr mouse is in your hand.

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  9. reader says:

    i love her acting in DIE and DIE again, she and roger made a sweet couple
    but her acting in gong was awful! She had a wooden expression all the time!

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  10. ping0 says:

    I didn’t think she was pretty in the beginning, still don’t think she is that pretty. And her acting is not the greatest and still is blah to me til this day. I always like villain rolls or mean girl rolls that’s how I begin to like my actors and actress anyways lol.

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    • Bambi replied:

      I think that that villian roles give me a lot more respect for an actor (like Bosco now) but I do think Sonija is really beautiful but in a more quietly sophisticated way. It’s a shame because those intricate roles could’ve made her a lot more respectable in the industry. It just shows that people are too quick to judge those in the public eye.

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    • exoidus replied:

      Yeah me too. Never found her to be pretty, however she got prettier with time.

      Her acting skill is still only average but that is the case for almost every artist in TVB these days.

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  11. Yina says:

    well i dont wanna play psychologist here but i’m just gonna take her for what she says.

    i like her in D.I.E. though. but i don’t like the way she talks. it’s a bit stressed and not smooth.

    does anyone know what im talking about?

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  12. elin says:

    i actually do enjoy watchng her… but shes a bit on the boring side…

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  13. Addy says:

    Interestingly, the dramas mentioned in the article are also some of my favorite works by Sonija, lol. She played very, very memorable villain roles.

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  14. Pinky says:

    OMG, i remember watching “Where the Legends begin” and loving Ada and Mosees couple soooo much. but her character has to come in between them!
    that time, i hated her soooo much! like A LOT!!! LOOL, AHAHHA! GOOD TIMES!

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  15. JJ says:

    I disagree with your analysis to some extent. I think Sonija was quite heavily promoted in the beginning of her career – she led multiple series…when she did play second lead roles, they were in series where big TVB stars like Ada Choi, Flora Chan (Family Man), and Charmaine Sheh that were billed first lead.
    You also have to remember that during her time period, TVB had A LOT of popular and big artists still…it’s not quite like the current situation!

    I felt TVB valued her less after she started filming in Mainland – subsequently artists like Kate Tsui and Bernice Liu had larger roles than her in the same series (When Lanes Merge, Greatness of a Hero).

    For me, I don’t think not taking on despicable characters had a negative impact on Sonija. She became a lot more popular and I began to like her. Her roles in series like DIE, The Last Breakthrough and even When Lanes Merge were very likeable and she acted well.
    Furthermore, she said she didnt want DESPICABLE characters, but she still took on roles that were not entirely goody-2-shoes- ie Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion.

    When you said she was casted in many vase-like roles, what came to mind for you exactly? I usually see her in stronger roles ie Angels of Mission, Land of Wealth, On the First Beat etc

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