Josie Ho: Lady Josephine, singer, actress, and badminton pro

by W. Andrew Powell
Josie Ho

Josie Ho has quite a few titles, and each of them is more impressive than the last. She’s a musician, a fashion trendsetter, an actress, a film producer, and most recently she was knighted this summer in Italy as Lady Josephine courtesy of Prince Stephan of Montenegro.

Between her new title, and her latest film, Full Strike, where she plays a tempestuous badminton champion, it’s been a busy year for Ms. Ho.

Produced through her company, 852 films, Full Strike has been touring the film festival circuit and recently played the 2015 Montreal International Fantasia Film Festival, not to mention Switzerland’s 15th Annual Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) where it won the honour of Best Asian Film Award. Full Strike also unspooled at Osaka’s 2015 Asian Film Festival, the 2015 New York Asian Film Festival, and premiered in Hong Kong in the summer.

Of course, Ms. Ho might would also be recognizable from her role in the Tribeca Films suspense thriller Open Grave, directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, where she starred opposite Sharlto Copley and Joseph Morgan.

In 2011, Ms. Ho appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, opposite Matt Damon, Marion Cottilard, and Gwenyth Paltrow.

And she’s known for numerous other films, including the sex comedy, Naked Ambition 3D.

But, Ms. Ho has a long list of other honours. Forbes listed her as one of the 20 Most Intriguing Billionaire Heiresses, she’s known as a trendsetter in Asia, last year she was a VIP guest to Chanel & Elie Saab at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, and she even has a handbag line; Mata Hari.

Recently, I had the chance to ask Ms. Ho about her latest film, the honour of being named Lady Josephine, and even what it was like filming the badminton scenes in Full Strike. Read the full interview below, and undoubtedly you can watch for her in more projects very soon.

Question: Tell us a bit about your character in Full Strike. How does she fit into this story?

Josie Ho: “My character in Full Strike is a very interesting one. Her name is ‘Beast Ng’ and she is a former 7-year-champion of professional badminton. She was banned from competition because of her temper, so naturally she is very insulted by this. She then gives up on herself and only her brother is willing to hire her for work as a helper at his restaurant. This leads to ‘Beast Ng’ gaining a lot of weight because she is very lazy about the work… that is until gets the chance to play badminton again and redeem herself.”

“She finds this opportunity through meeting a group of unexpected and funny teammates — all ex-convicts free from prison — a gang of four, but very kind hearted people. The movie is an underdog comedy badminton experience! You must watch it! I cannot tell you anymore, but it’s a fun movie with guaranteed laughs!”

Q: The film has been playing around the world at numerous festivals and events — including recently here in Canada at last month’s Montreal International Fantasia Film Festival — and will open in Japan later this year. What have the reactions been like for your character and the film overall?

Josie Ho: “Yes, thank you for asking. Prior to screening during the recent Montreal International Fantasia Film Festival, Full Strike had won the Best Asian Film Award at Switzerland’s 15th Annual Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival… and we are still traveling around taking the film to other festivals with hopes to share more of this Hong Kong style of comedy with audiences from all over.”

“The film’s directors Derek Kwok and Henri Wong, along with one of our cast-members Susan Siu took it to Japan as an Official Selection of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2015 where the audience loved it. Attendees even stood up and clapped for some of our jokes. And yes, Full Strike will open in Japan soon, we are excited about that. Our whole cast will go to Tokyo to promote the film!”

Q: On a less serious note, how did you find the badminton portion of the film? Are you any good at the sport?

Josie Ho: “I actually did play badminton when I was in junior school and high school as part of the school’s team. I don’t wanna put too much emphasis on it, but when I was in high school at Canada’s Ridley College, I played in the female doubles and had won Champion of Ontario. So playing badminton in Full Strike wasn’t too hard for me. The movie also provided us with a badminton coach by the name of Ling Yuen Ting. She was on the professional Hong Kong Team and trained all of us for an entire month before we started shooting the film.”

Q: Considering your skills singing and acting, do you ever find it challenging to focus on one talent over another? Do you have any aspirations to do North American-style musical?

Josie Ho: “I do sing and act, but I can’t tell which one I favour more… maybe singing. I have a rock & roll band called Josie and the Uni Boys. Our album that came out at the end of last year is called ‘The Electrifying Supernatural Lady Land.’ Just the other night our band received three honours at the Metro Radio Guoyuli Awards 2015… we won Metro Radio Best Asia Rock Band, Metro Radio Album of the Year and Metro Radio Guoyuli Song for one of our singles titled “Johnny Depp.” I can only say that I’m very lucky and thankful to everyone who supports my music and my acting. I wish one day to have a chance to play in North American music festivals.”

Q: Finally, what can you tell us about the honour of being named Lady Josephine in Italy?

Josie Ho: “It was an honour to be knighted as a Lady Josephine from Montenegro. It was such a fun experience to have met with so many interesting people from all over the world… especially meeting with his Royal Highness Prince Stephan of Montenegro. I learned a lot of things from everyone!”

Q: What does that mean to you, and what was the experience like?

Josie Ho: “When I was bestowed this honour in Italy, it goes without saying that it was a very special moment. The ceremony was held at a beautiful villa in Santa Margherita Ligure. Twenty of my friends and family came to the ceremony, so we all had a super fun time! The villa was beautiful!”

Josie and the Uni Boys
Josie and the Uni Boys

Watch the trailer for Full Strike:

Synopsis: Full Strike is a Hong Kong comedy which tells the story of ‘Beast Ng’ (Josie Ho), a fearless badminton champion who has been disqualified due to her notorious temper. The washed-up champ then joins a ragtag badminton team made up of ex-cons looking to use the sport to redeem their criminal pasts. The project also stars Andrew Lam, Ronald Cheng, Ekin Cheng, Wilfred Lau, Edmond Leung and Susan Shaw, co-directed by Derek Kwok and Henri Wong.

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