it’s been sunny all week and last saturday started spitting a bit when i was on my way to meet Raven Tao for a chat. i was super glad to have met her as she’s such a sunshine! brighten the day =)
photo by Earl Wan
frankly, before we met, i was doing some research about her, and discovered that she’s everywhere! often seen on beauty ads, she’s very elegant, with an angel’s face. flawless. i was a bit worried as she looks a bit quiet, and might not talk much… but i felt slightly better when i saw her hosting Fox Movies Premium, she can be quite fun! check out some of the videos here
Raven’s previously a radio dj, fashion model, an onscreen host for HBO, AXN… now that’s what i mean, everywhere! ok now, below are a few questions (slightly more personal… i know you guys would like to know!) we chatted about
G – Grace
R – Raven
G: Where are you originally from?
R: Hong Kong is home for me, though I’m English-Polish/Chinese-Nepalese and grew up in Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
G: You have been a Radio DJ, TV presenter, actress, and a fashion model. Have you already made up your mind to be in the public when you were young? How did it all start?
R: When I was twelve I knew I wanted to be in real estate but never imagined I’d fall into entertainment. As a lanky, chatty and precocious bookworm, I was mostly interested in science and literature. An entertainment career path isn’t a clear one, although I’ve observed that it oftens arrives at the doorsteps of those adventurers who are eager to craft their work out of ideas and dreams and am happy to have discovered myself one of this kind.
**Raven started modeling at 17 in HK, just because of a promise she made to her friend when she was 12, when her friend asked her that she must be a model at some point!
G: Which role do you enjoy the most so far? Why?
R: Tough question! I’ve enjoyed the challenges unique to each experience but would have to say that the very opportunity of being involved in such diverse creative processes has been best of all.
G: Being a public media personality, you might always be dressed according to specific themes required for the set. Often, we see you in elegant pearl necklaces and lacy dresses. Is that close to the real you?
R: I’m fortunate enough to have a taste for elegance that inspires others to often dress me as I would myself. I’ve no idea why that is, but I feel very lucky when I’m clothed in a comfortable aesthetic of glamour.
**and she’s in her black classy lacy top when we met =)
G: Being in this competitive industry, have you gone through any tough struggles to reach where you are now? How did you get through it?
R: At the highest point of my modelling career, I was in a very negative relationship that truly dragged me down and suffocated the best of who I am. It made me realise how important my independence and career success is to me, and how much power we have in our choices. The struggle to reclaim myself after I left was a challenge that strengthened me in ways I would never have imagined. The whole experience was a crucible- painful but purifying, which I survived by constantly asking myself what I could learn, what aspects of myself i could work to remove/resolve and how I could improve myself every day.
G: Apart from work, what other things interest you most?
R: I really love fine arts, culture and design. The Victorian era and belle époque especially fascinate me, and I design many of my own clothes and interiors with that influence in mind. Another hobby of mine is exploring the challenge of applying luxurious practicality to Hong Kong apartments, as you can see on my PassionForProperty
G: Where did the passion for property come from?
R: It was love at first sight when I saw the cottage that housed a real estate agent in New Zealand. From then I knew real estate would be my great love and I fully embraced that reality by starting my PassionForProperty
blog, which offers options and ideas for making the most of small Hong Kong apartments, as well as area reviews. My dream was taken a step further when I was appointed ambassador for luxury realtors Engel & Voelkers
and received my real estate licence, starting me on my adventure of becoming a luxury property specialist.
**and actually Engel & Voelkers has participated in a very meaningful job-placement internship program for the less privileged local (Hong Kong) youngsters to open up their world and make their dream career possible! check out Project Share – young people can actually have a say to what they want to do and the organizer will try their best to arrange companies to match with their dream – at least to allow them have a taste what it would be like working in the field!
G: Have you come across a house/apartment/place where you think “this is it, i NEED to live here…. at least for one night”? Which one is it?
R: That would be Lanson Place in Causeway Bay. I fell in love with that place on first sight and would adore a home that looked like their divinely opulent lobby area. But practically speaking, I personally feel most comfortable living in Taikoo Shing‘s bright airy ambience, high useable square footage and peaceful surroundings.
G: When you pick an apartment/house, are there any essential things that they must possess?
R: Natural light and lots of it. With that, great things are possible. And preferably trees nearby with birds singing; the sound of them enjoying life reminds me of how much there is to enjoy.
G: How do you see the future of Hong Kong properties?
R: Expensive. Good to buy in, bad to rent in. Hopefully with ever more exciting and creative ideas for making the most of Hong Kong interiors which I can chronicle in my PassionForProperty
G: Why are you so interested in women’s empowerment?
R: When I first started in the modelling industry I signed with an agent in Melbourne who kept trying to persuade me and my parents that I was fat, unfortunate looking and would never succeed in this industry unless I stayed nights at his house on weekends to train to catwalk. I consistently refused but realised that other more impressionable underage girls may be lured into traps like this, and I was disgusted, breaking my contract with that agency once I started working in Hong Kong, so I could sign exclusively with another agency that was founded and run by two women – both former models. Being outspoken and protective, I decided that I would strive to empower and educate women to look after themselves and their sisters – my mantra becoming ‘Together We Are Stronger’. After seeing a young model crying at an agency, I decided to set up HKModelsGuide.com to help young models and their families educate themselves about modelling in Hong Kong. The best agencies in town have welcomed this transparency and support the site, recommending it to their models. Thereafter I joined womens fundraising charity Women Helping Women Hong Kong and it remains one of my continuing life missions to empower and inspire women.
G: You are a beautiful, attractive, sexy goddess to many people. Can you tell us what is “sexy” to you?
R: Confidence is sexy. Whatever our shape or size, knowing and accepting our faults and weaknesses can give us a style of confidence that is tangible and undeniable; it’s the sexiest thing we’ll ever wear.
G: Lastly, please describe yourself with one word.
R: Striving. I constantly strive to do better, be better, improve and make choices that drive my life in the direction of the adventure I want to live.
** “you have the strength that you haven’t acknowledged, but it’s there” **
** “being grumpy at things you don’t like doesn’t change anything, it’s better we adjust our way of seeing things” **
**and there’s this very good example Raven made about stage fright – a famous female singer having this anxiety problem before show, heart bumping super fast, trembling, sweating… her confidence coach was asking some famous rockstars how they felt before they go on stage for a concert. he got the same answer, ” when i was getting on stage, my palms get sweating, my heart bumping, shaking all over… i feel so prepared for it! and that’s how i know i’m ready to go on stage! i’m excited and fueled to go and perform!” . so it’s just what you translate something into – are you nervous or are you excited?! are you grumpy or you’re just a bit tired today? that actually make me feel less annoyed by people who walk slowly in front of me… hey! i’m not in a hurry today! they are just having a relaxing stroll… like us
i found Raven is an amazingly positive person to chat with, which i think it’s a good thing for me to share with you all here. thanks for everything Raven!!
+ enlightenment and encouragement +
(interview photos courtesy to Alex)