There came a point in singer-actor Josie Ho’s career when the onscreen roles that were available to her all started to feel the same. The film industry in Hong Kong, where Ho is based, favours cops and robbers action movies, and the roles for women in this male-dominated genre amount to…not much. So Ho—who was raised in both Hong Kong and Canada—took matters into her own hands and started a production company, 852 Films, with her husband. “There wasn’t really anything innovative coming out, so I decided to produce my own roles,” says the star, who’s known in North America for films like Contagion and this year’s period adventure drama Rajah. It’s that enterprising spirit that helps Ho spearhead the projects she’s passionate about, like the inspiring documentary Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice, in which Ho and a few fellow Hong Kong stars travel to Iceland in search of bliss, and, perhaps her most exciting film to date, the upcoming dark and twisty thriller Mother Tongue, directed by Oscar nominee Mike Figgis. It’s as if Ho is an impressive embodiment of the old adage “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.”

On The Same Page “I was fortunate to meet screenwriter Bruce Wagner in L.A., and we found that we really got along. After I went back to Hong Kong, he called me and said, ‘I have a story for you.’ He had written a really cool script that was shockingly dramatic and traumatic: Mother Tongue. He wanted me to be able to express myself in my fullest form.”

Crash Course “The best films are always about humanity. It’s easy to grab onto a role when you understand it. It’s also healthy for me to [take on] roles about different [types] of people. [For me], acting is a course on how to be a better human being.”

Acting is my job, but music is very personal for me.

Raise Your Voice “To act—to portray somebody else’s life—you have to be able to jump into their shoes and dig up all the missing pieces, like you’re Sherlock Holmes. As an actor, I have to repress a lot of unnecessary emotions, so I need to find another channel. Singing is how I let myself out. Acting is my job, but music is very personal for me—it’s me trying to express my feelings.”

Walk-In Closet  “I’m a comfy kind of person, but I like to look cool, especially at events. I collect vintage clothing, hats and accessories. I have a few favourite [brands]. Saint Laurent is one because it’s [versatile] and punk rock in a feminine way. I can also go crazy with Gucci—I like the mix-and-match style.”

Dream Directors “I love Paul Thomas Anderson, Todd Haynes, David Cronenberg and Wes Anderson. And I get so much joy from watching Luca Guadagnino’s films. There are many directors I’d love to work with—probably too many.”

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