“When I was little, I had a critical illness, my parents had to sell everything we had to save my life. When I recovered I told myself when I grow up and happen to be fortunate, I will always help out those who have experienced something similar to my family’s situation.”
I had the pleasure to interview Vietnamese Superstar, Ha Phuong. Ha Phuong has released twelve solo albums and numerous records throughout Asia and the U.S. She has also delved into the film spectrum releasing her first feature film Finding Julia, in which she stars and produced. If acting and singing weren’t enough, she is a natural born philanthropist founding the Ha Phuong Foundation, an organization that provides aid to underprivileged children directly by paying for necessities such as surgery, food, clothing, and education.
Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born on March 31. I’m one of six children. My father was a musician. My sisters are famous singers in Vietnam. Growing up, I studied voice, acting, choreography and participated in theatre arts in school and around the city. I won many music prizes and I later won the final round in a national television program “The Voice of Television” in 1991.
I relocated to the US in 2000, and married Chính Chu in 2002 and had two daughters, Diana Phuong Phuong Chu and Angelina Tieu Phuong Chu. I published my first novel Finding Julia, in English and Vietnamese. The book was co-authored by myself, Judy Katz and Minh Ngọc. I produced and star in the film “Finding Julia” which will be released in theatres this fall.
Besides my work as an actor and singer, I am well known for my philanthropy.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
When I came to the US, I was invited to perform many places and was paid handsomely as a well-known singer of country music in Vietnam. One of my favorite memories was when I was invited to perform at a fundraiser for a Vietnamese Student Community. As students they had to raise money to pay for my performance, my flight and hotel. I was told they even washed cars after school to raise the money. So I decided to stay with them instead of staying in a hotel. I was deeply moved by all of this so I refused any payment after the show. They were very surprised and touched since that situation had never happened before.
What would you advise to someone who wants to emulate your career?
When pursuing a career in show business, you must be ethical. Be humble, admit imperfection and have a can-do spirit. When you’re surrounded by challenges, be patient and you will overcome.
Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?
When I was little, I had a critical illness, my parents had to sell everything we had to save my life. When I recovered I told myself when I grow up and happen to be fortunate, I will always help out those who have experienced something similar to my family’s situation.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Are you working on any meaningful or exciting non-profit projects?
As an artist, I know how to cultivate my voice and lyrics to offer meaning to others’ lives. I do as much charity work as I’m capable of to ease all the pain that is created both physically and mentally for the less fortunate. With my non-profit work, I lead with an emotional heart and a strong mind to make the work successful. When my daughters Diana Phuong Chu and Angelina Tieu Phuong Chu grow up and have their own loving family, I want them to be influenced by great people like Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie. I want them to respect those with a big heart who work tirelessly to make the world a better place.
Wow! Can you tell me a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
From what I was told by my teacher, one of her students was named after me in a way to show their loving for me.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I wish that I’d had a wise mentor to guide me on the right path. I’ve spent a lot of time going in circles with some rough patches to be honest.
So the five things would be:
*Find a mentor.
*Learn English as soon as you can.
* Be confident in your abilities because you can only depend on yourself in life.
*Do not be naïve. Be aware of how things work.
*Learn balance between the US and Vietnam cultures. Learn about both and their differences.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d like to support people by providing them with the resources that they need in order to independently jumpstart their careers. If you give someone a fish, they’ll eat for a day, but if you teach someone to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime. Most importantly, I’d like to teach them that when they do succeed, they must return the favor by supporting the next generation.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
My favorite life lesson quote is that, “Having luck isn’t enough. You must be positive and share. When a person is stuck in a blizzard, start a fire to warm yourself but only when you share the fire with other people, will you make the fire last. Do good deeds and share good things in life , too.”
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this
I’d like to keep the answer for myself.
Originally published at medium.com