KUALA LUMPUR: After a glittering career as a model and actress in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan, Sherine Wong Sook Ling, who won the Miss Malaysia Universe title in 1998, is now embarking on a new journey as an international jazz singer.
She has just released her first jazz album in Hong Kong, where she is now based, featuring a compilation of English and Chinese songs.Her songs are also available via online music streaming platforms such as Spotify and iTunes.
Her second album, which is expected to be released this year, will be recorded in four major cities in Holland, the United States, Japan and Malaysia.
She has also travelled extensively to New York to perform at social and charity events.
“With the growing presence of the Chinese community in Brooklyn, people want me to sing Chinese songs,” said Wong, who won the beauty title when she was 18.
Wong, who turns 40 on March 28, was an athlete and even represented Malaysia in the triple and long jump events at the Asian Games during her schooldays.
Her achievements in athletics enabled her to win a government scholarship to pursue a matriculation course at a local university.
“As a teenager and coming from a broken family (her parents are divorced), life was tough as I was pushed to be independent (at a young age) due to my mother’s illness and her struggle to provide for me and my brother,” she said.
Using the cash prize that came with winning the Miss Malaysia Universe title, the 1.75m-tall beauty enrolled on a Monash University Australia twinning degree programme in business and commerce at Sunway University.
However, Wong had to put her studies on hold so that she could focus on her modelling career.
After a modelling stint in Malaysia, she set her sights on advancing her career in Singapore so that she could earn more and buy a home for her mother.
“Having our own house was crucial at that time as we were renting and moving many times,” recalled Wong, who also participated in the 2004 Miss Asia pageant and took home the Miss Photogenic and Miss Perfect Skin subsidiary titles.
“I wanted to challenge myself. If I can make it in Malaysia, I can definitely make it in Singapore. I thought to myself, ‘Let’s go there and be a risk taker.’”
However, during her first three months in Singapore, she was not able to get any modelling job.
“I went to all the castings but was not able to get any job. But I did not give up.
“Then, just as I was about to quit and return to Malaysia, a top producer I had met during a commercial casting gave me a big modelling job in Singapore,” she said.
After spending three years in Singapore as a fashion model for top brands, Wong met a modelling agent who recruited her for assignments in Taiwan.
“I worked in Taiwan for fashion week seasons,” said Wong.
Having explored the modelling scene in the Malaysian, Singaporean and Taiwan markets, Wong was geared for opportunities elsewhere.
She finally chose to go to Hong Kong, thinking that she could also at the same time complete her Monash University studies through an external degree programme.
“When I stepped into Hong Kong, I felt it was calling for me. Hong Kong was great to me,” she said.
Initially, Wong just wanted to rent a place for three months to complete her studies and then move to Australia.
However, as word spread that she was a former Malaysian beauty queen, many modelling offers, as well as the opportunity to be a part of the prestigious Hong Kong movie industry, came knocking on her door.
Within two weeks of her stay, she received an offer to act in a movie following a meeting with a director.
“I landed my first role in 2005 in a movie (titled Kung Bu Shi Jian) alongside Hong Kong actor Mark Cheng in China,” she said, adding that she played the role of a reporter in her debut movie.
After completing her degree in business and commerce in 2005, Wong contemplated trying her hand at business
In 2008, she invested in a business club in Hong Kong but due to the global economic crisis then, she suffered losses and had to wind up her venture.
Returning to modelling and acting, she landed a starring role in a Japanese film titled Fly Me To Minami in 2013, directed by Lim Kah Wai, a Malaysian film producer based in Japan.
Currently, she and her husband are running a Hong Kong-based music production company.
“We produce mostly television commercial jingles and scoring for movies. We also produce music for artistes and singers,” said Wong, who tied the knot three years ago.
“I have tasted everything in my life – sweet, sour and bitter (experiences). Now, I want to go on pursuing the things I love and I want to help people and contribute to society.” — Bernama
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