Model, beauty queen and now an actress with a role in an American TV drama, Ha Kieu Anh talks to Vu Hoang
about her experiences and how she juggles life, career and a young family.
Ha Kieu Anh, who was born in 1976, was crowned Miss Viet Nam in 1992 when she was just 16, making her the youngest beauty queen to have received the award. She has starred in several Vietnamese movies and won a number of international beauty awards. Anh is married to Huynh Nam, a businessman, and has two sons aged five and one.
Inner Sanctum: You were recently invited to star in an American TV drama. Why did you decide to take the role?
I went to the US primarily to give birth but also to play the lead in the TV drama Coming to America, which is due to run for 45 episodes. As the shooting will coincide with my giving birth, as well as the fact that I could not take a great deal of time off work, I came up with the idea of combining acting with being pregnant. My role is quite important. I depict a famous and good-looking Vietnamese actress. Believe it or not, I found it hard work. Just one month after giving birth, I had to go to the film studio. While shooting, I also had to follow a strict dietary regime. Thanks to that, I kept my figure during pregnancy.
Inner Sanctum: What is the film about?
The movie tells the story of Lan, a well-known actress back in Viet Nam, who tends to be a bit haughty. However, when she comes to the US, despite being unknown, she still puts on airs. She encounters a lot of difficulties living and working in a different environment. The movie is in English, but my character speaks Vietnamese (with English subtitles) to appeal to the Vietnamese community.
Inner Sanctum: You are a celebrity in Viet Nam. Are you in any way like the character you portray?
Actually, I do not have a false sense of my own importance. I know who I am and I am quite down to earth. I even feel comfortable living in America, where I am nothing. I can go out without wearing makeup, and do not need to dress up. There is no one trying to take my picture, or looking at me.
Inner Sanctum: How do you balance work and home. It must be difficult living in an alien environment?
I have encountered lots of difficulties in the US. There I have to do things for myself, whereas I get a lot of support in Viet Nam. I had to take care of my children while I was doing the talk show Sai Gon on Saturday, aimed at overseas Vietnamese. I was also doing some acting at the time. I did find it hard at times, but I learnt a great deal. Besides, I have a brother in the US who has helped me a great deal.
Inner Sanctum: You seem to like living in America. How do you feel about the country?
The working conditions in America are very professional. Studying in America is also good for the children. However, my husband does not agree. He is familiar with the working environment in Viet Nam. But I have my work in America, and I will definitely go back there if the show continues.
Inner Sanctum: Beside running a series of hotels and restaurants in Vung Tau Province, you also plan to open a restaurant chain across the country. How do you find the time for yourself?
I must say that sometimes I do regret working so much. It takes time away from my loved ones. I take my children with me everywhere I go and don't worry too much about them. Children adapt easily, as I'm sure you know! When they are old enough to go to school, I will find a better way to arrange my schedule so I can spend time with them. — VNS