Third time's the charm
After enjoying success as a model and actress, Wong Yat-tung has found her groove as DJ Miss Yellow
Wong Yat-tung is arguably Hong Kong's only female triple threat: she's a successful model, actress and DJ. The 23-year-old has adopted many personas over the years, but the most well known is that of DJ Miss Yellow. However, before her rise to fame behind the turntables, she was performing at another kind of table - playing table-tennis.
Raised by her grandparents after her parents divorced, she spent a lot of time on the streets finding ways to entertain herself, such as playing table-tennis. She fell in love with the sport and even at the age of eight was making an impression. "I don't have siblings, so I [would] always be alone; I went to school alone, I went out to play alone. Yes I played with others, but I was still alone."
Looking back, she believes her lonely childhood imbued a strong sense of independence in her, and eventually gave her the confidence to make her mark in the male-dominated world of DJ'ing.
But before Miss Yellow was born, Wong was already known as a model and an actress. After school, the then 17-year-old would often go to castings and photo shoots for various modelling jobs. Her ability to learn quickly was the key to her success in the two crafts.
When she started acting on TV, Wong was surprised to discover just how much she had to learn - for one, that it wasn't quite good enough to study her lines only the night before a shoot.
Experiences such as this helped Wong learn the inner workings of the modelling and acting industries quickly. After two years of modelling, she entered the 1999 Miss Hong Kong beauty competition "for the experience".
Around the time that she started modelling, Wong had a life-changing experience. Frustrated after a break-up, she asked God to find her a better man. The challenge was answered and this sparked an interest in religion, leading her to get baptised alongside her mother in 2007. Now, Wong tries to share her positive experiences with as many people as possible.
From 2001 to 2008, Wong acted in a number of Hong Kong movies and TV shows, including hit film Jiang Hu alongside Jacky Cheung Hok-yau, Edison Chen Koon-hei and Andy Lau Tak-wah. She says she enjoys acting the most when she can express her funny side. "I think I've got a good sense of humour and I prefer to show people my funny side instead of my sexy side."
She describes her transition from acting to DJ'ing as a coincidence. In 2006, while she was shooting a TV series over the course of 10 months, she was unable to leave Hong Kong or take on more work, although her daily working hours were short. To pass the time, she took lessons from local DJ Ryan Li.
Wong says Li's instructions were detailed and clear, and he kept nothing from his student. As Wong started to get increasingly interested in what was once just a hobby, she began looking for her own music. "I searched and found [artists such as] Daft Punk and Justice. I think they brought me into the electronic [music] scene."
Dubbing herself DJ Miss Yellow - because her family name sounds like "yellow" in Cantonese and also as a cheeky play on her Chinese ethnicity - she quickly made an impression in Hong Kong's clubbing scene. But her rise to becoming one of Asia's most respected female DJs was not without its obstacles.
Wong says it took several years to prove herself worthy, and many people initially thought she was trading on her looks. She is now known for her striking technique and has become a role model for young female DJs. "I get a lot of messages [from girls] on Facebook saying, 'Hey will you teach me?' The interest is there, but is this enough?"
Wong is also known for playing a wide variety of music. Whether it's at a fashion event or underground club, Wong modifies her style accordingly.
While Wong partially attributes her beginning in DJ'ing to the "crazy, but safe" Hong Kong nightlife, she has fallen in love with the clubbing scenes in Berlin and London. Comparing the three cities, she says: "Hong Kong parties are more commercial. [Hong Kong people] go to clubs to have fun and release pressure from work."
But this isn't to say she's not impressed with our city's bustling scene. "Hong Kong is small, but we have everything. It is really intense. People go out every weekend, even on Thursday, and get drunk and crazy," she says.
As for the future, Wong has many dreams: her biggest is to perform at a large-scale music festival. And she's not turning her back on acting - as long as it does not come at the expense of her DJ'ing career.