International Star You Should Know: Josie Ho

Josie Ho

Her independent spirit took her on a nontraditional career path in film and music

Thirty-nine-year-old Josie Ho has been featured in more than 30 films since 1994, but Teddy Chen’s 1999 actioner “Purple Storm,” in which she plays a ruthless female terrorist, earned her supporting actress noms at the Golden Horse and Hong Kong Film festivals. Variety’s Derek Elley called her presence in the pic “electric.”

The daughter of Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho, one of the world’s richest men, she knew early on that she aspired to a life in showbiz, especially after hanging around family friends — like Jackie Chan. “I trained to be a singer, but after I met those guys, I decided I wanted their lives,” she says. “It looked fun!”

Ho is grateful her traditional Chinese family let her work in the real world and didn’t finance her career. She co-founded 852 Films in 2009; the shingle’s latest film, badminton pic “Full Strike,” in which she stars, plays to her strengths: She’s a former high-school badminton champ.

She’s got seven albums under her belt, backed by her band, the Uni Boys. “I love singing and acting both, but singing is something I practice every day,” she says.

The actress has worked mainly in Hong Kong, but appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 “Contagion.” That’s been quickly followed by English-language films “The Courier” (2012) and “Open Grave” (2013), and she’s on the hunt for more via her U.S. reps at ICM. “I’m reading everything,” she says.

Is she tired of the heiress label? “There’s no way to change it,” Ho says, matter-of-factly.

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