With a career that has taken her all over the globe, Celina Jade will be at Cannes this year, announcing an upcoming movie project and serving as ambassador to the new China-Euro Women in Film Festival. When director Wu Jing asked Jade to star in the 2008 “Legendary Assassin,” she professed to be unqualified but acquiesced. The film was a hit and launched her career. After starring on The CW’s “Arrow,” she reunited with Wu for 2017’s “Wolf Warrior 2,” which scored $870 million at the box office, and is next in Chinese comedy “Hello, Mrs. Money.”
What attracted you to “Wolf Warrior 2?”
I’ve been with my manager for almost 10 years and very early on I said: “If Wu Jing ever calls me to be involved in one of his projects, I’m there.” I’m grateful to him for my entire career. Wu Jing called me up one day about the sequel, asking: “Can you fly tonight to be my leading lady?” I talked to my mom, who was over the moon. She said: “Celina, if you really want to make a difference, go make a difference in China because you’re Chinese. You need to contribute back to your country.” So I told Wu Jing: “I’ll take the first flight tomorrow morning.” We didn’t discuss contract details. We didn’t discuss anything. I was on the next flight out.
Who were your mentors when starting out?
My parents. My father (actor Roy Horan), who taught me martial arts, archery and shooting, always said: “I don’t want you to think of yourself as lower than a man. I don’t want you to ever feel that you’re not smart enough or good enough to talk to somebody who’s more experienced than you.”
What was it like singing at the G8 Summit in Japan?
That was my first performance. I was definitely nervous. An American singer, Nadia Turner, said to me: “It’s good to be nervous. You know you still love what you’re doing when you’re nervous. Embrace that energy.” Even today when I’m onstage singing in front of a huge crowd, I think to myself: “I’m a little nervous, and it’s good.”
You’re passionate about vegetarianism. How did that begin?
I got into food and believing in the power of food to heal the body after an accident where I got third-degree burns across my chest and my arms. It was a very tough time because I didn’t realize how much of my identity I placed in my looks, and nothing was working. My partner at the time had a vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong and asked me if I had ever thought of using food to heal myself. He said that the body is an incredible device if you give it the correct nutrition. I cut out all processed foods, artificial sugars, meat, seafood and dairy, and he taught me how to make two juices every day. My wounds healed within one or two weeks. It was miraculous. The burn unit in the hospital now has the recipes. And at the end of 2015, my mom got pancreatic cancer and was given three months to live. I started educating her on how she could heal herself through food. She had surgery, which really affected her ability to absorb nutrients. But she ended up surviving for more than two years, which is another miracle.
What did you enjoy most about working on “Arrow?”
“Arrow” was fun. I auditioned from Hong Kong and sent in a self-tape, which my dad helped me with. It was a very simple scene, and I remember my dad saying to me: “OK, all the crying and stuff is great. But you know, don’t call yourself a Horan if you can’t snap out of it faster. Because you’re a strong woman. Be a strong woman.” I did that tape, and within three days, I was on a plane to Vancouver to shoot. But I love, love, love my character. She is the Mr. Miyagi of “Arrow.” She taught the Arrow archery. She taught the Arrow martial arts. She’s a very wise, philosophical woman in a young body. I think that’s cool.
Things You Didn’t Know About Celine Jade:
AGE: 32 BIRTHPLACE: Hong Kong FAVORITE MOVIE: “Million Dollar Baby” FAVORITE KARAOKE SONG: Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” LANGUAGES SPOKEN: Cantonese, Mandarin, English SPECIAL SKILLS/TALENTS: Tae Kwon Do, Archery, Shooting, Singing, Songwriting, Yoga, Certified Diver, Cooking, Meditation DREAM VACATION SPOT: Finland COMFORT FOOD: Vegetarian Dumplings