Newlywed Karen Mok says she just couldn't leave the stage. Zou Hong / China Daily
The veteran singer-actress is back onstage, newly married and fresh as ever, she tells Chen Nan.
When female singers or actresses marry, the public expects them to either reduce their workload or retire from the limelight altogether. Not so for Karen Mok. The 43-year-old singer-actress is back on the scene, a year after she married her first love Johannes at a church near Florence, Italy.
"I feel much more energetic after getting married," she says. "Maybe getting married means the emotions I express during my performances won't be the same. That's very interesting, actually."
Arriving in Beijing for the photo shoot, in a red tailor-made jacket, skintight denim and glittering gold high heels, Mok looks as if she just walked out of a scene from a movie or a concert.
She strikes a pose as the cameras flash. Her aura is infectious.
"I had one or two months holiday after the wedding, but I just couldn't leave the stage," says Mok with her trademark big smile. "When I got back to my shows, I couldn't help screaming: 'This is what I live for!'"
She landed in Beijing recently to promote her first English-language jazz album, Somewhere I Belong, which fulfilled a longtime dream and took her back to her starting point, she says.
When she was studying in Italy in 1987, she shopped in a store that was having a big going-out-of-business sale. She bought some CDs of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, which sparked her interest in jazz.
"I was fascinated by the music immediately and started searching for any possible way to listen to jazz," she recalls.
Since then her credits include 15 Cantonese and Mandarin albums, three Golden Melody Awards, a Hong Kong Film Award for her role in 1996's Fallen Angel, and the lead role of Mimi in the 10th Anniversary Asian tour of the Broadway smash Rent.
"This album is so me," Mok says. "With my life experience and reflections, I believe this is the perfect time to have such a jazz album," she says.