Prestige 40 Under 40: Laurinda Ho, Philanthropist
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Laurinda Ho

Founder of Smile With Us HK

Social-media sensation Laurinda Ho has lived in the spotlight since childhood but given the long shadow cast by her parents – tycoon Stanley Ho and third wife Ina Chan – it was sometimes difficult to strike out on her own. Nonetheless, she was determined.

With two degrees – a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in professional accountancy – as well as certification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Ho last year opened the first Hong Kong branch of Taiwan’s Jiu-Wu Beef Noodles (and will soon open a second outlet in Mong Kok). And now the 28-year-old is just as determined to give back to society.

“It all started when I noticed the social atmosphere in Hong Kong was so negative,” says Ho. “There was a lot of hate going around, especially on the Internet, so I felt the urge to spread love and positivity.”

Philanthropy runs in Ho’s blood, but rather than hosting charity fund-raisers like her father, she founded Smile With Us HK in 2017, making use of social media to raise awareness. “Charity might be seen as boring and old-school, but what if it’s initiated through a friend? Or maybe a campaign on social media?” With more than 577,000 followers on Instagram, Ho clearly knows how the game works.

“We organise regular visits to homes for the elderly and families of children with special needs.” This year in particular, Smile With Us HK has partnered with Sanrio to create goodies that help raise funds for charity; it also organises an annual visit to Guizhou in China.

“It was more than just delivering materials to those in need,” says Ho. “Some Hong Kong teenagers and youngsters have never been to China, and I hope that after their visit they’re able to understand and ultimately appreciate what they have.”

Aside from her charitable activities, has she thought about turning her gaze towards acting? “I’ve been in music videos and such, but as I’m a typical Taurus I believe in being an expert – or at least taking a few acting courses before getting into it.

“I definitely like to challenge myself, which is why I’ve been learning Japanese for a couple months – I’ve even signed up for exams to ensure I’ll complete the whole course,” says Ho, while working on a gift for her boyfriend [the Chinese- Canadian actor] Shawn Dou. Even though they’ve been dating for less than a year, they’ve already made a pact to find time for an annual holiday, despite their packed working schedules.

“We’re going to Bora Bora and Japan,” Ho proclaims. “Daily food indulgence is expected!”

 

Outfit: Loewe