“Having been in the entertainment industry for so many years, I have learnt how necessary it is to pay attention to one’s clothes and appearance,” professes long-time Coach fan Wang Lee-hom. He radiates enthusiasm when he talks about the brand which hand-picked him as its new ambassador, saying: “This is a whole new collaboration with a lot of potential, full of fireworks. I am very excited and hopeful.”
An instantly recognisable face throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, Wang was born in the United States and still resides in New York whenever he is in America. He’s churned out 25 albums in Japanese and Mandarin since his debut in 1995, and is a four-time winner at the Golden Melody Awards, Taiwan’s equivalent of the Grammys. The star of movies such as The Founding Of A Party and Love In Disguise was a natural pick for Coach.
Often spotted carrying its bags by the paparazzi, he assumes natural poses when shot by celebrity photographer Fisher Yu (who has worked with the likes of Elva Hsiao, Jay Chou and Karen Mok) for the brand’s latest campaign. The age-defying 37-year-old can be seen with new offerings like the Bleecker Legacy Business Tote, Thompson Foldover Tote and Bleecker Legacy Slim Brief, which best complement his masculine, streetwise style.
Beyond the bags, Wang has also been very vocal about his fascination with the new novelty items, such as its desk and tech accessories. “I like Coach’s laptop bag and use it a lot,” divulges the cross-culture actor and musician. “It was only after working with the brand that I understood its strong heritage and wide variety of products. It even has baseball gloves, money clips and wallets, all of which are made from high quality leather.”
To Wang, Coach’s sophisticated designs reflect the Big Apple’s city lifestyle as well as his own cosmopolitan mindset, elaborating: “Their products are very elegant, and definitely very New York.”
No stranger to the city, he describes New York as akin to the United Nations – multi-cultural, cosmopolitan and a symbol of inclusiveness and cohesiveness, where people of different nationalities and racial groups gather and speak in many different languages. “There is a rich diversity,” he points out. And nevermind the extremely fast pace of living. Its dwellers are much more open-minded towards people and things around them.
Some of his favourite places include Central Park, which he feels is an important space to remind the city’s inhabitants of nature. “If possible, take a ride around it. I wish the urban planners in China could take nature into consideration when building cities,” he remarks, when asked what is a must-see and do in New York. Other activities include visiting museums, art galleries and, of course, Broadway (this, he feel best represents the New York lifestyle).
Over the years, has your perspective on relationships changed?
I think love is like any other experience. It is only through time that you can truly understand what you like or dislike.
Is that the mark of a truly matured man?
I am not encouraging people to have more experiences. Some people are luckier than others. My parents are each other’s first loves and I am quite envious of that sometimes. They are happily married and have never thought of ever separating.
Many girls see you as the “perfect man”. Is that the expectation that you set upon yourself?
I don’t know what makes a “perfect man”. A person’s strength can also be his shortfall. For example, by focusing on my movies and music, I cannot give my heart to other areas of my life. When you think that everyone is praising you, that can also become your area of weakness. I set very high expectations of myself especially when it comes to things that matter to me.
What kind of man do you want to be in your girlfriend’s eyes?
Someone who is true. Someone who is truly myself.
What, to you, is the greatest joy in life?
In the pursuit of fame and wealth, many people forget the real meaning of life. Even after becoming wealthy, many famous people still commit suicide. I think that the biggest joy in life is to be content.
Can you share with us some of your other interests outside of music?
I am very interested in science, especially astronomy and astrology. I am very concerned about protecting the environment, the development of sustainable resources, and maintenance of air quality. The quality of air in most cities is bad, and that affects the quality of life of a lot of people. No matter how successful or how rich we are, if there isn’t clean air for everyone, there is no way we can have a good quality life.
How do you think you can contribute to society?
Everyone has the same amount of strength and opportunities. I wish to use my music and influential power to bring positive energy to everyone, inspiring them to lead better lives.
Over the years, you must have seen many ups and downs. What has affected you most in your life?
I have experienced extreme emotions, and I see them as a sort of training. At one point, I can have tens of thousands of fans cheering and clapping and in the next moment, I am alone in the hotel room feeling extremely lonely. That is a huge difference. Over the years, I have gotten used to returning to normality after coming down from an extreme high, but it took me a long time.
How have you changed from the time you first started out in your career?
I take better care of myself now. When I first started out, I would skip meals, sleep late and party. My body could recover quickly even after not sleeping for 72 hours. But now, I can’t do that anymore. There is no need to. I am smarter and less impulsive. I use past experiences to plan my time and energy. Becoming “in shape” from an “out of shape” condition is a long and tiring process. In contrast, keeping “in shape” is very simple.