Beauty, talent, wealth, a happy family, and a successful career are what many people desire. Ha Phuong has all of them. It seems like she possesses a dream life. When asked how this was achieved, Phuong replies, “Thank God for giving this to me.” Ha Phuong is born in 1972, a popular Vietnamese singer with a sweet voice and graceful beauty which have been cherished by Vietnamese, especially who love the country’s popular music. She is the second oldest sister of three singing sisters: Cam Ly and Minh Tuyet, who are also famous in Vietnam and among Overseas Vietnamese. She currently lives in New York with her husband, Chinh Chu – a billionaire on Wall Street, and two daughters. Besides her successful career, Phuong is also known for her kindness. She has participated in many charities, especially for unprivileged children. Despite having a rich life, Ha Phuong is not passive and always wants to improve herself.
Culture Magazin recently chatted with Ha Phuong, “the ageless beauty.”
Rarely do families have four daughters who are all talented and successful. Who is the one that you feel closest to? Do you often confide and share with Cam Ly and Minh Tuyet?
Ha Phuong: Currently, I live in New York. My sister, Cam Le lives in Connecticut, a nearby city, so Le and I always confide in each other.
You often return to Vietnam to do charity, but you always did it very quietly. Why? What is the meaning of doing charity work for you?
Ha Phuong: You may have read a lot of stories about the reason why I like to do charity work and especially charities for children. When I was a child, I suffered an illness and it wasn’t thought I would live. My dad and mom had to sell everything we had in our house, and borrowed money. Even the black-and-white television was sold to eliminate debt. Later, my father mentioned this story again. I hid in a corner, cried and prayed that when I grew up if I was able to help unprivileged people, I would not hesitate.
When you married a billionaire you stopped singing as much as before. What do you do to maintain your voice?
Ha Phuong: Despite stepping back, I still keep enhancing my knowledge. I joined acting and vocal classes. My teacher, Alisa, discovered that I could sing opera. Now, I can sing four octaves.
You use your private jet when traveling to shows. Do you often bring your family or friends with you?
Ha Phuong: Of course, the family is my number one. Sometimes I also share the joy of this transportation with friends.
Your beloved brainchild, movie Finding Julia created quite a lot of buzz. Do you plan to continue filming?
Ha Phuong: Yes, the movie Finding Julia is my confidential piece of work. I am waiting for the release date and hoping that the audience will like it. If the audience loves it, I will continue to make films.
Singing an acting, which one do you like more?
Ha Phuong: Too hard to say! When I am acting, I can live in that character’s life. But singing gives me more chances to perform and experience the feelings regarding each song. Hm… I like both.
Do you feel pressured as the wife of one of the most successful Asian-American businessmen?
Ha Phuong: Yes, I do feel so, sometimes. For example, my husband has a lot of work and business trips, so I have to sacrifice my career to stay at home taking care of our children. If I only stay at home, young people may criticize that I am a parasite on my husband. In contrast, older women advised me to stay at home to take care of the family. I need to balance my life. I do not want to become “a portable flower vase” in the eyes of my husband and everyone else. Although I stay at home, I still enhance my knowledge by studying music and acting, and writing books and screenplays so I can produce new art projects not only for audiences but also for myself. I also want to let my children understand that their mother is still useful and contributing to society.
Your husband was already a billionaire before he married you. Have you ever thought that you are a part of his success, like the quote, “Behind every great man is a greater woman?”
Ha Phuong: I do not dare to claim myself a great woman. I find that my husband’s career has been growing more and more after we had two children. I also understand my duty is to take care of the children and ensure they are healthy, study well and always happy. That way my husband can entirely focus on his work. Perhaps, this peace of mind has led to success in his work.
What is the ideal woman? When standing next to your husband, what kind of woman are you? Is there any difference with that image when you are in front of your daughters?
Ha Phuong: The ideal woman must have enterprise, patience and tenderness. When standing next to my husband, I am a gentle, naive woman who gives him many surprises. In front of the children, I am a mom who slightly worries too much.
What do you expect from your children? Do you want them to continue their mom’s art and music career or their dad’s business?
Ha Phuong: I want the children to grow up to follow their parents doing volunteer and charity work. As for career pathways, it is up to them. It would be great if they followed our careers. We will devote our hearts to sharing the experiences of our professions with them.
What is your parenting style? Are you a tiger mom or dolphin mom?
Ha Phuong: Both, but seems more like a dolphin mom. The children are more afraid of their father. Dad doesn’t need to be at home, just via phone or text messages, they listen to him.
People often argue over whether women should marry soon or late. What do you think about this?
Ha Phuong: I think we should get married not too early but not too late. Get married at the right age, when you are mature enough and understand life to avoid conflicts in marriage. Also, at this age, it is good for giving birth.
Your husband has achieved extraordinary success. What is required for this to happen?
Ha Phuong: Keep a progressive attitude, have patience, and work hard.
How do you balance your busy work and family happiness?
Ha Phuong: Listen to music, watch movies, exercise.
In spite of living abroad for many years, you still keep the typical beauty of Vietnamese women. What are the cultural traits preserved in your family?
Ha Phuong: First is to keep the hair long that represents the discreet and gentle beauty of Vietnamese women. Second, Vietnamese dishes and holidays are still indispensable parts of my family. Finally, is that in the family we still use Vietnamese.
What message do you want to share with young women to inspire them?
Ha Phuong: Keep a progressive attitude, a strong will, and tenderness.
Do you have any future plans?
Ha Phuong: I will continue supporting charity. Besides, I will also produce more music and film in Vietnamese and English.
Do you have anything to share with Culture Magazin readers?
Ha Phuong: I hope you will sympathize with what I shared, and support my upcoming English song Memories of Love, the book Finding Julia and the movie Finding Julia.
I wish readers of Culture Magazin health, happiness and prosperity.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt