With two new China productions up for release and a keen eye kept on the horizon for greater opportunities, award-winning actor and friend of Montblanc, Lawrence Wong pushes the envelope of his career in search of further challenges and growth.

In line with the spirit of exploration, Augustman Malaysia, in partnership with Montblanc, pays tribute to our 2014 Men of the Year’s Entertainment Award-winner Lawrence Wong with this exclusive story, where the actor lets us in on his journey thus far and future endeavours – all the while accompanied by the Montblanc 1858 collection.

Lawrence Wong
Shirt by Dunhill; Suit by Hugo Boss; Timepiece by Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition.

 

In our last catch-up, you mentioned about feeling demotivated for a time, and that you were excited to expand your career in China. Following the epic success of Yanxi and a couple of years working there, how do you think it has rejuvenated your spirit and outlook?

I think working in China has opened my eyes to the workings of bigger productions and allowed me to broaden my experience with new roles in different genres of films and TV productions such as period dramas, fantasy dramas and so on, as opposed to the same few roles offered in Malaysia and Singapore. All this has certainly helped keep my adrenaline rush going and me on the lookout for more opportunities and new challenges as I tend to get bored easily.

 

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🌿 #Reconnect1858 #Montblanc_SEA #Montblancmy

A post shared by Lawrence Wong 王冠逸 (@ohohlawrence) on

 

What have you discovered new from working in this whole new, bigger environment? Was there a lot to learn?

I’ve discovered that no matter where you come from and which market you are in, you have to put in work on the character you play. I think that’s the core responsibility of an actor. The bigger productions and larger casts have made a big difference for me in terms of exposure. It has provided me with a significantly expanded view of diverse working styles, attitudes, coping skills and creative approaches on set and off. All this adds to my knowledge bank tremendously.

 

As a newcomer in the hugely competitive environment of China, what are the qualities, mindset and values you’ve equipped yourself with to hold your own?

Constant development of new skills and experiences, identifying what works for me and focusing on that to make a difference. Acting gives me the chance to push myself into the unknown, experience life in different personas, explore human behaviour in all its scope and hopefully, in doing so, draw a connection back to reality. I believe that to establish a connection with the audience in character is to first understand the importance of connecting with yourself, as only then will you be able to bring out the best in you and reconcile fiction with reality.

Lawrence Wong
Shirt and jacket by Ermenegildo Zegna Couture; Star bracelet by Montblanc; Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph Limited Edition timepiece.

 

China is known for its long history, massive landscapes and rapid, modern expansion. Did you get a sense of pride when you first relocated there?

When I first relocated to China, I was definitely surprised with the progress that the country had made, be it in technology, infrastructure, the arts or entertainment. I remember when my friends and family first came to visit, I was so excited to bring them around and show them all the happenings in the city. They were just as astonished with the evolution and upcoming developments. I’m excited by both the high energy as well as competitive environment that constantly drives its people to think outside the box.

Lawrence Wong
Trenchcoat by Hugo Boss; Montblanc 1858 Automatic timepiece.

 

As a Friend of Montblanc, embodying the brand’s “Spirit of Exploration”, have you had a chance to undertake any new personal exploration in or outside China?

I’ve taken a back seat in outdoor exploration at the moment and refocused my everyday exploration on my professional career instead. Exploration, as I understand, takes many forms and occurs in all directions. With a bona fide heart to explore, one will find adventure in everyday life and a chance for discovery in every occasion. At present, with the rare opportunity to break into just about the largest market in the world finally in hand, I’ve channelled the spirit of exploration into advancing my career to greater heights, including taking on new roles, collaborating with new people, honing my craft and so on.

 

While it’s in man’s nature to explore, we are also taught to remember our roots, our heritage. Having grown up and cut your teeth in Malaysia and Singapore, what do you cherish most about your roots on both sides of the causeway?

Born and raised in Malaysia, I’ve come to own many colourful Malaysian characteristics. At the same time, having attended school in Singapore, I’m also largely influenced by the city-state’s culture. I think that’s great because it equipped me with a unique upbringing and a broad exposure at an early age, and paved the way for my career in the two countries. Over the years, being able to visit so many different parts of the world, including working there and experiencing the local cultures, has also enriched my manyfold and changed me deeply. I think that is something that’s uniquely me.

 

Seeing that both watchmaking and acting are regarded as crafts, what were the watchmaking practices that you realised could add to your own expertise?

The watchmakers at Montblanc really brought home to me the importance of putting in work, patience and discipline when it comes to honing one’s craft. This spirit is very important for both watchmaking and acting – the willingness and unwavering spirit to do your best. Precision is another element that I find highly relevant to acting. As an actor, I need to know the precise timing to deliver my lines, emotions and actions.

 

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don’t be sour; catch up, if you can. 😉🍇

A post shared by Lawrence Wong 王冠逸 (@ohohlawrence) on

 

Digital technology and social media have afforded stars and fans worldwide direct, instant 2-way communication. With an online following of over 300k users on Instagram plus another 3 million (and counting) on Weibo, what do you communicate with your fans on social media, and how do you feel about getting closer to them? Also, what has been the most interesting/meaningful thing shared with you?

I think social media is a double-edged sword. It’s interesting and cool that we have direct communication with our fans now, but I also feel that sometimes it leaves us too exposed. That said, now fans are able to share their stories and experiences directly with us. I do get a lot of personal messages from my followers, telling me about their lives and how they resonate with me because my story is not just full of roses. My career path has been full of obstacles and I guess a lot of people can relate that to their personal struggle. Even though I might not reply them, I read every single one of them. It keeps me aware of the importance of human connection.

Lawrence Wong
Outfit and shoes by Gucci; Timepiece by Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition.

Share with us your grooming secrets, and perhaps your fitness routine and day-to-day diet too.

(Laughs) Believe it or not, my skincare routine is very simple. I think my skin type is those that can’t have too much on it so I always keep my skin care routine to bare minimum. That said, I’m very particular with what I put. I value quality products a lot, especially “multi-purpose” ones. My schedule is so hectic and erratic, I don’t have a fixed exercise routine, I just do it whenever I can. So yea, I just try to take it easy. As for diet, it’s like a give-and-take situation. For example, if I ate too much today, I’ll try to eat less tomorrow. I think it is important to find that balance, try not to overload yourself or let loose completely.

 

What are the Montblanc must-haves that you bring with you in your day-to- day life and in your travel, and how do they complement you?

Timepiece is a must in my daily life as I keep a tight schedule. My recent favourite is the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere, in bronze and khaki colour scheme, with worldtime function. It embodies the spirit of exploration as a professional and innovative timepiece, practical for those who travel the world. This is accompanied by the Montblanc #MY4810 trolley, cabin size for short journeys and the medium large for longer stays.

 

This article first appeared in the June/July 2019 print issue of Augustman Malaysia.

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