“The Wong Side of Life” Blog by Walter Mason

“The Wong Side of Life” Blog by Walter Mason

MARCH 18, 2013 By  LEAVE A COMMENT (EDIT)

Joy Hopwood on inspiration, acting and positive friendships

Posted by Walter Mason on Monday, 18 March 2013
Actor and author Joy Hopwood

Joy Hopwood is best known to Australians as one of our most beloved Play School presenters. She was, in fact, the first Asian presenter on that legendary show, and one of the pioneers in champtioning diversity in popular Australian culture.
This month, Joy is presenting a brand new play, The Wong Side of Life, as a fundraising effort for the Cancer Council. It is a totally original production that features actors and puppets dealing with sensitive issues like race, bullying, death and illness. You can book tickets for this show (presented at The Concourse in Chatswood, Sydney) here.

I thought I’d ask her a few questions about life, luck and dreams:

Where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?

I would have another book published and a television series.


Tell us about an inspiring book you’ve read lately.

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do. It’s an inspiring book by a great Australian comedian –Anh Do. He and his family came to Australia by boat and survived the journey. They started off with nothing and worked hard to survive. They never wanted any pity; they just worked hard in life, especially his mum. Anh was persistent and determined to follow his dream to become a comedian. They showed great resilience and gratitude to the opportunities this lucky country gave them. I love how people just get along with life and never feel sorry for themselves. His mother’s character reminds me of my mother’s attitude to life.


What inspired you to become an actor?

When I was on my final (drama teaching) prac in Western Australia, two children- an aboriginal boy and a Chinese girl – told me that they wanted to get into acting when they finish school, but they never saw anyone who looked like themselves on TV. They said, “Why should we even try?” I told them not to give up their dream and if I can be the first regular Asian presenter on Play School, then they can achieve their dream too. I just hope they saw me.

Joy Hopwood in Play School days

What are some tips you would give to someone wanting to build a career in a creative industry, be it acting, dance, art or writing?

To have patience and never give up their dream and to be prepared to work hard for their goals. I’ve had many knock backs; it took me 14 years to get my first piece published in Growing Up Asian in Australia, (edited by Alice Pung- Black Inc Books) and Chinese Australian Women’s Stories. Plus I had to audition twice for Play School.

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