6 Former Cover Stars Reveal The Secrets Behind Their Shoots
40 years ago, Hong Kong Tatler was founded to cover the life and times of our vibrant society on the shores of the Fragrant Harbour—half of that period under colonial rule, half under Chinese sovereignty.
To kick off celebrations for our 40th anniversary, we reconnected with some former cover stars to get our nostalgia on.
Yenn Wong – May 2007
A vivid memory that stands out from my May 2007 cover shoot was that the stylist had prepared a closetful of very small size dresses. I asked him, “What happens if we can’t fit into such small pieces?” To which he replied, “Well, then, I will not style them.”
I made sure I sucked in every breath I could to fit into all those clothes. I also remember just how hands-on the Tatler team was: Sean Fitzpatrick I think was editor-in-chief at that time and kept flicking the curtains so that Sean Lee-Davies, who was the photographer for the occasion, could capture the perfect shot.
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Michelle Ong – July 2007
Being shot for the cover of Tatler was a delight. We did a long photo shoot, which accompanied a wonderful feature on my work for Carnet.
I wore many of my own gowns, but the one that still stands out in my memory was the silver and gold Dolce & Gabbana Swarovski-beaded dress I wore for the cover. It was a one-of-a-kind couture piece that Olivia Lee-Davies chose especially for me. It had literally just come right off the runway and I loved it, although I was a bit surprised to discover it weighed 27 pounds! I pose and moved in it gracefully throughout the shoot, as if the fabric were super light. It was a beautiful challenge.
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Jaime & Benedict Ku – March 2010
The photo shoot took place in a nondescript warehouse in Chai Wan. My husband, Ben, and I showed up not knowing what to expect. As it turned out, we had an amazing team of creatives waiting for us at the studio.
Ben is generally pretty low key and doesn’t do too many of these types of photo shoots. I think he must’ve been taken aback by all the lights and cameras, so he looked a bit stiff during the shoot. Everyone on set kept telling him to relax, including the photographer, my sister Denise, who was the stylist for the shoot, and even Sean Fitzpatrick, the editor-in-chief at the time. Ben leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Is there something wrong with my face? Do I not look like I’m relaxed?”
We had a good laugh about it, and everything went smoothly from that point onwards. We were also thrilled that our elder daughter (Briar, 18 months old at the time) came to visit us on set that day. We had a blast, thanks to the stellar team of people from Tatler.
See also: How to Be a Dapper Dad with Benedict Ku
Annabelle Bond – June 2014
Being a mountaineer, the Tatler team and I decided to do the shoot among the rocks of Shek O. It should have been a breeze for me—cliffs and wild nature are my natural habitat—but I hadn’t considered the fact that designer frocks and rock surfaces don’t really go hand in hand.
I remember wearing this beautiful floor-length Etro dress with precious jewels to match, and scrambling up a tiny ledge to pose for the camera… until I suddenly lost my footing. I fell off the ledge and onto the jagged rocks below, landing pretty hard—though luckily I didn’t hurt myself too much. Lying in a crumpled heap on the ground in my evening gown was definitely not my finest moment. So much for being an intrepid climber—it took a Tatler shoot to break me.
See also: How Annabelle Bond Packs for an Outdoor Expedition in Aspen, Colorado
Tania Mohan – July 2013
My photo shoot for the July 2013 cover was a wonderful experience. It was shot in Tai O, a charming fishing village tucked into the coast of western Lantau, a treasure with houses on stilts and a vibrant market. I felt like I was back in old Hong Kong.
We arrived at the former colonial police station, which had been converted into a heritage boutique hotel, and I was taken to a beautiful suite where the make-up artist, stylist and hairdresser prepared me for the shoot. A speedboat then whisked us to a stunning old sampan for the first shot… at which point panic set in as it was early June and the humidity was so high. All I could think of was that I would look like a frizz ball, as I had not warned the hairdresser that I have super curly hair with a mind of its own.
I also knew that going back to the hotel for air-conditioned touch-ups was not an option until we had done at least the first few shots, as we were a long way from it. Thankfully, my hair behaved and I had a great time exploring the area—in 5-inch Dolce & Gabbana wedges!
See also: A Day In The Life Of Tania Mohan
Reggie & Ronald Kwok – August 2003
Reggie and I had our first Tatler shoot in 2003. Porcia Leung (Tatler’s social editor at the time) invited us to a unique dining experience at Balalaika in Tsim Sha Tsui. She picked the venue as she wanted us to experience authentic Russian cuisine and nightlife, which we did.
It was a great evening, but it was the chilly ending that made it particularly remarkable. Balalaika has a bar that’s literally in a fridge, the “Siberian Vodka Room”. And that’s where Porcia had us wrap up the night. There was nothing else like it in Hong Kong at the time. Before entering the room, where the temperature was -20 degrees, Reggie and I were given fur coats and matching fur hats.
They had over 60 varieties of vodka to choose from, and we ended up staying longer than we thought we could, considering the freezing cold. When we came out, I literally thought I was in romantic Saint Petersburg as my face was as red as a tomato and I could hardly walk in a straight line. It was a truly memorable evening, and Porcia became one of our closest friends after that!
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