Cover Story: Poyd Treechada Hongyok on forging her career ahead

The multi-hyphenate Thai actress, model and entrepreneur may have recently said ‘I do’ in one of the most-reported weddings in her country, but she tells Zaneta Cheng why she has no plans to put her flourishing career on pause

On set Poyd Treechada Hongyok is an old hand. The newlywed, who married childhood friend Oak Phakwa Hongyok in a traditional Peranakan-style wedding in Phuket this March, looks radiant and thoroughly at home in front of the lens. One might assume that because Hongyok married into a family with business roots in the Thai mining industry, perhaps she would scale back on her work. But that would be mistaken.

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Today alone, the 36-year-old has scheduled a morning cover shoot with #legend followed by a flight to Vietnam where she will start shooting a modelling competition television show for which she is a judge. So it doesn’t seem that getting hitched is going to slow her down one bit. “I enjoy contributing to the creation of something as part of a team,” Hongyok tells me when I ask her what it is that she enjoys about an industry she’s been working in for nearly two decades. The model, actress and now entrepreneur likes to keep busy. “I can’t really say that getting married has changed my career path. Life and work can exist in parallel together.”

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Known across Thailand for winning Miss International Queen and Miss Tiffany’s in 2004, Hongyok completed a degree at Assumption University in Bangkok before setting foot in the world of entertainment. She first participated in pageants before progressing to modelling and acting.

White belted cotton blouse and black long wool skirt, logo-plaque leather loafers and leather micro T Timeless Bag from Tod’s

Hongyok’s acting career has brought her to Hong Kong shores, acting with the likes of Louis Koo and Ken Lo in The White Storm in 2014 and acting heavyweights such as Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Chow Yun-fat and Eric Tsang in the action-comedy From Vegas to Macau II, where she plays a triad boss. But it wasn’t intentional.

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When asked what brought her into the world of entertainment, she says, “I didn’t actually intend to go into the entertainment industry. I just wanted to become someone with a voice and this career gave me one. I think being in the entertainment industry since such a young age has given me a lot of tolerance.”

White belted cotton blouse and black long wool skirt, logo-plaque leather loafers and leather micro T Timeless Bag from Tod’s

The actress says that her experience on sets outside of her native Thailand gave her a better perspective. “I wouldn’t say that I want to be challenged so much within the entertainment industry but I love art – culture, especially,” says Hongyok. “I love observing different cultures in different locations. Every culture has similarities and differences, which I find to be a beautiful thing.”

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It’s the sort of openness she brings to her work. Watching Hongyok model on set is to watch a master at work. Seemingly effortlessly, Hongyok transforms once the shutter begins snapping and the lights flash with each camera click. She’s in the zone and she delivers a range of emotions with every round of shots. Every time the set changes, she gives us something different. The gaze is more intense when plastic strips are set up. She’s soft as she drapes herself around a pillar.

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Little wonder she’ll be judging aspiring models on television. Despite Hongyok’s relatively relaxed outlook on her work in front of the camera, she brings an ethic that is second to none. She’s also personable off-camera, making an effort to meet all the members of the crew working on set with her. With an extensive network of friends in Hong Kong given her success in the Chinese film market, there’s a groundedness and ease to Hongyok that is hard to find in entertainers. She does away with the hauteur of the successful and the unapproachability of those who tend to find themselves more important than they actually are. Why?

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“I think of a production as a business structure,” she explains. “Being an actor or an artist, we’re one element in an organisation chart that needs to be delivering the same calibre of work through our performance as the rest of the team.”

Green blazer and twill shirt from Tod’s

Hongyok’s business speak is filtering through. A businesswoman herself, the actress currently also serves as the managing director of BIOMT Biopharmatech, a wellness and supplement company, which she proudly lets me know is FDA-authorised. “I’m the owner of an FDA-authorised factory which produces supplements and that also does research and development for clients who want to create their own brands,” she says. “Entrepreneurship really drives me as there are so many new challenges there for me to tackle.”

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And she’s tackling them with enthusiasm. Currently pursuing a degree in molecular genetics and genetic engineering at Mahidol University, Hongyok chooses to learn ever more about the world through her own eyes and her own perception. So it makes sense that this multi-hyphenate chooses to carve her own path in the world. When asked who her #legend is, she gives us a unique answer.

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“I have no idea at this moment,” she says. “Some of my legends have disappointed me after I really dug deep to research them, and I know that I don’t deserve to be anybody else’s. Actually, though, I have been inspired by many people, but they usually do so without the intention to inspire and they don’t tend to be famous people.”

Creative concept / #legend
Art direction / Zaneta Cheng
Photography / Waroon Kieattisin
Styling / Jirawat Sriluansoi
Hair / Pongsiri Pornpijaipak
Make-up / Surapre Achirakul
Styling assistant / Walailak Wongman

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In this Story: #PRINT / #PRINT / #video