Anson Lo is wearing a Fendi Cotton linen jacket, cotton linen shirt, and jewelry by Bvlgari
Polarised, battered, and fatigued by the pandemic, Hong Kongers have long been crying out for respite. The tension in the air is more palpable than ever. As borders remain closed, seeking escape and solace comes from the very same streets of Hong Kong that have seen all parts of despair, tenacity, and respite. In the midst of this, a new wave is sweeping through the city center — one of invigoration as Hong Kong’s latest musical boy band export, MIRROR, is at the heart of it. Having made their debut in early November 2018, the 12-member Cantopop ensemble is a beacon of hope as the struggles within Hong Kong ramble on.
Industry insiders and media outlets have gone on to proclaim that Cantopop is experiencing a comeback unlike any other in recent years as the rise and dominance of K-pop and Mandopop have taken the gloss off a truly unique Hong Kong culture. Crowds gathered around the city and malls to catch a glimpse of the Cantopop group in person. It is a common sight to see the bridge connecting Langham Place and the Cordis Hotel in Mong Kok turn into a trading ground as fans convene to trade or sell MIRROR fan art over the weekends.
Anson Lo is wearing a Versace Wool sweater, wool pants, Greca leather sneakers, and jewellery by Bvlgari
“I’m grateful that so many people feel that MIRROR is one of the major pushes for the comeback of Cantopop,” shares Anson Lo, our Men’s Folio February ’22 issue cover star. “With my current experiences and abilities, I don’t think I can be a major influence in Cantopop yet because this is not only about me but the collective effort of all the singers in Hong Kong.”
“Each musician, no matter which generation he or she is from, has an important role in the industry and what the Hong Kong music industry really needs is everyone to unite to create an exciting Cantopop music scene.”
Anson Lo is wearing a Prada Cotton terry cloth hoodie and Bvlgari B.ZERO1 Rock Four-Band ring in 18kt yellow gold with studded spiral and pavé diamonds on the edges
With the spotlight shining bright on Lo and his fellow MIRROR members, their actions and comments are under scrutiny. Treading a narrow path is no stroll in the park but is one that Lo takes in his stride.
“There is more pressure since I started my solo career and that comes from not wanting to disappoint my fans. I worry a lot about my performances — that I can’t reach their expectations. Despite the pressure, I am still enjoying every minute of my career and I feel very privileged and lucky to be able to do something I love.”
“I just try to remind myself to be the best in everything that I do. Now, I am someone who many people look up to, not only children but even adults, and I have become one of their driving forces in life, so I try to always be a positive role model for all my fans.”
A Focused Outlook
So begins the new year on a high after a breakout year. Under his solo music venture, Lo released three new singles in the year — bringing the total count to seven thus far. Further inroads to his acting endeavours saw him casted for main roles for the Hong Kong adaptation of Japanese romantic comedy-drama Ossan’s Love and his silver screen debut in the film Showbiz Spy. The landmark year was marked with Lo being awarded the Best New Asian Artist (Mandarin) at the 2021 Mnet Asian Music Awards ceremony.
Anson Lo is wearing a Fendi Cotton linen jacket, cotton linen shirt, and jewellery by Bvlgari
“I’m very excited about the new year because it signifies a new beginning. Looking back at 2021, I was very lucky to have been given a lot of new opportunities. I’m very curious and excited to see what this year will bring for me. Despite all that has happened for me last year, I feel there are still a lot of areas for self-improvement.”
“I started 2021 under a lot of pressure, promised myself that I would try to be a bit more transparent with my emotions and I wanted my music to be an outlet for that. I have started to personalise my work more by incorporating my own outlook and experiences in life, so I can be closer to my fans and audience.”
“In the first two years of my career in the entertainment industry, I was very shy and stoic with my emotions, and I often tried to hide my feelings. As a newcomer, I felt that my job was to go full throttle with my work and not let my own personal sentiments and feelings get in the way. Even though there were times that I wasn’t happy, I told myself not to think about it.”
“In this past year, I have learned to face my anxieties, unhappiness and keep negative feelings in control. By facing these emotions, I was able to find a more vulnerable side of myself and accept these feelings. I’ve also discovered that by being more candid with myself, it will help with my career in the long run, especially as an actor.”
Anson Lo is wearing a Versace Wool sweater and jewellery by Bvlgari
As the main lead dancer and English rapper of MIRROR, Lo has his sights firmly set on redefining the dance music genre of Cantopop and concentrating more on rapping in 2022. “I will concentrate on dance music this year as it’s something I love and I want to show everyone that dance can be incorporated with different tempos of music and not just fast-paced songs,” shares Lo.
“In my upcoming music projects, I would like to explore rap more and experiment with different types of rap. However, for the first half of 2022, I will be concentrating on my acting projects as I have been very lucky with new opportunities to try out different roles.
Two new screen credits were added to Lo’s name as the multihyphenate appeared in Ossan’s Love HK 大叔的爱 and Showbiz Spy 假冒女团. The former is an adaptation of the 2018 Japanese television drama about a young man who finds himself caught in a love triangle between his boss and his roommate while the latter is about a boy band member who goes undercover as a woman to infiltrate and investigate an exploitative reality-TV contest for wannabe pop stars.
Anson Lo is wearing a Versace Denim jacket, wool sweater, wool pants, and jewellery by Bvlgari
“When I got this role, I was a bit nervous because I have to be in drag and I was very worried about negative feedback,” explains Lo. “My character is part of a secret agency where we uncover crimes committed towards underaged teenagers and help them get out of danger. For this role, I had to pretend to be a girl by entering a competition to try to get inside information.”
Without any formal training in drama or acting school, being in front of the camera was a steep learning curve for Lo. “I started my career in a boy group competition so acting has been very difficult for me,” recalls Lo. “I was extremely lucky in my second year as I was given a lot of chances and am very grateful to all the producers who believed in me. Looking back at my first major acting gig ‘We Are The Littles 男排女將’ I was holding back a lot as I was afraid of what others would think of me and my acting.”
Anson Lo is wearing a Prada Cotton terry cloth hoodie; Versace Wool pants; Christian Louboutin Leather sneakers and jewellery by Bvlgari
With adequate research, the guidance of the film producer, director, and some inspiration from the movie White Chicks, Lo was finally able to have fun and enjoy the production process of Showbiz Spy. He shared that he simply had to pick out some nuances and traits of being a girl and incorporate them into his character as he had to portray a guy who was forced to pretend to be a girl, for the sake of justice.
Slightly more than a month after the film’s premiere in November 2021, Lo noted one big similarity between himself and his character Lui Tsz-Ging — the importance of friends. “Lui is very righteous and is willing to go all out for his friends. He is also very easily moved by the emotions of his friends, which is very similar to my real self. I found myself taking the initiative to reach out more to my friends in the past year.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Since MIRROR’s debut, their rise to stardom grew exponentially, culminating in a collaboration with McDonald’s Hong Kong in October last year. Identifying all 12 members may be a challenge at first (especially when there are two Ansons) but here is a tip — each member has a representative colour and Lo’s is pink.
Anson Lo is wearing a Versace Wool sweater, wool pants, Greca leather sneakers, and jewellery by Bvlgari
“Being a part of MIRROR has always given me a sense of safety because there are 12 of us and each of us has our own strengths. On the other hand, I am by myself when going solo. So to perform a full three or four-minute song alone, I need to be aware of every part of the song. Whether it’s a dance song or a slow ballad, I need to make sure I can handle the whole performance.”
Having made a name for himself with his electrifying dance moves and choreography, dance forms an important part of Lo’s identity. Justin Timberlake counts as one of his musical heroes after witnessing a live performance during his high school days. Still, Lo does not feel he is the finished article just yet as he continues to practice diligently with his choreographer. “I try not to confine myself to a certain dance style, it helps open my eyes by watching other dancers,” says Lo who spends his personal time watching videos of dancers from around the world for inspiration and ideas.
“This is a very intense challenge for me but going solo pushed me to grow, learn and deliver the best that I can to the audience. The most challenging thing now is training my vocal skills in a very short amount of time. I’m very grateful I can now fully express who I am and show my fans what I can do, be it different song concepts or even trying out different genres.”
Anson Lo is wearing Versace Denim jacket, wool sweater, wool pants and jewelleries by Bvlgari
One such example is the single “神队友” (loosely translated to “Teammate”), a slow ballad that is a departure from Lo’s latest single Megahit. Incidentally, it is particularly close to the music artiste’s heart. “This song is about friendship and the way friends support each other. It reflects the friendship I have with the other members of MIRROR as well as my family. Throughout the past three years, regardless of whether it was a happy or sad moment, my family supported me 100%. I am grateful to have them behind me.”
“This song also reflects the love of my fans to me and how they supported me. Regardless of the scale of the project, they always want me to have the best to face the challenges ahead. I am very lucky to have my fans to support me in all that I do.”
Creative Direction Patryk Chaou
Styling Kinki Tsui
Grooming Rainbow | Annie G Chan Make Up
Hair Denny Ku | Chic Private I Salon
Styling Assistant Lara Cho
Production Jeannie Ang
Click here to catch up with the rest of our February 2022 issue once you’re done with this story about our cover star Anson Lo!