Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. Each week in 27 Questions, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims, aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same duration it takes to sit through a two-minute speed date.
This week, we’re chatting to Regina Zhang — Fair Director of Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong. Originally from Singapore, Zhang began her career in the creative industries with a formal education in London (where she specialised in works which manipulated the use of lighting and audio-visuals). A passion for new media arts led her to pivot early in her career. After moving to Hong Kong she made the jump to consulting, working on a variety of business development projects for galleries, PR agencies and a range of other institutions.
Subsequently, Zhang played a crucial role in the development of the K11 Art Foundation: helping to craft the not-for-profit’s brand identity with distinctive products and initiatives like the K11 Design Store. 15 years later, she was appointed to her current position as Director of the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong, wherein she’s responsible for fostering cultural exchange and creating strategic partnerships at the global level. Typically taking place in Hong Kong in May, this year’s fair dates have been postponed following the shift in the international art calendar due to the pandemic. Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong returns for its 2020 edition on 20–23 August 2020.
Between meetings, we catch up with Zhang to hear her muse about junk food, essential cinema and when she last rode the Star Ferry.
Name: Regina Zhang
Neighbourhood: West Kowloon
Occupation: Fair Director, Affordable Art Fair
1. What is your life motto?
“Enjoy where you are now.”
2. What was your first job?
Waitressing — I did a lot of odd jobs like that during the summer holidays when I was in school.
3. What is your drink of choice?
Water or Laguvulin. I know — rather extreme.
4. When was the last time you drove a car?
Three to four years ago? I’m told that I am a bad driver.
5. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?
My dog, Lulu.
6. Which phone app could you not live without?
I guess if I had to pick, it’d be Pinterest. I get a lot of inspiration from browsing a wide range of topics: from work stuff to design and lifestyle.
7. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fast food! Hamburgers, pizza, fried chicken — anything like that.
8. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?
9. What is the top destination on your bucket list?
Cappadocia (Turkey). I’m keen on any place that is a good summering destination.
10. How often do you prepare your own meals?
Three to four times a week? I love cooking — it’s sort of therapeutic.
11. When did you last ride the Star Ferry? What were you doing/where did you go?
I think it was in September last year: I had to take the ferry to get to my office, because land transportation was ‘obstructed’. It’s something I really should do more often.
12. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
A large pizza. Cheesy stuffed crust.
13. What is one movie everyone should see?
Fallen Angels by Wong Kar-Wai.
14. What is your typical Sunday like?
I take my dog Lulu to the park so she can enjoy play time — both of us love the outdoors. Alternatively, I take her hiking.
15. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?
My days in London — so willful and carefree.
16. If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?
Michelle Obama, Clint Eastwood, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith. And Gandalf — you didn’t say they couldn’t be fictional!
17. Where do you go when you want to be alone?
18. If you had to describe Hong Kong in one word, what would it be?
19. What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Swimming lessons with my sister — the best part is the food we’d eat after.
20. What is your favourite scent in the whole world?
21. Are you a good cook?
I think so? At any rate, I make a stellar spaghetti aglio e olio.
22. Do you have a catch phrase?
“Everything will be fine”.
23. Have you ever experienced love at first sight? Tell us about it.
My rescue dog Lulu! She’s a cross between a Pekinese, Golden Retriever, Greyhound and Chow Chow.
24. How many countries have you been to?
25. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
A bit of both — depends on the quality of sleep I get. Sometimes I like to stay up and watch old films until I fall asleep.
26. Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life?
I mean, are we ever really alone?
27. What is the last dream you remember waking up to?
Waking up in the middle of the night craving a steak sandwich which I’d had the night before. Apparently, it was a very good steak sandwich.