Gaile Lok interview


Our ever-sexy cover girl, Gaile Lok, gets down to business with Arthur Tam – and chats about her new jewellery label… and a little bit on Leon, too. Photography Calvin Sit

A curvy figure, long legs nd strikingly luscious lips has made Gaile Lok (born Gia Lok) one of Hong Kong’s sexiest bombshells. You might recognise the 32-year-old from her 2012 worldwide campaign with luxury accessories label Folli Follie, where she’s staring seductively into the camera from a bubble bath with nothing on but bangles and necklaces. The campaign was plastered all over the main streets of Hong Kong as well as in the MTR stations and served as a huge milestone for the young model’s career. 

Lok started her modelling career at the tender age of 14 in her home city of San Francisco and has already accumulated quite a resume since she came to Hong Kong more than a decade ago. She’s been the cover model for fashion magazines like Elle and Marie Claire, spokesmodel for Shiseido and has even walked the runways at New York Fashion Week. 

Paisley jacket Etro, $18,585
Sunglasses Anna-Karin Karklsson, $3,950
White leather shorts Blessed Are The Meek $3,850
Shoes model's own

However, despite her success in the modelling sphere, Lok’s real jump into the Hong Kong spotlight – and the tabloids – came when she married one of the Four Heavenly Kings, Leon Lai, and reached new heights with their subsequent divorce. 

The couple started dating back in 2006, got hitched in Vegas in 2009, but later announced their divorce in October 2012. Ever since then, rumours about Lok’s financial situation and dating status have been hot topics. Some say she’s broke while others say she’s living a cushy life from the alimony she’s received from Lai. And then there’s talk that she’s married to a New Zealand surf instructor, which Lok has denied on numerous occasions. With all the gossip going around, it’s no wonder that Lok sought refuge away from Hong Kong during these paparazzi-crazed times. 

Now, after nine months she’s making her appearance back in the city, sporting a golden tan and looking as sexy as ever. The long-legged lovely sits with Time Out after our tantalising cover shoot to talk about her future and new business. 

What has been keeping you busy lately, Gaile?
I’ve been quite busy because I just started my own jewellery label. I’m starting out with 20 pieces and I will have another 10 pieces for our Christmas collection coming up as well. Every year I’m planning to come out with 30 pieces total.

Bracelet Ozlem Esen
Jacket Stylist's own
Bra Agent Provocateur, $1,475
Turqoise trousers Etro, $4,552

When did you get started with this new business venture?
I got started the end of last year when I moved to Bali and met my roommate Ozlem Esen, who designed the jewellery label I’m wearing today. She is a jewellery designer and a musician, and she inspired me to make my own label. She’s like a princess, she’s my best friend and she has been helping me develop my own brand. I’m not doing mass production because I want to focus on the quality and details of the design. It’s like creating art pieces. We will see where this takes me.

What’s your label called?
It’s called Smoky Roses by Gia. It’s gonna be launching in November and will be available in Australia, online in the States and also in Bali at Ozlem’s boutique. As of now I don’t have a launch date for Hong Kong.

Where did you get the inspiration for the name?
I’ve always loved roses, and I think roses interpret so many different things. It’s love, it’s hate, it’s friendship, it’s family. And smoky represents how in life you kind of see everything, but everything’s not so clear. 

How about the inspiration for the pieces in your collection? How would describe your designs?
My designs are quite artistic and rock. I use a lot of silver with gold plating and there are a lot of fine details. In school, I studied fine arts and painting was my major but I didn’t feel it was a perfect fit for me. It was really difficult for me when I tried to paint. But with jewellery it came naturally and I used the skills I had learned from painting – like how to break up something or how to look at something from a particular angle. 

How would you describe your own personal style?
I’m very masculine sexy. My character’s quite strong, but I still like delicate things. 

Speaking of strength, we hear you are quite an athlete and particularly a strong surfer?
I love surfing. I think my biggest wave was an eight-foot wave. Recently in San Diego, I hit my nose and it bruised really badly. I’ve had all sorts of injuries from busted lips, black eyes and hits to the head. I also really like snowboarding
and cycling.

You sound like an all-round Cali-girl.
Well, I am a Cali-girl, that’s the thing. I love cycling when I’m in San Diego or in Venice Beach – it’s so fun. I enjoy stuff like that.

You wouldn’t say you’re a delicate person then, right?
I am not delicate at all, but I am still a girl.

We’re sure many would see you as a sexy lady instead. What do you think epitomises a sexy woman?
Confidence. I’m not really used to shooting in bras and stuff. It was really, really fun today, but it’s also something that I haven’t done in a very long time. When I used to model in America, you just wear a bra and it’s fine. Then you come to Asia and you do a lot of beauty stuff and things change, but I’m really happy. I can’t wait to see the photos.

Bangle Ozlem Esen
Black harness Inch Child, $1,780
Cherokee Top Suki Cohen + Tangram, $1,100
Leather skirt Blessed Are The Meek, $3,850

Pumps Giuseppe Zanotti, $7,960

When did you start modelling in the US?
When I was 14. I was doing all the Mervyns and all the Macy’s ads. I went back to a Macy’s recently in Pleasanton and still saw myself. It was an ad from 15 years ago, and it’s still there. I don’t feel like I changed that much. 

How did you make the jump from Pleasanton to Hong Kong?
Twelve, thirteen years ago my booker then said there weren’t any Chinese girls who were Westerners here in Hong Kong. There were only Eurasian girls. I was the first ABC kind of deal. I was planning to just come here for a few months and go to art school, but three months turned to now.

And you’ve had quite the journey since you’ve been here. I heard that you wouldn’t date Hong Kong guys any more. Is that true?
I don’t know that I said that. I’ve dated plenty of Hong Kong guys. I have a lot of friends who do say that the dating scene here is really complicated, though. For me, I actually don’t have a type. Every one of my boyfriends have all been extremely different for some reason. Generally, I don’t think there is a type. The emotional and mental connection is really important. It’s nothing about how tall, short, white, or anything like that.

Since you are an ABC, do you find that there is a big cultural difference to dating someone who’s local?
As long as there’s love, any relationship between anyone will work. 

Would you say that you’ve moved on after your divorce from Leon? Do you think you are ready to go back into the dating scene?
Relationships are something I’m going to keep really personal from now on. I prefer to keep my work separate from my relationships. There’s always going to be times when you think back to a person, whether it’s your past boyfriend or relationship – it’s always going to happen. I’m just really busy with my jewellery line and I try not to think too much about other things. 

Are you happy now?
At the moment, I’m pretty happy about where I am. I’ve worked really hard for the last 15, 20 years. My mum has always taught me that the most important thing is save money and buy your first house. That was really smart advice because as a model, you never know where your career goes or stops. Right now, I’m just happy to be doing jewellery. It’s a passion of mine. It might work out, it might not. But I’m going to give it my all.  


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