You see them on TV, on the big screen, and even in your dreams. But every now and then – if you’re really lucky, you might find yourself face to face with your favourite celebrity. Trust us, it happens ... and it never seems to be when you’re prepared for it. Team YP shares their most exciting – and often embarrassing – chance encounters with some very famous folks.
A lesson in fame at the museum
Fred Elliott from the British soap opera Coronation Street. Well, not Fred himself (he’s a fictional character after all), but the actor, John Savident. OKAY, so it was less that I met him, more that he got caught up in a sea of school students in the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in Britain, and he basically swept along with us. We quoted a lot of his famous lines at him. He laughed about it.
Ginny Wong, Sub-editor
... Or maybe they're all avoiding me?
Honestly, I have never had a surprise encounter with anyone famous. So either my eyesight is bad and I can’t recognise celebs, or I am the most famous person in the room wherever I go.
Sam Gusway, Sub-editor
Maksim? Why didn't you aksim?
One NYE, my parents and I were shuffling along Canton Rd because my dad rather unwisely drove and had parked at The Gateway. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tall man who looked a lot like Maksim – the Croatian pianist I was obsessed with at the time. But I thought, “Nah, can’t be,” and he walked next to me for quite a while. Then a woman came up to hom and asked for his autograph. By the time my fangirling brain processed it WAS Maksim, we had to branch off to the car park where we’d left our car. Been kicking myself ever since.
Heidi Yeung, Web editor
A get-Richie-quick scheme
One summer, I was walking back home after a day with my friends, when I saw a man in a black car waving at me with a broad smile behind the YMCA’s car park. I realised the man was Richie Jen Hsien-chi, the famous Taiwanese actor and singer, and I quickly waved back.
Sebastien Raybaud, Reporter
Hollywood hindsight is 20/20
As I was waiting to interview Hugh Bonneville, who starred in British TV show Downton Abbey and the film Paddington, I started talking to the only other person also in the waiting room with me. She talked about earlier in the day she had taken her child to Disneyland, and I said something about how there must have been quite a queue to get on the rides. The woman gave me a funny look and said that they had fast passes. It was only later that I realised I had been talking to Lisa S, an American model, actress and TV presenter.
Young Wang, Senior reporter
Lesson one at Page One
I met actor Simon Yam Tat-wah in 2002. I was reading in the Page One bookstore in Kowloon Tong, when suddenly I realised there was a well-built, tall guy standing next to me. Well, because I was busy reading, I didn’t know it was Yam at first, but when he said, “Excuse me,” I realised I’d heard this voice before. After that, I felt pretty embarrassed and stepped aside. I wish I had asked for his autograph. After that I always try to be aware of who is around me, just in case that sort of thing happens again.
Ben Pang, Reporter
Before he was my boss
Before Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, became owner of the SCMP (and therefore my boss), I bumped into him in 2015 at a private airport in Hong Kong. He was surrounded by bodyguards, all of whom were wearing sunglasses. Even though tycoons have a bit of a reputation for being snobby and for looking down on people, Ma was actually really very nice to me. He smiled, and mouthed hi at me.
Tiffany Choi, Junior reporters manager
It was all a dream
I’ve actually bumped into quite a few famous people, none of whom I really care about. The one awesome encounter I’ve had with a celebrity actually happened in a dream – when I was about nine or 10, I dreamt that I met Twins singer Charlene Choi. In my dream, I bumped into her on a quiet street in Causeway Bay, and I was super excited. I walked up to her and said, “Tell me this isn’t a dream! Am I really seeing you in person?!” She smiled at me and autographed something for me ... I remember feeling so happy that I had finally met Charlene in person, that I felt horribly betrayed when I woke up …
Nicola Chan, Reporter
He looks much bigger on billboards
I was getting off the work shuttle bus from Tai Po outside the Causeway Bay office one evening, and there was a rather short, baseball-capped, obvious gym bunny dressed in all black, standing half a metre from the bus door. He smiled, so I smiled back, thinking how nice it was for a stranger to randomly smile at another. Then my friend prodded me in the ribs: “You know who that was, right? Aaron Kwok!” All those Physical gym posters never suggest the actor hardly comes up to my brow.
Karly Cox, Deputy editor
A woman in a yellow dress
I was walking down the streets of Hongdae in South Korea, on the hunt for holiday souvenirs for my friends and family, when all of a sudden I saw a couple of television cameras following a woman wearing a bright yellow dress. When she turned around, I realised it was Yura from K-pop group Girl’s Day. I think my heart skipped a beat when she looked straight at me ...
Andrew McNicol, Content creator