Celeste Wong grew up in Dunedin, New Zealand. Her Chinese parents wanted the best for their daughter, which translated into wanting Celeste to become an accountant, a doctor or a lawyer – safe, secure, respectable.
It’s not that Celeste was a rebel. But studying Accounting in Dunedin was really lacklustre, so she secretly enrolled to do design instead and got a part-time job in a café, learning the craft of a barista. Upon graduation Celeste started working in fashion, helping to put together fashion shows and getting more and more engaged in arts and design. At the same time, she began to think about acting.
“I always aspired to do something creative, but given my background, I didn’t realise it was actually a real possibility”.
Once you dip into something that is your ultimate calling, it’s hard to pull in the reigns. Celeste took acting courses, signed up for student films to get experience, went to casting calls.
When Celeste moved to London, she got a job as a barista at Flat White, a coffee mecca in Soho, renowned for its superb long blacks and flat whites. This is where she met Chris Turner, a film director and a fellow coffee connoisseur. They started chatting, became friends and co-created an art film, G(O)OD+(D)EVIL.
In the film Celeste plays both the bride and the widow, good and evil, strong and weak – her most expressive, physically and creatively challenging project to date.
“I think talent can be learned. No one has experience at the beginning of a journey. You just have to try things out and give it your best shot. Your support network is really important. If I did not have Chris equally invested in this project, if I did not have my friends encouraging and supporting me, I would not have made it.”
Perhaps it does take someone to believe in you before you acknowledge yourself.