Christmas with Kathy
This year will be one of the most beautiful and memorable festive seasons for supermodel Kathy Chow – the loving mom is expecting her second child, writes Artemis Lam.
In a studio full of Christmas paraphernalia – evening dresses, glittering heels and glamourous jewellery – Kathy exudes an easy charm. Just as we sit down to chat, Kathy reveals her “happy secret”. “This holiday season would probably be my best one yet,” she says, her face shining in a soft and beautifully maternal glow.
Christmas is Kathy’s favourite time of the year. “It is about joy, colour, warmth and family. When I was a kid, my parents decorated our home with a Christmas tree, lights and gifts, and we had delicious Christmas dinner. Even now, a beautiful twinkling Christmas tree still amazes me. Picking the right Christmas tree is fun and it marks the start of winter festivities. Decorating it is an interesting process – what ornaments to put on? Where to place the items? It involves decision-making and creativity, and that’s exactly what kids like.”
Decorating the Christmas tree is still a joy for Kathy. “I don’t just add typical Christmas ornaments on the tree. I also decorate it with my personal collection – unique items and souvenirs from my trips. I think it is something beyond Christmas celebration, the ornaments represent happy memories of my journeys, stories and happenings.”
But now she has a “small” problem with the tree, her 17-month-old son. “My son Jacques is a year old now and he can walk around on his own, exploring here and there. I am figuring out how to safely place the delicate ornaments to prevent him from getting hurt when playing, or accidently breaking the fragile decorations. Setting up a baby fence may help, but I want him to learn about Christmas by feeling and touching the tree. I will have to rearrange and put the child-safe ornaments at the bottom.”
Now that Kathy has a family, she finds that Christmas has a newer and deeper meaning, rather than just a holiday. “I used to plan for leisure trips during Christmas, or throw parties and meeting with friends,” but now she devotes her time to family gatherings and choosing gifts.
“My husband is French and the French people regard Christmas as an important time of the year to gather together, just like Chinese New Year for us. We give each other gifts; not necessarily something luxurious, but something just right for them to show we love and care.” With a wink Kathy says that she has already started her “gift project” for this Christmas, adding that it requires time, observation and patience.
This Christmas is being spent in town, a quieter time for her and the family. “Jacques is still small, he is not yet able to appreciate different places or cultures. Besides, I am not in a suitable condition for flying,” she smiles. “We will celebrate with family, and my husband will prepare some delicious food. I am a foodie. I love to try different kinds of good food and nice restaurants.”
However, cooking is not Kathy’s favourite pastime. “I like to have friends around, when they come to visit me, I may cook while drinking and chit-chatting with them. I enjoy the cheerful atmosphere. But I don’t like cooking all by myself, it’s too lonely.” But this Christmas and New Year’s she definitely will not be celebrating with wine, nor will she be lonely – she will be enjoying the company of friends and family, counting down to the New Year 2017 and, more importantly, the birth of her second child.
The Chinese New Year is another annual highlight for Kathy. She loves traditional Chinese customs and the festive mood of that time of the year. “Just like Christmas, the Lunar New Year is fun for children. You learn to cherish the small things; they become memorable. Things like buying new clothing, cleaning and decorating your home with fresh flowers and Fei-chun, going to New Year market for to seek good fortune for the coming year. And getting lai see is definitely exciting.”
Last year her son was just a baby in arms, but this year he can toddle around and collect all the lai see for himself. “Not only my son would love it, my husband likes lai see too. He enjoys giving it to the kids, thinking it’s a happy way to share. I am going to celebrate with Jacques in the same way my parents did. He will have joyous memories of the Chinese New Year festival and it is a great way to learn Chinese culture and heritage.”
Having a baby has brought big changes and new excitement in Kathy’s life. While expecting Jacques, she had a photo shoot for an album while pregnant as a keepsake. Her beauty, glamour and motherly glow captured everyone’s heart. However her newborn baby boy stole the show with bathing pictures released by the loving mom when he was just three-months old – too cute to handle!
She defines herself as a laid-back mom.
“I am an optimistic person, rather relaxed and I take things easy, not the monster parent type. I enjoy so much the time with my son and I am not in a hurry to get him to playgroups or enrol in any nursery school. I don’t push myself too much about being a mom. To me, parenting is a natural learning process. Every kid has his own personality and needs. There is no fixed way to raise a child.”
She said that she will still continue with her modelling and writing. “Family is the priority. I will adjust the quantity of work, but not give it up entirely. We need work to enrich our lives, or it would be dull.
“I am lucky, my son is not a cry baby. But we missed some intimate moments with him for the same reason. He is our first baby and we didn’t have experience in raising kids. After just a year,
I find him growing up too quickly! He is no longer a tiny baby and I should have hugged him more. Unlike others crying for attention, he is usually calm when we leave him sleeping in the bed. But we learned that we should interact more with him.” Kathy is determined to get closer by cuddling a lot more with her second baby, no matter if there is crying or not.
I asked how she will celebrate St Valentine’s Day. “I seldom celebrate the day, I am too practical for it. I think lovers can celebrate on any day of the year, not necessarily sticking to one particular day. It becomes too commercial – expensive flowers and chocolates are the must-haves, booking and squeezing into crowded restaurants for dinner is the run down of the day! But, I admit that I do love receiving flowers!”
She grins, recalling an interesting experience dining in a top restaurant on this special day. “We had no intention to celebrate Valentine’s, we just went to get a nice meal. We were seated among young couples holding hands and occasionally kissing and indulging in the romantic atmosphere. Comparatively, we seemed to be a long married couple and not as ‘passionate’ as all the others!”