TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
Career wise, 2020 was a big breakthrough for Joanne Missingham. Stepping out of the field of Go, an abstract strategy board game, she entered the world of fashion and entertainment and became the center of media attention wherever she went. Despite all the changes, she had never given up playing Go. Committing to the spirit of the game, Joanne had gone from a professional Go player with a 7 dan ranking in Taiwan to becoming a dedicated promoter of Go culture.
The Spirit of the Game
With the recent rise of artificial intelligence, the golden age for professional Go players is gradually decreasing. Like athletes, they are now facing the challenge of transformation and adaptation after retirement. In 2016, the CEO of Seed Music, Feng Wu contacted Joanne and asked if she would be interested in entering the entertainment industry. It was the perfect timing: she was feeling like it was impossible to move forward with her Go playing career and that her life had been too simple for too long. Perhaps it was time to explore the different opportunities life has to offer. And just like that, Joanne entered the entertainment industry. However, unlike most celebrities trying to remove their labels, she is still focused on Go playing. “I’m grateful for the fans and friends who knew me because of Go. It has accompanied me for 20 years and become an inseparable part of my life.” Reflecting on her past self who was fully engrossed in the world of Go, Joanne is thankful of her past that made her who she is in the present. Now, she is able to express a different side of her in the field of fashion and entertainment. And in the face of growth and improvement, Joanne had one rule: “Take the path where you can understand yourself more clearly.” Speaking of what it meant to grow up, she said Go is like her religion. Growing up, it had given her strength and power and offered her guidance through the different stages of life. Even till now, her emotions are intertwined with the black and white stones. Through this journey of exploration, Joanne had seen her own shadow as her dedication towards the game resembles her tenacity when it comes to performing.
Life with No Limits
Back to 2019, Joanne was shooting My Missing Valentine, the first film she starred in. She vividly remembers how nerve-wracking it was. There was a scene where she had forgotten her line and her mind just went completely blank. “No one was mad; Patty was so kind and simply told me to go again.” Joanne’s agent, Annie, chimes in saying it was only ten words to memorize, and yet she still forgot it, which is why Joanne still remembers the incident so clearly. Now, for Joanne, she sees reading the script as the most important step before shooting starts. It is the process in which she has to understand the character thoroughly. In contrast to Go playing that is all about maintaining a calm state, acting requires the release of emotions. Once the camera is rolling, you have to get in character immediately without much time to spare. This is what Joanne is working on at the moment. She also reviews her own work to practice ways in which she can improve and give a more natural performance. As a girl, there is still so much Joanne wants to do, not to mention a dream of saving the world. A big fan of Wuxia films and female superheroes like Black Widow and Wonder Woman, she hopes that she will get a chance in the future to play the protagonist in an action movie. Speaking of “being yourself,” Joanne is never afraid. Whenever she encounters any negative feedback on social media, she chooses to learn to accept them. Never someone who is bothered by other people’s opinion, she says it’s important to have faith in yourself and understand what you’re doing. Perhaps this strong conviction stemmed from reading. Having recently just finished Dr. Muer Chou’s book on overextending oneself, Joanne realizes one thing: when you truly believe that you are good enough, there is nothing you need to prove to the world because your hard work is not done for other people, it is for yourself, and yourself only.
A Romantic Kishi
A frequent traveler, Joanne says she usually takes around 20 trips per year and teases how her house is more like a hotel for her. Ever since the pandemic happened, she had a lot of time to think and learn how to “slow down.” From her glorious Go achievement to a pause-and-reset in 2020, she now wants to turn her focus to Go playing education and spreading awareness. With over a year of preparation and development, an App offering online Go courses will be ready to launch in September. “I want to introduce everyone to Go and let them understand how it’s actually a really fun sport.” Through this platform, people will get the chance to understand what is Go and its charm by actually playing online. From our interview, I see Joanne’s persistence when it comes to her dreams and ideals. Single at the moment, she reveals that she loves kids and her biggest wish is to start her own family by the age of thirty. In her ideal, her significant other is someone who is understanding, humorous and mature. Together, they would enjoy the simple, romantic joy of cooking together in their future home.