Meet the go-getting founder of Matahari Bags chasing each and every one of her dreams.

Designer Josie Ho
Designer Josie Ho

Taken from the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Rollacoaster. Order your copy now.

You’d have a struggle trying to pin down Josie Ho, she’s a multi-hyphenate that will seemingly never settle into definition. Her big break came with a role in Steven Soderbergh’s Hollywood blockbuster Contagion back in 1994, setting her up for over two decades of success to come.

Amongst curating an exhibition of Pattie Boyd’s never-before-seen photos of Swinging Sixties Britain and accruing roles as a producer, director and singer, Ho has also been hard at work on her bespoke accessory line Mata Hari, which she founded back in 2007. The brand takes its name from a famous female espionage spy in WW1, exuding dangerous glamour in all of its exports. In a rare moment of free time, we caught up with Ho to talk about all of her insane projects, and where she plans to take things in the future.

Designer Josie Ho side
Designer Josie Ho side

Hey Josie! What do you love most about being on stage/on screen?
I love performing arts, and I’m training all the time to get better and better. I believe that I was born with a gift to perform. I know it’s a cheesy answer, but it’s true that if people want to widen their horizon, for me the only way to go is to do acting. 

You’ve had quite a busy schedule these last few years, what’s it been like making the jump from film to fashion?
It was a total Rollacoaster for me last year. I made so many promises last year and found so much of the work so inspiring, so in 2020 I’m just letting my jobs lead me.

Do you have plans to expand into other accessories and maybe even ready to wear?
For Matahari, we always feel like we are dipping our toe into some sort of accessory because bags need serious and extensive decoration these days. I guess we thought it was too complicated when we first started the brand – I don’t think we’ll grow into ready to wear fashion yet.  

What is it about fashion that you resonate with?
I think fashion means customizing my mood and attitude every single day, it has made many of my dreams come true. I hope it works like that for everybody else too. 

What was the hardest part about making your upcoming documentary Finding Bliss?
The most challenging task was to have the courage to invite all my Rock Hero’s to join this trip into the unknown. I had to work hard to persuade them to embark on such a unique journey with me.

You recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of your band Josie and the Uni Boys, how was it?
I know that for a lot of bands, 10 years can often be a bit of a breaking point. I had a moment of feeling very dazed and depressed, afraid of losing the musicians in the band and them wanting to do other, new things. Luckily, we are just like a family now. We are always open to discussing new ideas and keep finding ourselves exploring exciting new collaborative avenues.

Who are your dream collaborators?
We’re inspired by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, Led Zeppelin, Wolfmother, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, X Japan – there are also many Hong Kong rock legends we would have loved to collaborate with that have passed away. 

How would you describe the relationship between you and your fans?
I think the reason my fans supporters have such a close bond is because they enjoy and see value in the work I do. They’re not the sort of fans who chase, they are respectful and appreciative, and I really love all everything we share.

Are there any other frontiers you would like to see yourself conquer?
Right now, I’m driven more by moving scripts and moments in films than anything else. I let luck, destiny, fun and meaningful projects take me wherever they want.

Bailey Slater