Meet the Sole Heir to the Crazy Rich Vietnamese Dynasty Featured in HBO’s ‘House of Ho’
Upholding the legacy of a multi-millionaire family that achieved a life of opulence through hard work and resilience is a herculean task in and of itself — unless they happen to be Asian, in which expectations of exponential growth must often be satisfied.
Washington Ho, a Vietnamese American man in his late 30s, is up to the challenge.
“House of Ho” will follow patriarch Binh and his wife Hue, their children Judy and Washington, and extended family members Lesley, Aunt Tina, and Cousin Sammy.
Dubbed a “former, hard-partying playboy,” Washington moved away from that lifestyle and is on track to follow in his father’s footsteps with aims to go beyond that.
“I have flown private jets to Vegas and Miami, taken yachts out in the south of France. I was addicted to many things. I make Dan Bilzerian look like an amateur,” Washington tells NextShark. “I created that character way before him.”
He is married to Lesley, who is also Vietnamese American and works as a pharmacist. They have two kids, Roosevelt and Lincoln.
Washington maintains that his family’s success is rooted neither in archetypal Asian nor Western mentalities, but in their own unique values. These include deflecting other people’s “bulls***.”
“I think what made them [my parents] successful has nothing to do with Asian or Western mentality,” Washington says. “It’s the HO mentality. Do what you can to survive, but at full speed. Dream big and never give up or give in to people’s bulls***.”
The Ho’s have been described as the real-life “Crazy Rich Asians“. Washington acknowledges similarities in their lifestyle, but he is quick to point out how his family differs.
“Nothing was bogus [in the film]. My family has the lifestyle,” he says. “But if anything, my parents didn’t let us actually live the life we really live, because they thought it would be tone-deaf to today’s environment. My family is not about the material bulls*** the movie shows. Our wealth stems from our health, our lifestyle day-in and day-out. We don’t try to be anyone else but us, and we couldn’t care less about what anyone else is driving or wearing.”
Like many other Asian families, the Ho’s place great importance in accomplishment. As the sole heir to their legacy, Washington feels the pressure to top his parents’ achievements.
“I have felt pressure all of my life. As the sole heir to our family legacy and our next generation of Ho’s, my job is to preserve this legacy and build upon it in multiples,” he shares. “Because as you know, in Asian culture, for continued luck and fortune, the sole heir must build upon the platform that his ancestors put up before him.”
Washington is thrilled to share his family’s story in “House of Ho.” Due to COVID-19, however, the show’s release has been postponed twice.
Their status has not spared them from the problems many Asian Americans have faced since the beginning of the pandemic. They have also been victims of discrimination.
“My family has experienced discriminatory behavior in our own local Kroger’s in River Oaks. It happened to my sister as she was waiting in line,” Washington recalls. “Of course, some lady started yapping how it was our fault for all this corona. Being the minority in my neighborhood in this environment is not easy, that’s for sure.”
Washington hopes that the show will help Asian Americans see that the truth always prevails and that it is time for the community to be open and speak up as one.
“What I am most excited about for people to see in the show is that it’s okay to mess up and try again,” he says. “The era in which your parents made you feel like a failure when you get a B or make a simple life mistake will be over after my show comes out.
“No Asian has had more opportunities and failures than myself, and if I can make it out while still being me, then I hope any Asian child feeling like a failure or disapproved by his parents gets inspired by me to keep trucking and be you. One day, your parents will have no choice but to approve and respect you — rich or poor we’re all human at the end of the day.”
Washington also hopes that the show will help more people see Asians in a different light.
“I look forward for [them] to understand our Asian culture better and why we are the way we are; to understand that we are not just all lawyers, doctors and math geniuses. We are human and we f*** up too. We just hide it under the rug,” he says. “But after my show, you’ll realize that I lifted the whole rug for the world to see that all Asians will feel accepted, and the world will understand our culture from inside-out instead of outside-in.”
Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.
Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.
However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.
We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.