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GIGI CHAO

When her father offered a fortune for a potential husband to turn her straight, Chao took a stand for her sexuality and made headlines around the world. She’s since become a spokesperson for LGBT+ equality, especially in her native Hong Kong, and formed a truce with her father that’s seen her become executive vice-chairman of his hugely-successful property company
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It’s the story that made headlines around the world: Gigi Chao’s billionaire father offered a huge cash reward (around £40 million) to any man who would marry her, even though she was already married to a woman. Shipping magnate and property tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung then doubled his offer in what was basically a bid to turn his gay daughter straight – prompting Gigi to pen an open letter, published in the Hong Kong press, asking him to accept both her sexuality and her wife, Sean Eav.

After the news broke in 2012, a few months after Gigi and Sean had a church ceremony in Paris, she told a reporter, "I’ll marry a man when he marries a man, displaying a defiance and courage that earned her the top spot on the OUTstanding Role Models 2016 list here in the UK.

So it comes as something of a surprise to find out that Gigi still works as executive vice-chairman of her father’s property company, Cheuk Nang. But, in London for OUTstandings Winter Reception, she tells Winq that strong familial bonds in Hong Kong culture mean they’ve agreed to settle on a beg-to-differ solution.

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