Vietnamese-American family reap the fruits of their labors on HBO’s ‘House of Ho’

'House of Ho' – Hard work, family values lead to success

“House of Ho”

The Ho family of Houston are living the American dream. In fact, one might say they are the very embodiment of it.

Immigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1975 with little money, Binh and wife Hue worked hard, built a bank, a real estate development firm and a family. Today, they and offspring Judy and Washington, his wife Lesley and several grandchildren are reaping those rewards, living opulent lives but with the same values of hard work and family always coming first.

Their story is the subject of the HBO unscripted series “House of Ho.” Premiering Thursday, Dec. 10, the series reveals the lavish lifestyles and tight family connections that unite them as well as the familial drama.

Well-educated and successful in their own fields – Judy as a lawyer and Washington as an energy broker – the siblings nonetheless feel the pressure to achieve and live up to their parents’ high expectations.

“It’s enormous pressure and expectations for us,” Judy Ho says, “because … they started with nothing, they didn’t speak the language. And you know … we’ve benefited from having the best education that money could buy and having supportive parents. And now, we’ve gotten older and have our own families and we’re trying to carve our own paths now.”

Binh and Hue are also Roman Catholic and very tradition-bound. So when Judy announced her divorce in the opener, the folks were not accepting.

“In our Vietnamese culture, it’s very frowned upon to have a daughter who’s going through a divorce,” she explains. “But you know, I was born and raised here so for me, divorce is sometimes something you have to do when you are thinking about your future for yourself and for your kids.”

Luckily for Judy, there is Aunt Tina. A 25-year-old trapped inside a 58-year-old’s body and a source of much comic relief, she’s not above going bar-hopping and taking Judy along. But more importantly, she provides an indispensable service as an envoy between the generations.

“She knows what I’m trying to do with my life,” Judy Ho says, “and she knows where my parents are coming from, so she’s very good about trying to bridge that and making it easier for me and also at the same time try to explain to my dad, her brother, that the American way is not so bad.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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