HK Celebrity Interviews

Sunday, March 05, 2006

When Tavia Was Young

One of TVB’s most popular and up-and-coming fa dans, Tavia Yeung’s life today is carefree and happy. Her childhood in Shatin, in comparison, was world’s apart. Recently, filming for a programme 「 ET 星 home 」, Tavia revisited her childhood home, and every scene was very nostalgic for her.

The park

Tavia revealed, “When I was young, I liked to play with my elder sister. I would normally forget the time, and would return home late for dinner. My mom would shout at me, and after quarreling with her, I would run to the park for solace. I would shout until I felt better before returning home.” Although the park is still around, however, it had been redesigned and re-landscaped, and no longer looked the same as it did.

Wun Zai Gao (a kind of dessert made of glutinous rice flour and steamed in a small cup)

Tavia was rather piggy when she was still a primary school student. Everyday, she would buy bread and wun zai gao from a vendor nearby. Recalling nostalgically, she said, “At that time, I was studying in an afternoon session. After school, come rain or shine, I would always buy these snacks and eat them before going home. Ten years later, the shop is still around. However, the lady boss no longer recognises me. But her wun zai gao is still just as yummy with lots of red beans.”


As a young kid, Tavia was quite naughty. Besides fighting with her sister over toys, and getting caned by her mom in the process, she also liked to play hide and seek with her neighbours’ shoes. “We would leave our shoes outside the house, and I would hide one shoe. I also had my shoes hidden, and until now, I still don’t know who the culprit is.”


Besides being a pest, she was also very daring. The slide, see-saw and swings – she was not afraid of any of them, especially the swings. She would swing as high as she could go. If it was today, she would definitely be very scared and she marveled at her bravery when she was young.


She also recalled that when she was young, her mother would always cook the meals, and eating out was a rarity. So whenever they got to eat at the roadside stalls, she would be very happy. Her happiest moment would be drinking coke out of a bottle and basking in the warmth of her family. Every weekend, Tavia and her family would go out to ride bicycles and eat chicken porridge. “When I was young and stayed with my family, we were very happy. Now as I grow older, I have my own job and lifestyle, and increasingly, I don’t spend time with my parents anymore. That’s a little sad.”

Photo and story sources: Oriental Daily

Monday, December 26, 2005

An interview with Yoyo Mung

Most artistes would love seeing themselves making the headlines, but Yoyo Mung is an exception. She said that she is very fearful of headlines, as they are generally not kind to the artiste involved. Fearing the inevitable pressures that come with being in the news, Yoyo would rather not make any news. All she hopes for is to one day move people with her acting, act in a role as popular as Lisa Wang’s War of In-Laws, and to be a good person.

Yoyo has been in the business for 8 years, and her path to stardom has been pretty smooth. She first started out with leading lady roles in the moves, acting alongside actors like Lau Ching Wan in Expect the Unexpected 《非常突然》and Andy Lau in Running Out of Time 《暗戰》. She then turned her focus to TV serials in recent years. To many of Yoyo’s initial fans, this was a big surprise, for given her criteria, they felt that she would have made it bigger if she had continued to stay on in the movie industry. However, Yoyo has a different opinion.

“Life is full of different paths and different choices. The movie industry is not doing very well now, and even actors need to be able to support themselves. I am very happy to have gained support from some of the big movie directors, but I can only film 1-2 movies a year. With serials, I still get chances to act in leading roles and to act in roles with character development, so I don’t see it as being very different from acting in movies. Besides, with TV serials, I get more opportunities of being recognised by the audience as compared to movies.”

Drawing a line

Yoyo cares very much about her career in the entertainment business, and she also knows how the game is played. However, she has certain principles that she feels very strongly about. “I don’t like to create rumours, and I hate the headlines. I understand that the more headlines one makes, the more notice you will get from your audience. However, I prefer the audience to notice me based on my acting skills and not because of the rumours surrounding me. And if I do make it to the headlines, I hope that it will be good news, not bad. Take Angela Tong for example. After so many years, she has finally gained recognition with her win – I was so touched! I firmly believe that as long as you can act and as long as you try hard, the audience will know and appreciate it.”

Her goal for the moment? “Right now, most people would describe Yoyo as “ok”. I want to be more than “ok”. I hope to be able to immerse myself in the characters that I play, and I hope that in the near future, I would be able to have my own definitive role like that of WOIL, that the audience will like.”

Learning from Aida

Other than Liza Wang, the other person that Yoyo admires a great deal is Aida Choi. Although they aren’t that familiar with one another, she is full of praise for her. “She’s not only pretty, a firm Christian, but she also treats people with warmth and sincerity.” Yoyo, who is also a Christian, said that she hopes to learn from Aida and be a good a person as she can be.

A rocky romance path

Being as pretty as she is, Yoyo is highly eligible, but every relationship she has been failed to bear fruit so far. Her ex-boyfriends have also found someone new very soon after ending their relationship. There has also been rumours that her best friend has been a third-party in one of her relationship, so it seems that Yoyo has been the one hurt the most so far.

“Firstly, I would like to clarify that she was a friend, not my best friend,” Yoyo said. “Actually, it is all water under the bridge now. I am not desperate for a new relationship; I won’t die just because I am single.”

Being the “loser” that she has been so far, shouldn’t she reassess herself to see where the problem lies? Yoyo replied smilingly, “I don’t think I have any problems with myself. Relationships are all fated anyway. However, I don’t really have any confidence about romance and relationships, maybe because I was an ugly duckling when I was young. I was awkward and gangly, and was the butt of jokes. As such, I don’t really have very much self-confidence, and I don’t find any security in relationships. However, having grown older, I don’t take things to heart that much, and I believe that the process, rather than the ending, is more important.”

Romance is not the be-all and end-all, and although she has been hurt before, Yoyo maintains her positive outlook on life, and for now, her career and family comes first for her. “My signing on with TVB this year has been the best move I’ve made so far. Actually, the day of the contract signing was actually my birthday, and TVB had bought me this big birthday cake. I was so touched! It’s this sense of concern that makes me feel a sense of belonging to TVB.”

Happy Family

Yoyo’s relationship with her family has been on the mend these days. When she was younger, she was separated from them, so their relationship has always been a little cool. However, things have improved, and Yoyo and her family often meet for tea nowadays. This improvement has been a source of strength and satisfaction for her.

Photo and story sources: The Sun

Michelle on romance and her career

The temperature that night was down to ten degrees that night, yet Michelle Ye wasn't the least bit afraid of the bitter cold; she put on a Christian Dior ball gown, valuing at about $30,000HK and started the interview on the roof of a forty six story building in Wan Chai. Looking at the beautiful night sky, Michelle stated her first sentence, "Central is right under my feet." She then expressed that while she was young and living in Hang Zhou, she watched a TVB series, "Looking Back In Anger", she said, "At that time, I saw how beautiful Hong Kong really is and hoped that one day, I'll be able to step foot in HK, and now here I am."

Asking Michelle whether she already had a sense of vanity during her childhood, she straightforwardly admitted, "Yes, I did, and I don't think it's such a big issue either. Vanity can represent of one's desire to do better, and giving your life a standard to reach. Hoping to live a good life isn't some kind of fault either. When you have no food on the table, you wouldn't be saying that you're just aloof from all worldly affairs; if one does express himself/herself that way, then perhaps he/she just wants a staircase to get off the stage with; hence, wouldn't that be an even more fake performance?" Michelle has been using a sexy image after entering the showbiz, and showing off what she was born with; asking if she minds that people often put their focus on her body? Michelle responded, "Being an artist, there are three things that you could be selling to the audience, which are voice, appearance, and acting. So if some of the audience would like focus on how I appear with my figure, I wouldn't mind."

Michelle expressed that she could even sacrifice for the sake of art, she said, "If in the future, a character that I'm playing require for me to change my figure, no matter whether it's gaining weight to a big, bucket-like stomach, or slimming down to a snake's waists, or having to have a complete make-over, perhaps even plastic surgery; I will accept it, but only under a few circumstances, which is the plot really needs to have such a need, safety has to be number one and if it's worth for me to do it, I will do it, because actors/actresses are just like a batter of flour; they can be rounded off or pressed down flat by the director."

Even though working in the showbiz is labourious, but Michelle still blesses her parents for giving her a face that's good enough for the camera, giving her the qualitities to be an artist; therefore, as she earns money, she will share it with her family. Recently, Michelle used $300, 000HK to buy her mom a new car in HangZhou, and also used $1,000,000HK to buy a new house for her grandparents to enjoy their senior years, she said, "I'm planning to earn more money, so in the future, I'll have abilities to send my half-brother overseas for his studies, hoping that he can see more of the world." Besides her family, people who know Michelle personally will know that she has a thing for sticking up for her friends; it was said that earlier, a friend of hers had a financial problem and Michelle immediately lent a few hundred thousands out for her friend to solve the problem, she said, "I know earning the money is hard, but my friend really did need it. I thought it through carefully, and concluded that I needed to give support to this friend, so I've prepared myself knowing that I might not get the money back."

In the six years of her acting career, Michelle gradually understood the rules of the game, and knows very well that there is no such flower that can stay red for a hundred days, so she has thought about going towards the business world. Michelles said, "The outer appearance of a female actress will fade away as aging comes around the corner. It's very easy for an artist to be affected for little issues. Being businessperson could be better, because it's based on your creativity; you can have many ways to expand your horizon." Michelle hopes that in 3 -5 years, she'll step towards the business world.

Standing on the roof of the forty six story building, thinking back to the suiciding scene that Michelle did in the series, "Central Affairs", an artist really does have to put up with a lot of pressure. Asking if she ever had the thought of suiciding? Michelle suddenly lowered her voice and answered, "Yes, it was about half a year ago. I had been dating a guy who worked with financial dealings, but we ended up breaking up because of a third party. At that time, I was very sad; it was a moment of bitter emotions. I was at home alone, and suddenly, I wanted to pick up a knife and slit my wrist. It was fortunate that a friend suddenly showed up; I didn't want my friend to get involved, and I don't want to bear the pain, so I distinguished the thought."

Michelle frankly expressed that she could give up anything for romance, even her life. She continued, "I admired the guy a lot; he was very talented, but I then discovered that he was dating another girl at the same time; the girl was also pregnant. He wanted to get back together with me, so he sent me flowers everyday and knelt for my forgiveness. At that time, I felt my heart soften up, but logically, I reminded myself that if a man bends his sense of loyalty once; you cannot trust him another time. I refused the reunion in the end." So did the guy end up with the third party? Michelle answered, "I later on heard that he broke up with the third party, and the girl had an abortion." Up until now, her ex-boyfriend still wants to get back together with Michelle, she said, "My outlook on love only has black and white, never a shade of gray." Asking if Michelle's emotions from breaking up has balanced out yet? She replied, "I temporarily don't want to think about it yet. Having meet up with someone you actually like is really depended on fate. You can meet up with one, but never can you force it happen." From the consoling of friends, Michelle has understood that suicide won't solve any problems, and she uses the chance to request for everyone to cherish their lives.

Michelle had been raised in a broken up family. Her parents separated and she immigrated to America from HangZhou with her dad while she was eleven. She expressed that it was the turning point of her life. After immigrating, Michelle's parents have both gotten married again; each had a son of their own. Towards these two brothers, Michelle treats them as if they were partners, caring for them dearly. Michelle said, "Even though I was very unhappy when I was young, my relationship with my parents also wasn't very good, but as a person grows up, I've noticed that the only people who won't betray you and treat you the best has to be your closest family. Gradually, our relationships have gotten closer, and I started to understand them more." But as Michelle's dad started to bring his business back to HangZhou from America, his second marriage has started to damage once again. Michelle expressed that she's taking high caution of how her dad and stepmother's moods and emotions are like, she said, "I often make long distance calls to console my stepmother, and my dad has started to like doing social dance. Once I went back to HangZhou to dance with him, even though he has problems with his marriage again and I can't offer much help; I only hope that his life is going on happily."

Translations courtesy of Little Purple Bell at RM. Daily.

Interview with Gallen Lo

Throughout the interview, Gallen Lo kept smoking, with the smoke from his cigarettes blurring the image of his face.

Since leaving TVB in May 2003, there has been very little rumors about Gallen. The only recent news has been about his filming projects in China. In July 2002, Gallen had a lot of negative rumors, including his marital problems with his wife Fong Man Yee. Was Jessica Hsuan the third party? Also in December 2002, Gallen had a drunk driving incident; who was the female passenger on board at the time?

As to these questions, Gallen didn't respond to them directly and didn't mention Jessica's name. "At the time, I can only tell the truth. If I didn't, the media would eventually find out anyway.

"Over the course of his career, Gallen doesn't do interviews often. He doesn't like to self-promote himself and at the same time, he likes to remain low key. As for today's interview, it was part of a promotion for his movie, "Divergence."

Recalling from the past, Gallen granted the most interviews during the back half of 2002.

His Wife

In July 2002, Gallen acknowledged that he was experiencing marital problems. Rumors indicated that Jessica Hsuan was the third party. As Gallen and his wife "were trying to save their relationship," Gallen made a lot of public appearances with Jessica, such as wearing matching outfits. Also after he won the favorite actor award at the TVB anniversary, Gallen thanked Jessica, but forgot to mention his wife in his excitement. Also in December 2002, the eve before his birthday, he was drunk driving and his license was suspended for 15 months. Also in the car was a female passenger. A few days later, he made a public appearance with his wife and calmed the press' negative rumors.

"Till this day, I haven't regretted that at the time I said I was experiencing marital problems. Because this is the truth. Before telling the press, I had discussed it with my wife. As to what happened in our marriage, a few years ago, I already stated the facts in a magazine interview, so I will not repeat it again."

"After that incident, my wife and I didn't have any scars in our relationship. Married couples will always have arguments, but we normally make up after 5 minutes."

Gallen met his wife, Fong Man Yee, in 1982 at night school. They dated for 16 years before getting married in Canada in 1998. In 2000, their son, Lo Yu Sing, was born.

The reporter said Gallen has a good wife. Gallen reflected and said, "Yes...yes, I like my wife's kindness, patience, and tolerance. Now she doesn't work anymore (her previous job was at I-Cable). After a woman has a child, it is more suitable for her to stay home and take care of the child. That incident (2002 marital problem and car accident) has not affected us at all. My wife has not changed either, so I'm very happy!"

Third Party

Jessica Hsuan was rumored to be involved in both incidents. At the time, Gallen vehemently opposed the rumors with Jessica and said he owes her an apology as a result of the rumors. However after he made a public appearance with his wife in December 2002, Gallen has not mentioned Jessica's name afterwards again, as it was in this interview.

"I was very angry at the person who said there was a third party! However, I'm an actor and it's inevitable that the press will write about these rumors. But I was very angry that the rumors involved my family and I couldn't accept that! So I tried to clarify the rumors as quickly as possible. I did a lot of interviews over the phone and prepared as to how I would respond to certain questions. I remember at the time of the car accident, the headlines were huge! I know I did wrong. I am a positive person, so I thought about how I could make the situation better."

His Son

Throughout the interview, Gallen mentioned his son often. His son, Lo Yu Sing, is 5 years old now. In September, his son entered first grade. According to Gallen, his son is easy to discipline. "My wife taught him very well. He has very good manners, he will even say 'please' to his grandmother and I. He is very organized. When he was 4 years, he already picked up after his toys. He does his homework too. He loves to watch Cartoon Network. He likes Peter Pan because of his magic skills. He has a sense of righteousness and wants to be a police offer. On Halloween, I took him out to play. When he saw some foreigners, he said he wanted to turn into Spiderman and protect me!"

Last year Gallen filmed 4 series in China and couldn't spend a lot of time with his son. Gallen could only call home and talk to his son 4 or 5 times a day. "A father is usually a son's idol. Each time he sees me on television, his eyes would be glued to the tv with admiration. When he sees my picture in the newspaper, he would ask what the article is about. Whenever he sees me, he will think of ways to play with me and ask me to play in his band. When we go out, he would want me to carry him in my arms, but at the same time embarrassed that his friends might see. Haha! In the past, I didn't like children much until I had my son."

#1 Brother

In 1985, Gallen joined the singing contest and entered TVB in 1986 and had worked there for 16 years. In May 2003, after his contract was up with TVB, he signed with a China production company. At the TVB anniversary that year, Gallen's standing position moved from front row center to third or fourth row status. "Actually that time, my position was not preplanned, so I just stood wherever I wanted. My personality is that I don't want to fight for attention...."

Gallen said that he doesn't reminsce about the days he was the number one brother at TVB. He wanted to move on and improve and doesn't care that his popularity is going down. "I just know that in tv history, I was the first actor branded as number one brother. Over my 16 year career at TVB, I have received the Favorite Male Actor award 3 times. And my album received double platinum status. What more can you ask for?"

" I have received many awards over the last 16 years. My wife wanted to put them in a visible place in our home, but I like being low key. So in the end we placed them in a corner space. Luckily over the last 16 years, I have gained many tv fans and have recognition in China. Now under my new mangament contract, my earnings have increased. When my parents wanted to go on vacation, I could pay for them. This is what made me the happiest!"

While Gallen said he will not dwell on his TVB past, he mentioned "16 years" three times, the time when he started from the bottom and climbed to his highest peak.

Gallen's wife manages all of his earnings. When the earnings are high, they will discuss together how to spend it. Two years ago, after signing with his new production company, he bought a $15 million (HKD) home. Last year after his license was reactivated, he bought a Volvo Jeep to make driving around his family easier.

To accommodate the photo shoot, Gallen smoked 5 cigarettes consecutively. Gallen started smoking 13 years ago and now he smokes 3 packs a day. He enjoys inhaling the smoke into his lungs.

As Gallen's earnings increase, his goals become bigger as well. He said, "It's much better than to put it in a bank as the interest rate is so poor."

Translations courtesy of Jayne's HK Celebrities News Blog.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jessica, Life Made Simple, Romance and Marriage

Initially, when Jessica Hsuan had a meeting with the producer and script writer of Life Made Simple to discuss the plot of LMS, they wanted her to marry Ah Wong and even thought of going to the Registry of Marriage for the administrative details of their marriage. But Jessica had reacted strongly against this, persistently refusing to marry Ah Wong and not willing to make any compromises. In the end, the producers had to change the script, resulting in the ending that sees the union of the two after a few years' separation. This type of ending is subject to "interpretation by individuals".

Rgarding this issue, Jessica says "it should not be said that I forced the producer to change the ending, but more as a result of discussion. LMS is a story set in modern times. Even a normal person will not marry Ah Wong. Other than myself who cannot accept this, I also feel that the audience will also not be able to accept it. What I feel towards Ah Wong is not love between a man and a woman but the concern that exists between friends. Whatever it is, I just oppose to the marriage of Ah Wong and Lor Poh Jai." Roger, who is currenly filming in Shanghai, says that "anything is possible in TV drama."

Other than having expectations on her leading male actors, Jessica also places expectations on her boyfriends in real life. But as she matures with time, she has lowered her expectations. Now she can accept a relationship with a younger man. She says, "in the past, I cannot accept this at all. But now, I feel that as long as our thinking is similar and there is not too much difference in our appearance, I can accept it. Actually, it is not that I have lowered my expectations, but rather, I have widened them a little."

Although Jessica is currently busy filming in China and will only be back in January, her friends are already busy match-making for her. There are quite few eligible men who are waiting for her to be back to meet with them. She says "my friends are more anxious than me. My boyfriends have always been introduced to me by friends. All along, I only have had only a few male suitors (I find it hard to believe!! Maybe they are afraid to approach her coz of her fame? ). This may be due to my male-like character and appearance. Anyway, the earliest I would start dating is next January. Actually, I've always had the mentality of letting nature take its course when it comes to relationships."

According to some sources, the eligible men who are waiting to have meals with her include famous men. Afterall, one of her ex-boyfriends was Ronald who is also a well-known personality. Hence, there are speculations that she will marry into one of the rich and influential families. But Jessica's goals in life are to seek a simple and ordinary lifestyle. She says, "As long as the family is a happy one, I will be OK. An ordinary life is the happiest. I find that I am not suited to marry into a rich and influential family. Actually, as one experiences more in life, one will understand what one's needs are. But men in the same industry will certainly not be among my choices for a partner."

The house that Jessica bought 2 years ago at a price of HK$9.5m (over 2,000 sq ft) has now risen to about KH$20m. Although it appears that she has made about HK$10m in profit, Jessica has no intention of selling it because she regards it as a "Feng Shui House" (house with good geomancy according to some Chinese beliefs). Turns out that after she bought this house, Jessica got the role in Square Pegs and her career has been growing steadily ever since. She says, " I did check on feng shui (geomancy), plus the fact that my parents have flown back from Beijing to live with me, so I won't sell it. Most importantly, it is my dream house. I had already set my eyes on this house when I entered showbiz, but I had not saved enough then."

With a multi-million-dollar house and 2 cars, Jessica feels very proud becuase she has earned them herself through hard work. She says, "whatever I own now is earned through my hard work. Even when I was a newbie in the industry and not earning much, my parents didn't sponsor me, except helping to pay more than $10,000 as downpayment for my first car."

Translations by New Singapore Fan at Jessica Hsuan Fan Forum. Updated photos seen here thanks to Kitson's TVB Chinese News Collection.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ella Koon: The Mind of A Child

Last year, among the myriad of new female singers, Ella Koon was unable to beat Fiona Sit, whose cute image was quite popular. But Ella still did well as she received several awards. Ella took on 3 movies within one year and acted in Revolving Doors of Vengeance. Her character as Lee Hoi Sum spiked her popularity greatly.

But there are sacrifices to Ella's popularity. She has had negative rumors with Jaycee Fong, Ron Ng, and her dating history was uncovered. "Angry? I only find the rumors to be funny. Within the last ten years, I've only dated 4 times, I don't think that's too much?! "

Ella's manager said Ella's mind is very valuable, as it is 100% fresh. Whether this is true or not, by coming this far, she is quite smart.

In Revolving Doors of Vengeance, producer Poon Ka Tak customized the role for Ella. "After Tak Gor read the script and met me, he said the script matches me perfectly." The character of Lee Hoi Sum is a girl who sells fish at the street market; her voice is rough and her roots are realistic. If we compare Ella with Lee Hoi Sum, there is not much similiarity. But as long as Ella's character is accepted, that's fine.

"When I go out, people will call me 'Hoi Sum.' They will say 'see you tonight' [on tv]; I am so satisfied! Now, even the kids and older generation recognize me."

As for her negative rumors, "The worst was when they said I was living with someone. I am against living together before marriage. The reporters always follow me, so they should know this is not the truth. Actually some of the rumors are true and some are not." Which one is true? "I don't want to say, as some of the involved parties are already married and some have their own lives already. I don't want to involve others."

Last year, Ella officially entered the entertainment industry. Her image has been marked by a mature sexiness, as opposed to Fiona Sit, who was introduced with a cute image."Because I'm old?!" The 26 year old Ella joked. "It's good that everyone has a different image. My company said this is a more suitable image for me. Actually, I don't intentionally try to be sexy. I've never worn a bikini and usually wear a one piece dress. In other countries, it's very casual. I think I look very natural and it looks good."

Ella is 5'6" and she has a pair of flirtatious eyes and lips like Shu Qi, no wonder she is deemed to be the new generation of sexy female stars. "Actually when I was younger, everyone said I was a tomboy. Now I've been branded to have such a feminine image. Maybe it is the success of my company, my image is able to convince so many people in HK."

You can say that Ella grew up in a sheltered family. Her father has businesses in China and distributes pearls and jade. Ella was born in 1979 during one of her father's business trips. One of her father's stores is called "Yan Na Jewelry," named after Ella's Chinese name. In August 2003, her father bought a $2 million (HKD) 600 sq feet apartment for her to live in.

When Ella was 3, she moved to Macau with her parents. She came back to HK when she was 5. In Form 2, Ella decided she wanted to go to the UK to study. After graduating high school, she came back to HK to become a full time model. "I was very bored while studying in UK. Everyday I would just go to school and I became very depressed. But I was the one who wanted to go to the UK originally. After I signed with my modeling agency, my first job was a photo shoot with Bazaar. It felt nice to have someone do my make-up and take photos of me. So I told my mother that I wanted to stay in HK and become a full time model. My family is very open so they never opposed my decision."

Also, Ella's music company, Boombeat Music, is a small company, with a staff of less than 10 people. Aside from Ella, the only contracted artist is Leung Yu Yan, of course Ella gets a lot of attention. "Although the company is small, the people are very warm. We are like family and they cheer me up when I am unhappy."


Ella became a model when she was 17 and shortly after was selected to star in the Sunday tv commercial. Three years later, she acted in a movie with Bobo Chan in "I Do Love Generation." But it wasn't until 2003 that Ella signed with her current company as a singer.

"When I was a model, you can say I was half in the entertainment industry. I wasn't thinking about becoming an actress then. That's why I refused certain managing contracts at the time. It wasn't until last year, after my modeling contract was almost up, that I signed with my present company under my friend's advice. After I made the movie, I didn't think about furthering my acting career. But a fortune teller once told me that although I am absent minded, I will have some good opportunities."

That's true, as Ella has guest starred in numerous movies in the last 2 years. "I am very happy to have these opportunities as I got a chance to meet Sean Lau, Jordan Chan, and Cecilia Cheung. They are all my idols and it's like fulfilling my dream. As for singing, I always admired Paul Wong. He wrote the lyrics for my first song."

Even if Ella hasn't specialized in one field, she has gained by broadening her opportunities. "If you ask me whether I prefer acting or singing, I can tell you confidently that it's singing. Someone once told me that in the HK market, it is impossible to just be a singer and focus only on singing. I think I am more interested in being a performer rather than just a singer. If I can perform in theater, that would be great. I can sing, dance, and act, while receiving the audience's immediate reaction."

Of course people want to gain more, especially if you start out later and want to achieve as much as possible in a short time span.

Ella is 26 years old and her manager said her brain is the most valuable, as it is completely new; it hasn't been used in the last 26 years. It is hard to say whether Ella has brains or not. But at least Ella is able to make fun of herself, "My current company pitied me. They saw that I was old so they signed me." This doesn't sound like the words of a girl who grew up in a sheltered family.

However, in front of the camera, Ella made a cute face. Of course, Fiona Sit (who has pursued a cute image) has already starred as the lead in two movies.

Source: 3 Weekly #314. Reproduced with permission from Jayne's HK Celebrities News Blog. Visit her website here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Frankie talks about rumours

The thing that most people remember most about Frankie Lam is Kenix Kwok. Or more accurately, he is known as Mr Kenix Kwok, sharing the same sort of fate as Mr Carol Cheng (Lui Fong) – the fate of willingly playing second fiddle to their famous other halves.

Today’s patriarchal society still has a little trouble accepting men allowing the women to take the lead in the relationship, and this is especially so for men who are public entertainment figures such as Frankie.

At first, this interview was supposed to be based on the topic “Chauvinists vs. the Hen-pecked”. And the reporter figured that the Frankie, who has become a Christian, would be both magnanimous and gentlemanly in sharing his loving relationship with his wife.

However, things did not turn out that way. Frankie could not stop clarifying the rumours about himself and his wife (including the Anniversary Awards rivalry). It was as if a dam had broken, and he just had to pour all his feelings, which he had kept within himself all these years, out.

So, is Frankie a chauvinist or hen-pecked?

“I am 100% not a chauvinist, but I am also not one of those weak hen-pecked men who blindly follow their wives around. For Kenix, I would do what I can for her, but I will first consider whether it would benefit her, and not harm her.”

Without his wife by his side, Frankie was actually quite a man. But to the sleep-deprived me (the reporter), it seemed that it wasn’t Frankie speaking, but rather Kenix instead.

Frankie talks about the Anniversary Show incidents

Frankie (F): As long as you know what the rules of the game are, whether you are happy or not does not make a difference. There will be a winner and a loser. What does the award represent? Do you get $30,000 or $40,000? Will you get a pay raise? Will people call you the King or Queen of the Movies after that? Many of the audience have already forgotten who were the winners of last year’s awards. It is only an award; what’s the big deal?

In the run-up to the Anniversary Show, daily reports appeared in the media regarding the seemingly tit-for-tat comments made by Kenix, Liza Wang, and Gigi Lai. Towards the end, Frankie was also dragged into the fray, with reports saying that he ticked off rumoured ex-girlfriend Gigi Lai on behalf of his wife.

F: Objectively speaking, do you think anyone believes in these reports? I never intervened! The reporters entered the make-up room to get my comments. I replied to their questions, but the later reports did not use anything that I said at all. All they did was to use the photo of me looking unhappy, and then they wrote whatever they wanted. After that report came out, I did not meet with Gigi. We have all been in this business for so long, and Gigi’s even my senior (entering the business earlier than me), and all know what’s real and what’s not. If people want to believe the madness that the media writes, I can’t do anything about it. As long as I know what I am doing, why do I need to say anything? The entire incident had nothing to do with me – I did not say those words, and I did not win the award.

As Kenix’s husband, wasn’t it his duty to defend his wife?

F: I draw a clear line between work and private life. What Kenix meant by her statement was that besides the Best Actress Award, Liza also deserves to the Lifetime Achievement Award. She did not mean that Liza should not compete for the Best Actress Award with her. The entire saga was largely the fault of the media as they distorted the facts of the matter.

What’s there to be angry about?

I (the reporter) have never been in contact with Kenix before. But I have heard others describe her as “a chilli padi (fiery)”, “troublesome”, “short-tempered”, but good at what she does.

F: I don’t think that you can used “troublesome” to describe her. It is fairer to say that she is very professional when it comes to work, and she does not want people to fool around. Actually, it is a case of perspective. To those who are equally as professional, they would say that she is a very good actresses. But for those who are immature, they would say that she is troublesome and temperamental.

Flipping through past interviews, I (the reporter) found out that Kenix had often credited her husband for his counsel. So from that, it seems that Frankie is “highly-skilled” in dealing with the media?

F: I used to be very hot tempered too, and when the media agitated me on purpose, I used to also beat them up! But after the paparazzi made its appearance on the Hong Kong scene, my temper also had changed for the better. As one grows up, having learnt from experience and hurts, one would naturally learn how not to let oneself get injured.

Kenix is luckier, she has not been hurt like me before. I am her spiritual counselor, and I’m always by her side looking out for her. Sometimes, she finds it a bother to always have me hanging around, but never mind, it’s better than letting her get hurt. Anyway, I would rather that the person hurt was me.

Maybe, she has slowly learnt from me how not to get angry with what the media reports. There are so many magazines on the market, and daily news as well. Everyday, there is news that you have to defend yourself against, how many can you clarify? Besides, it is only you that will remember and get angry with the news; the readers and the audience don’t. So why get angry?

Having talked enough about his wife, Frankie now talks about himself.

Frankie who has been in the business for 18 years said that he has seen through the media’s reporting methods, and now, he is very broad-minded about the whole thing. But when I (the reporter) brought up reports that said that he was living off his wife, he did get rather angry. After all, he’s a guy!

F: There are some media reports that say that whatever Kenix does, I would also do the same thing, hence getting twice the salary from the same job. Hey! Do you know how much I make per serial? Do you know how many performances I appear at? Even if you do know this, how about my stocks and property investments? Do you know? I don’t have to make public my financial status to people who don’t need to know.

However, I can tell you that I am proud to say that it was through my own efforts that I own what I have today. I am not one of those people who have an inheritance to fall back on. I started with nothing in my back account, rented a public flat, took the bus like everyone else.

How does he feel about Kenix being more popular than him?

F: From my perspective, this is just a rumour, so I won’t be unhappy, and my sympathies go to emotionally and mentally unstable people those (reporters who came up with the rumours). They have to be ill in order to come up with news like that.

Another rumour that he remembers till today was the news in 1999 that he had cheated on Kenix by being intimate with another woman in a car. There was a huge public reaction to that piece of news, such that Kenix and him had to hold a press conference to clarify.

F: She (a girl surnamed Pan) had looked me up that night to talk to me about some personal problems. I was afraid that if we went to a café, we would be spotted by the paparazzi who would then make up stories aboutme dating another girl. So after dinner, we chatted in the car.

When the police came by, the journalists were busy shooting photographs, filming the scene and then running off to Kenix at our apartment and asking her to comment.
Hey, we were just sitting in the car, and our clothes were all in place. Even the police and Kenix knew that nothing had happened.

Were the two of you very unhappy with the reports?

F: Of course! Back then, we were less mature and my EQ was not as high, so of course I was angry. However, what Kenix was most angry about was that I had been wrongly accused by the media and I had lost face.

I will never do a shoot with that XX magazine (the one that published the articles) again. Their news is evil and can harm people in many ways. It is bad enough that their news can damage relationships, but it would be a lot worse if someone committed suicide over it.

As for those two reporters who showed Kenix the footage, I will remember them for the rest of my life. And when they have their first son, I want to be there to see if their sons have paid for their parents’ sins. How can anyone be so selfish?

Frankie, the loving husband

Frankie, who is 37 this year, is quite the man. He is not afraid to share that in their 11 year relationship, they have been cohabitating for 9 years. The only difference then and now is that he can publicly call her his wife. Although throughout the interview, he did not share very much about how loving he and his wife was, he said that he was not afraid to share happy events with everyone.

Here’s some of Frankie’s comments:

The one which other guys should learn from: “I think that there are two women in my life that will take the first place. The first is my mother; the second is Kenix. I only take the second place.”

The most mushy: “I think that our 11 year relationship is sweeter compared to relationships that have just begun.”

The most moving: “No matter what happens, I will always think whether she would be happy or unhappy first.”

The most eerie: “Although physically, we are two different people, but we are one in our hearts.”

I (the reporter) remember this the most clearly because after finishing this interview, I turned on the TVB and was bombarded with both husband and wife – first Kenix at 7.30 with Living Up, then her again in Detective Investigative Files after dinner, and Frankie in The Herbalist Manual publicity dinner.

Story posted first on Kitson's TVB Chinese News Collection. Visit his site here.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Michelle Ye: Life is Not a Dream

Michelle Ye's features are very sharp. If her eyes are not cold and piercing, then they are full of sensuality. Her voice is gentle, but with a touch of bluntness. She reminds us of a character from Cheung Aoi Ling's novels, someone living in Shanghai in the 1930's. However you look at Michelle, she doesn't look like a 25 year old woman.

Michelle is an only child and did not grow up under her parents' care. At 13, she lived by herself in the U.S. At 19, she went to HK and participated in Miss Chinese International, starting her showbiz career. Michelle has experienced many difficulties in her life. Life for her has never been a dream, but she has been forced to face many realities. As a result, Michelle never minded negative rumors or having a sexy image. She knows that it is just for promotion and would only help her popularity. "There are always gains and losses to everything. As long as the gains are more than the losses...."

On the day of the photo shoot, Michelle had 2 assistants, 2 hairstylists, and one make-up artist helping her out. She had the posse of a big star, but she was still very down-to-earth with the reporter. For example, she told the reporter to take care of herself and placed a piece of sushi on her plate during lunch break.

For actresses to succeed, besides having sex appeal and newsworthiness, people skills are also very important. Over the last 6 years, Michelle has had rumors with almost 10 men. They include Benny Chan, Raymond Lam, China businessman Yip Mo Ching, executive Chan Yerk Kai, China athlete Xiong Ni, Francis Ng, Ching Siu Dong, Harvard friend Jeff etc. "I'm sure there has been more news regarding my work rather than my rumored relationsihps. But everyone just remembers the rumors! But I don't mind rumors, as each time I have a new TV series, they will use rumors for promotion. Even if the news is totally false, they will still write it. Actually rumored relationships are already the least harmful. If the media said that my attitude towards work is bad, then it would be more harmful."

Among the rumors, 9 out of 10 times, it's false anyway, including Xiong Ni. Michelle explains that it was just a goodbye kiss they shared and nothing more. When the reporter asked if Michelle can talk about the other rumored men in her life, Michelle went through the list and explained that most of the rumored men are just friends or acquaintances.

When asked if the only real relationship was with Benny Chan, Michelle nodded her head, "Yes. At the time, I didn't admit it because I was afraid revealing it would hurt the relationship. We have known each other for a long time, since my first series, Gods of Honor. At the time, Benny already had a girlfriend. It wasn't until we were filming Internet Love Story in China that we started dating. He had broken up with his girlfriend and we went through a lot in China together. We dated for almost 2 years."

Did Michelle break up with Benny because he was unfaithful? "No, no! Benny is a good man. People always say he is unfaithful, but he's not. We broke up because our personalities were not compatible. Even now when I see him, there is no awkwardness. We are still good friends. Oh, I just remembered his mother called me the other day and I forgot to return her call..."

What if you were to run across Charmaine Sheh, Benny's rumored girlfriend? Michelle said, "Well they never admitted they were really going out, so why would there be awkwardness? Anyhow, it is not my affair, but I wish them the best."

Michelle admitted that she is involved in a relationship now. "We have been dating for half a year, but I don't want to say too much." Why are you afraid to tell us more? "I'm not afraid. Dating is a normal thing, but I am afraid the papparazzi will cause problems. We try not to have exposure in public, and it's actually quite hard to dodge the public's notice."

Talking About Women

Usually, actresses who have a lot of rumors don't have a lot of female friends, but Michelle said, "That's not true. My good friends include Myolie Wu, Maggie Cheung Ho Yee, & Jessica Hsuan. Actually I have so many opportunities because of Jessica. A few years back, acting as Jessica's sister in Golden Faith, I got to know her. Jessica was supposed to act in World's Finest, but 10 days before filming started, she wasn't feeling well. As a result, I stepped in and got to know Wong Jing."

In your 6 years at TVB, wasn't there are lot of competition among the actresses? "Yes, but it's mostly kept inside. Outwardly, everyone might look like they get along. But under the circumstances, it's understandable that the environment is very competitive. Even if you don't want to, your manager will pull you to.Sometimes having a little competition is a good thing. Three years ago, I was under a lot of stress due to work. I thought about quiting, but Ba Jen (Louis Koo's ex manager) and Leung Ka Shu asked me to stay and renew my contract."Always appearing sexily, is that one of your "weapons?"

Michelle said, "Many actresses portray sexy images. TV is watched mainly by housewives and exposure is needed in the entertainment tabloids (necessary to do sexy photo shoots). Features in GQ, Esquire, & Cosmopolitan would help. They wouldn't help in promoting tv series. To be on the cover, you need to be a little sexy. Even if you win the Oscars or other movie awards, you only make it in the newspaper for one day. But if you are on the cover of a magazine, it's for a whole week."

Now it is clear how Michelle, since winning Miss Chinese International in 1999, made it to the top at TVB so quickly. Acting in Wong Jing's Central Affairs, and playing opposite Leon Lai in her new movie, this is all because Michelle has a very clear picture of the entertainment industry and is very cognizant of her own actions.

Michelle said that her personality was shaped by the fact that she has lived by herself since she was 13. She was living in the U.S. at the time and experienced many difficulties. "When I was 8, I left Hangzhou with my grandfather and immigrated to the U.S. We lived with my father. When I was 13, my grandfather didn't like life in the U.S. and moved back to Hangzhou. My relationship with my father has always been distant. In my childhood memories, I don't remember much about the times spent with my father. We lived together for another half year, but it was like living with a stranger. So in the end, I moved out and lived by myself. It was a tough time. I remember that the landlord's son would steal my money, so I had to move again."

As for her mother, at one point, Michelle didn't see her for 8 years. "My mother had me when she was only 18 years old. Since she was still so young, she used to go out all the time. Sometimes she would play mahjong or go drinking with her friends. Sometimes she would come home drunk and slap my face or use her belt to hit me. But after she sobered, she would always say sorry. After I left for the U.S., I haven't seen her. It wasn't until I went to HK for the Miss Chinese International pageant that she came from Hangzhou to meet me at the hotel.

"Actually I never thought that growing up without my parents' love was such a terrible thing. Since I never experienced my parents' love, I was never jealous about my friends' relationships with their parents. It wasn't until I had to fill out a form in high school with my parents information and my school mates found out my family background did I realize that our situation was unusal. So far, my relationship with my parents is more like friends."

Why didn't you mention your family background over the last few years? Michelle said, "Maybe it's because I feel insecure. It is not something to be proud of. Haha now when I talk about it, it is like telling another person's story. Maybe I have already left it all behind...."Afterwards, Michelle's eyes seem to have grown a litte redder.

Everlasting Regret

Author Cheng Aoi Ling once said, "Life is like an interesting book, even in a lifetime, you can not finish reading it."If life contained some interesting history, then it wouldn't be boring. For Michelle Ye's life, if we were to add or change a bit here and there, it might be possible to turn it into a movie or novel.

But Michelle said that she is only seeing it from her perspective. That's true, how can each person's inner world be so easily exposed to the public? When the reporter said Michelle is like a character from Cheng Aoi Ling's novels, Michelle said, "I think I am more like Wong On Yik's Everlasting Regret's character Wong Yi King."As the reporter reflected on this, Michelle said, "Haha it's because I was supposed to play in Everlasting Regret as Wong Wing Hung." The reporter still disagreed and thinks she is more like Cheng's female characters.

Source: Express Weekly #379. Reproduced with permission from Jayne's HK Celebrities News Blog. Visit her website here.

Ellie's comments: I didn't know that she was with Benny Chan! I've always thought that Benny and Charmaine have been together since like forever ....

Myolie The Cat Lover

Myolie Wu adopted an abandoned Persian cat 10 years ago, naming it Yellow. “I was a secondary school student when I saw the cat at a rundown house. It was such a poor thing and so skinny, so I brought it home.”

Under Myolie’s care, Yellow is now a healthy, long-haired, obedient cat. But it was slightly unsociable by nature, caused largely by her sisters’ two Chinese cats, which had refused to allow Yellow to join in their clique.

But luckily for Yellow, it has a loving and caring mistress. “I bathe it, cut its hair and de-louse it. (Why not send Yellow to a pet shop for grooming sessions instead?) I’m afraid of how the shops will treat Yellow. I’ve heard of horror stories where shops would inject the animals to make them drowsy so that they can groom them more easily. I would rather do it myself.”

Myolie continued to wax lyrical about her cat. “Yellow’s really obedient. It greets me when I come home, it will play chase with me, and it can recognise its name when called.”

For the interview at Kowloon, Myolie brought Yellow along and Yellow turned out to be extremely obedient, meowing only once throughout the entire journey. Although lofty and proud, it enjoyed playing with Myolie, closing its eyes in comfort when being stroked.Other than her twin sisters, her parents are also cat-lovers. “I remember that when I was in Primary three, we started to rear cats. There was a point in time when we had as many as five cats in the room!”

Photo and story sources: Apple Daily (first posted in Myolie Wu Discussion Forum)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Interview with Marco Ngai

Marco Ngai thinks he’s born to be in the entertainment line. Indeed, this Hong Kong actor is naturally animated, amusing and an extrovert no doubt, making him a delightful and ‘entertaining’ interviewee. “I love to talk. I’m an outgoing and playful person,” confessed the 38-year-old in Cantonese.

Now, he’s a familiar face on TVB’s drama series, having starred in numerous series since his key roles in Snowy Mountain Flying Fox in 1993 to the more recent Catch the Uncatchable and Armed Reaction 1-4. The 1.78m tall and tanned Marco is perhaps most remembered for his role as a high rank police in Armed Reaction and the blond-haired villain in Crime of Passion.

Marco flew into Kuala Lumpur as the new celebrity spokesperson for Svenson Hair Care Malaysia and Singapore and appeared at a press conference together with Svenson’s four local ambassadors – Albert Ch’ng, 43, Rumaizi Hamdi, 29, Philip Wong, 26 and Lim Pei Lu, 17.

About two years ago, he began to suffer from chronic hair loss, due to a combination of genetic, work-related and stress factors. The anxiety of losing his hair and revealing ugly bald patches affected himquite badly. He ended up gaining close to 10kg. “I love exercise and sports but because my hair was dropping, I stopped going out for exercises. I also started bingeing on food.”

To make things worse, his hair loss problem was exposed to the public when the paparazzi tailed him and took photos of him browsing through books on hair-loss, and of him buying hair-enhancing products in drug stores. “My hair is very important to me, especially as an actor. It affected my confidence. I also feared for my career. I might not be cast for certain roles because of my hair problem."“I’m used to playing someone’s son and not someone’s father,” he said.

Then he discovered Svenson and tried out the treatment. He was so relieved that it gradually helped him get his hair back. “The treatment was relaxing. There was no pain at all and best of all, no pills to take,” he said. After intensive treatment for six months, he is now only going back for maintenance. With his hair back, he also managed to shed the extra pounds to return to his ideal weight of 73kg.

However, Marco insists he’s not pre-occupied with his looks as he’s never been the ‘idol type’. Marco, who’s currently filming some TV series in China, said his next project with TVB would only be in February next year. But he said he was sick of playing policemen or a villains. “I would like to attempt something different. Maybe play a doctor since I’ve not done one or someone who’s slightly retarded. I want to try all kinds of roles and not be typecast.’’

He also disclosed his ‘secret ambition’ – he would like to sing and be a recording artiste. “I feel I can sing,” he said with a confident smile. “At karaoke, I’m the best singer among all.” Not many people, including his fans, may know that before becoming a TV actor in 1993, he spent five years working on stage musicals.

Marco would like to release his first album in Mainland China first as he wants to sing Mandarin songs.“I think songs in Cantonese are not nice because lyrics don’t sound good in Cantonese. Mandarin songs are beautiful and I always listen to them,” he said, quoting Jacky Cheung, Phil Chang and Jay Chou as some of his favourite singers. As Ngai will continue shooting TV series in China, he hopes to release his first album in 2007 as he’s quite tied up next year. But he will continue acting of course.

In Armed Reaction, his on-screen wife Sam Yuen happens to be his real-life girlfriend Joyce Tang whom he has dated for eight years now. The relationship, he said, is very stable and though there are no immediate plans to tie the knot, he will announce it one day. “I won’t hide such things. But the media speculated so much that once someone said that I have a son! It was so funny!” he laughed. “I’m not Alan Tam (whose nine-year-old son was finally exposed last year) but I want to be like him as I think I will never retire from this line.“After all, he’s ‘25’ and I’m only 24,” he laughed again.

Photo and story sources: AsianFantics Forum