[THE GROWN UP CHILD ACTOR] EATING DISORDER

It’s funny how people usually think of anorexia first when they hear the words ‘eating disorder’.

For me it was binge eating (yes it’s a thing) and bulimia. I actually desperately wanted to be anorexic, but the whole reverse psychology thing kicked in and my cravings took over my mind.

I was bulimic because of my binge eating, and I did that because I was under so much pressure to be thin that food became a drug to me. The sense of deprivation came from obsessive dieting and eventually everything revolved around food.

First things first, when this all began I had a BMI of ~18.3, just underweight. I probably started gaining a bit of weight, and being in the world of entertainment which can drive the most confident person to be insecure, I hopped on the diet wagon.

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Check me out: round, on the cover of a magazine, wearing a strange strange dress.

In hindsight I feel my addictive personality may have contributed to it. I like to go all in. I researched the most effective diets and learned why it was so. Sadly for me, learning why opened the door to a whole new level of obsession. I needed to track my caloric intake. I started reading the labels on everything I ate. I would get very good at guessing the calories in a portion of food (like how I became really good at guessing someone’s salary just from looking at their CV as a recruiter, ha). I would weigh myself before and after I peed or worked out, as if the difference meant anything. I would feel bad that my efforts didn’t make my body look different.

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[THE GROWN UP CHILD ACTOR] THE ACTING PART OF IT

It didn’t come easy. It took years and years of pushing and being pushed. I was too shy and I cared too much. Warning: pretentious cliche saying up ahead. As an actor you really need to let go and lose enough of yourself to become another person. It was either that, or becoming vulnerable enough to expose your true self in the shell of a character. It feels easy enough to drown in the emotions when you’re watching it on screen, but the truth is actors don’t get any soundtrack or editing while on set to help them feel different from what they are actually experiencing. It’s unnatural to have been running around all day doing random stuff (because actors really do do the weirdest of things to put food on the table), and suddenly just become another person living another life. We get good days and bad days, easy scenes and difficult scenes, but it still takes skills, practice, and can be very exhausting.

For me, doing a scene where there’s something big going on is easy. Crying, heart broken: I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s okay. Scared: a little more difficult (I was once told by a director he wants to see my pupils dilate in a close-up; have yet to master that one). Drunk: kind of easy. Happy, curious, gossiping, angry, all relatively easy. Candid, by comparison, is level 999 for me. Sure, there’s something happening in every scene, but when it’s not one where your character needs to be actively doing something, that is really hard. On this front I think supporting actors’ jobs are much harder than the leads’. Standing around doing nothing while pretending to be someone else is not something that comes naturally. You don’t want to overthink it, but you also need to be in character.

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[THE GROWN UP CHILD ACTOR] INSECURITIES

I was going to write about acting, but this insecurities thing is burning on my mind and last time I checked this is my bloody blog and I can write whatever I want to.

I’m quite open about insecurities because I know everyone has them. Recently I’ve had to face some insecurities I thought I was done with. It’s sobering to learn that some insecurities just don’t go away. Not completely.

So much of being an actor is about facing and living with your insecurities, but I feel that’s really because we’re all human. We all have insecurities, actor or not. Maybe this blog post could be a standalone outside of this series; or to be honest, I could probably also start a one called “Insecurity is My Middle Name”.

Before we go into the things I’m insecure about, let’s start with some ground rules. Try not to judge or bitch too much. If you’re going to tell me I have no right to feel a certain way, or that I’m just ungrateful, you might not understand what insecurities are. Insecurities can be irrational, which is why they’re a bitch to live with, but also why we stand a chance at working through them.

So. Shall we begin?

I’m insecure about:

  1. My thighs, and calves… let’s just say my legs
  2. My tummy, the way it sticks out after a meal… even though I know it’s supposed to do that
  3. My eye brows
  4. My profile, as in how my face looks from the side
  5. My face, actually
  6. My laugh
  7. My nails, please don’t look at them
  8. My singing, not that I actually need to sing for anyone
  9. My personality
  10. My sentimentality, it makes me feel like I care more than others do, as if that’s a crime

I think this is becoming a list of things I don’t love about myself, and could go on forever, but while it lasted – all ten points of it – it was great to get off my chest and to openly say that those are the things that would drain my confidence if you paid attention to it.

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[THE GROWN UP CHILD ACTOR] HOW IT ALL STARTED

If you know me you would not believe that I was an incredibly shy kid. So shy that I found it difficult to say hello to anyone in a room full of adults. Like any spoilt child though, I had a lot of attitude when it came to my own family. I think the weird combination of being a shy but spoilt only child must have lead to my annoyingly inconsistent bitchiness.

To make things worse, I was also the baby of the family for a long time. My relatives loved dressing me up and taking photos of me as if they had such pioneering spirits that they thought of film as memory cards.

I hated it.

The attention and company was nice for a while, but my cousins would move onto playing house, making me play not just the baby, but a small baby who “doesn’t know how to walk or talk”. That meant I would spend whole weekends or even summers with them being told to lie in a corner and do nothing. Fast forward 20 odd years and I would own that game, especially if you gave me some wine. The alternative back then was being strapped into a toy pram, raced against whatever they found available for pushing and destroying, and be abandoned until my aunt found the carnage of a toy pram crash. Now you know that’s a thing. Oh wait, memories are flooding back: option #3 was being held down and tickled by no less than two older cousins until an adult tells them I’m about to stop breathing; and option #4 was being “taught how to swim” by having my head held under water until an adult comes along. It’s a strikingly consistent theme. 

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[The Grown Up Child Actor] Hi

My name is Rachel. Born in Hong Kong, raised here as an actress.

I was maybe four years old when I first started acting, 24 when I finally walked away from it all. I was younger than most of my colleagues, but had the most experience at least in terms of years. For twelve months I worked as a Flight Attendant, bringing my tally of visited countries to 24. When I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do for life, I looked for my first ‘proper’ job at age 25. Soon I joined a global recruitment firm as a consultant, where for the first time I was immersed in the corporate world of sales.

I didn’t stay at the job for very long. It drove me crazy and I tried to look for ‘my thing’, as I had for as long as I can remember.

I’m at a job right now that’s better than being a recruiter, but it feels like I never did figure out who I really am after I stopped acting. Maybe I’ll feel like a fish out of the water for as long as I’m not on set.

This is the life of a grown up child actor. Follow this space to read about the insecurities, eating disorder, identity struggles and all the things we pretend to know nothing about.

Rachel’s Reviews – Frenchie: The world’s first speed wallet

YES ONE FOR ME PLEASE!

Back when I was still working in a corporate firm, my job involved meeting clients and other people every single day. I had a Muji business card holder which sounds savvy enough, but was actually just a matt-finish plastic box that I kept dropping and eventually started falling apart. My colleague decided it would be a stellar idea to tape it up with glittery washi tape, until I had to break it to her that it wasn’t working so well for the business side of things.

So I went online and got myself an awesome Charles & Keith card holder for about 75HKD. It’s got a nice print on it and even though it threatens to break whenever I put more than four cards in it, I still love it. I love it so much I started trading the limited spots for my Octopus card, credit card, bank card, and just one slot left for my business cards.

Then it dawned on me.

I don’t need my actual wallet anymore. Well, it turns out I do, but I’m covered as long as I have this little card holder of mine which fits in my pocket just fine.

This is now my life: I don’t really know where my cash is, although I know that I usually don’t have any on me, there are receipts everywhere, and in a nutshell – the beautifully organized wallet I once had is just a pretty but obviously abandoned wallet and my cash/cards situation is a mess.

In another nutshell – I would like this Frenchie thing.

 

“17” – the app. 


I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw a friend who posted a picture of his new account on “17”, saying that he’s checking it out after seeing so many people posting about it. Naturally I wanted to check it out and also did some research since it seemed the same as Instagram, and the old woman in me just doesn’t get why people need a new app when we also have a smooth-running one with all our friends on it (I have tried new apps that are similar and deleted it after a few hours when I accepted the fact that not enough – sometimes none – of my friends will ever use it).

So what is this “17” app? It’s pretty much an Instagram knock-off, yes, except for a live-streaming feature which helps drive traffic to your page/account, which in turn helps with earning royalties. Hold up, earn royalties? Turns out, there is some sort of an incentives program where users get a share of the profit from the ads that are on the app, since you helped drive traffic. However, from the few minutes I was actually on the app (although spent mostly browsing through the FAQ page), I wasn’t aware of any ads on the app. I guess the biggest question is whether this whole thing is a scam; and MY question is where is this profit actually coming from if there are no ads on the app, or even if there were, how come people are getting royalty shares just from receiving likes on their photos? I racked up about $0.009 from the few likes that I got but I’m also not sure how that really helped with the ads that are supposedly there. If I’m right, ads usually need to be clicked on for the host to make money, right?

To explain the incentives side more, you need to have accumulated a certain amount before you can redeem your royalties through PayPal. Apparently, no one gave any bank information at the beginning, probably thinking it might just be a scam, so the app guys (more about the founders later) set up the payout process using PayPal and supposedly users are now more confident and comfortable with the app’s incentive program. Huh.

Okay, the founder. Turns out “17” is founded by this Taiwanese celebrity Jeffrey Huang (@bigbrother on the app if you’re interested) who is doing all this to encourage people to manage and maintain their social media accounts well, again, hence the incentive program. This all sounds pretty cool, but then people started posting inappropriate contents and now the app developers need to actively seek these users out and are banning them permanently.

 

I know.

There’s more. I also realised that the App Store just experienced “its worst security breach ever” and people are saying that this “17” app is a big hack whatsit. Okay guys, firstly if it’s the App Store breach it’s not really like the developers made this app to hack your accounts or whatever, and secondly, there’s a huge list of apps that you need to worry about and it doesn’t look like “17” is on the list. Having said that, even though Instagram is not a great news source, an app called “17” is not the easiest thing to Google either. So it’s a bit hard to do your homework I supposed.

As for me, I’ve deleted the app and I’m tired of typing so here’s a list of reasons why:

  1. It’s not very well-developed; whereas Instagram is in comparison.
  2. It’s probably another hype app which doesn’t gain enough hype to convert enough of my friends for it to be worthwhile.
  3. There’s dodgy stuff there.
  4. Again, it’s not well-developed enough for me to feel like it’s worth my time considering making money off it. It’s also not going to make much money unless you have a massive following anyway; and I personally feel like there are more solid ways to make a living. This might change, ha!
  5. Honestly, this app seems to bring a pretty new concept but in reality nothing about it is authentic. It is pretty much exploiting people’s greed to make profit – no official information is found on the app regarding where the profit is really coming from, and how your royalty amount is derived. It’s pretty much saying, you use Instagram anyway, use our app which is the same except we’ll give you some money, and we use PayPal so you should trust us.

What about you? Have you used this app or even received your royalty shares? Leave a comment and let us know about your experience with “17”, or extra information about the hack!

Miley’s Hair.

I have a confession to make: every time I see Miley Cyrus’ hair I secretly wish I have hair like that. Not her hair, but like her hair.

Actually, I’m not a big fan of her hair; but there’s something about her attitude that makes me think: yeah, people think she’s gone too far or whatnot, but on some level, I wish we were all a little more like her. Despite how crazy she seems to have gotten – I mean, maybe she’s only doing it for attention, but assuming she’s not – she’s just being herself, and there’s something ballsy about expressing ourselves that a lot of us lack.

As a child actor, I can identify with her, or Radcliffe (as a non-HP actor, he just annoys me for some reason), or even Bieber (gees). You grow up as a certain person not only to the audience, but to those around you. You reach an age in your teens where you’re sick of being treated like a child at a workplace, and then you’re an adult and you’re almost still not being taken seriously as a walking, thinking individual. I admit, sometimes it’s not even how people treat you, it’s just a self-consciousness thing. Your on-screen character/personality is so … bland or even perfect as a child, that it becomes quite frustrating when you realize you have so much more personality and depth than how people or sometimes – even you perceive yourself. I remember being 21 and being asked by a colleague if I have ever dated before. Are you seriousNot that all my life experiences are based on relationships, but yes, I do have a personal life, and a professional life that began when you were only a toddler. 80% sure I’ve seen and experienced more crazy things than you have. Let’s face it, growing up in an environment like that is stresscrafulzy. It’s funny, because that’s also what gives us so much more to work off as actors.

Again, it’s not that they are intentionally minimizing your identity… You’ve just had your whole life somewhat on display but people only get the front of it.

And now my life has changed. I have a corporate job and I struggle to care that much about it. And I see Miley’s hair, and I want to openly have that I don’t give a fxxk attitude.

At least right now I’m not caring about starting my sentences with ‘and’ (did a quick Google search and it looks like I’m okay though).

「明星」不是聾啞人士。

雖然我已經不是演員,不過還是會經歷一些演員經常面對的事情。例如:被人認出(曾經)是演員。

演員真的因為要顧及型像一般都不能夠暢所欲言講出心底話。昨天碰上一些小事讓我想起一些想分享的點滴。

我們這些不是一、二線的演員,剛認識人的時候他們會稱我們為「明星」-通常我都會尷尬地說其實我是個演員而已;因為「明星」這名銜我覺得有點誇張之外我亦擔當不起。然後他們之後的五個問題以內通常會包括「(你在TVB工作)那你是不是會遇見很多明星?」各位準備好沒有?我要「開波」了。這些時候口裡講的是「啊,對啊…」,但是心裡想的是「你傻的嗎?那當然。我在哪裏工作?你根本就是在說:啊,你會上班的,那你是不是會遇見你的同事?」天啊。當然,我們明白大家都只是好奇…不過我也只是分享一下那一刻我心裡真的會覺得這問題挺無聊的。不過當然,遇上興奮的人,一般都是「有佢講無我講」:就是說,他們都這麼興奮好奇,就會不斷地問問題,但是都是一些我們沒什麼可以回答的問題。哈哈哈。

另外,在大大小小的場合裡當過受矚目的人都應該會試過:你會發現人真的十分之主觀。把你認出的人會:一、睜大雙眼、「眼金金」地看著你;或者,二、不斷地明顯地「偷看」你,然後看別處或跟身邊的人一邊細語一邊以高頻率地再次回頭明顯地「偷看」你。

OK,我要借這個機會跟大家解析一件事。我知道大家一般都是從某種屏幕上看見我們,但如果你在現實生活中看見我們,我們已經不是在屏幕上…所以我們其實是看到你、更聽到你的。你站在我身旁大聲地說:「他是TVB的誰啊!」是整個車廂/餐廳/附近的人都聽到的。我們不給反應不是我們盲了或者聾了,是免得給反應而已;因為有些人很有趣,自己這麼大聲大動作 -人的基本反應也就是會看過來吧 - 當我們看過去的時候,他們眼神卻像被你冒犯了,像說著「望咩jek望?」。你都痴線,你那麼大聲說我的名、我參與的劇集,我望一望過來也是正常的反射反應對吧?我還沒問你「望咩jek望?」…

那昨天到底發生什麼事讓我想起這些「點滴」呢?其實真係是很少、經常發生、更是沒有讓我難過的事(就算覺得有點麻煩也不多不少算是習慣了吧),不過也是趣事我便分享一下吧。

昨天在我operate的班機裏面有TVB的演員,也就是我的舊同事吧。我不是負責他們的範圍,不過因為工作我也有經過過。其中一位演員/明星挺有名的,他身後的幾位乘客在我派發入境表的時候已經將我認出,還超大聲的問我是不是TVB的。之後,我一邊工作一邊走上走落,當然他們久不久都會看著(也當然,我是看到的)。到差不多降落的時候,有一位乘客將手機提高,鏡頭向著我,閃光燈一閃,被我用手擋住了!我知道我已經解釋好多事,但我身為cabin crew也想為我的同事們講一番話。我們知道、也appreciate各位乘客對我們的好奇,但是你們總不能二話不說、電話提起,便打算拍我們的照。希望各位尊重一下別人,如果我突然將電話放到你面前拍你的照你也不爽,對吧?況且,在機艙裏面不止你一位乘客,你隨便拍照有機會拍到其他乘客,他們也可能不滿意的。講到重點,你隨便拍我們的照,但是我們沒有準備,表情會很醜,ok????? 哈哈。不過認真說,就算以前是演員我也很討厭這樣,你要拍照你就開口自己過來問,我們沒有什麼原因不讓你拍,但是我們有的時候你要尊重,因為這也是尊重自己的行為。還有,我長氣多說一次,換轉是你也不爽吧?你會否覺得不知道我拍你的照要作什麼用途?那為甚麼我們的照就可以讓你隨便拍下呢?

Anyway,我想說的,就是人真的可以很主觀,你要拍照,你竟然不顧及那人的感受、也不尊重他。你要看明星,那麼多動作,也沒有發現有一位一線明星在過去三個半小時一直坐在你面前。