Inferno Dynamics Coffee Roastery

In an attempt to love myself more, I decided to take myself out on dates. Maybe that’s romanticizing it a little. When I think of places I want to check out, I always wait until someone goes with me. It’s partly not wanting to go alone, but also part laziness. I end up doing the same things (or nothing at all) and feeling crappy when Sunday night rolls around.

I walked past this cute coffee shop called Inferno Dynamics Coffee Roastery on 13 Peel Street with a friend the other week and we decided to come back the next day. We never made it back the next day or week, naturally.

Not wanting to stay at home, I got my stuff together (had to talk myself into it and gathered a magazine, laptop, and watercolor so I’d have something to do there since there’ll be no friend to talk to) and headed over.

The aesthetics of this little coffee joint is enough to make it feel weird to be here without anyone to take photos of or for you: marble counter, plants, black walls, and NEON LIGHTS. Overwhelmed visually, I struggled with ordering a hot or cold drink because I wanted to be both inside and outside where despite fans blasting, was still kind of hot. Whatever, they can judge me for being occupied with photos. Long black, sit outside, take pictures, come back in.

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You Need To Love Yourself

How’s this for a thought? I don’t think many of us love ourselves enough. I’m not talking about whether someone comes across as confident, I’m talking about what we really think about ourselves – that deep down feeling we don’t like to give a lot of attention to, or worse yet, that feeling that consumes our entire being, living only under that thin layer of a mask we wear.

I’m bringing this up because obviously, I came to a point where I realized I didn’t love myself as much as I could or should. This stuff runs deep and there can be so many levels to it. Some of this comes in the form of day to day lifestyle choices, like not making enough time for ourselves, and some of this comes from a false sense of identity which perhaps leads to destructive behaviors.

For me, it probably runs on the deeper rather than the shallower (easier) end, but if I’m completely honest, I also don’t have the energy to be dwelling on this every day. I have, however, decided to give this a little more attention because we as humans are always striving for so many things and yet, I don’t think we can go very far unless we are fueled with the right stuff. Let me make this clear, I don’t think EVERYONE is messed up and “needs” to love themselves more. I know people who are happy and are at a good place. We do, however, go through ups and downs, and many are able to seek improvement and change under a very positive light.

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[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).