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Sat, Jan 31, 2009
The New Paper
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Nothing fazes this babe
by Tan Kee Yun

HONG KONG actress Fala Chen has had her share of overzealous fans, but nothing beats a 'freaky' letter she once received.

'There was a Malaysian fan who sent me greeting cards very often,' she said. 'It will be a different message every time and the stuff he writes in it can get quite cryptic.

'Then, one day he sent me a wedding invitation card on which he had scribbled 'we are finally married!'.'

'The 'we' he was referring to was the two of us! I was taken aback for a while, but I just brushed it off and ignored his mail from then on.'

No wonder, the 26-year-old keeps cool under any circumstances.

After finishing runner-up in the 2005 Miss Chinese International beauty pageant, Fala joined Hong Kong's premier television station Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB).

In just three years, she became one of TVB's stellar female artistes (or 'fa dan' in Cantonese), her Best Supporting Actress win at the 40th TVB Awards in 2007 being a clear indication of that.

But it hasn't been an easy ride for her.

For a long time she was typecast in one too many bitchy, sexy, spoilt-brat roles.

Among her string of evil characters - a temptress who hits on a married man in The Family Link, a spiteful ballroom dancer in Steps, a materialistic woman in search of a rich husband in A Journey Called Life.

But Fala takes such roles in her stride.

'I'm not averse to playing evil women, as long as there is a reason for them being bad,' she told Singapore journalists in an interview at Conrad Centennial Hotel.

'I also believe there are no two roles that are exactly similar, so even though I am a bitch in this drama and a bitch in that drama, they are still different and it's always a new challenge.'

What about news of her diva attitude, or she becoming a third party in the relationship between fellow TVB artistes Myolie Wu and Bosco Wong?

'That piece of news (about her being a third party) probably came about while I was filming Family Link, and the media got confused between my on-screen and real persona,' she said with a sigh.

'Of course, it's not true, and I think this shows how hard it is to make friends within the entertainment industry, more so with guys.'

Last year's TVB grand production, the 40-episode Moonlight Resonance, was touted as the turning point for Fala, as she played a sweet, kind-hearted mute girl, a role different from what she has played so far.

While she said she appreciated viewers for adoring her role as the mute girl Ah Hing, she is, in fact, very different from Ah Hing.

'Our backgrounds are totally different,' said Fala.

Smart girl

'Plus, I am not like any of the characters I've portrayed. Off screen, I have, and will always be myself. But it always feels great when fans recognise you on the street and call you by your character's name.'

Who, then, is the real Fala Chen?

Perhaps, a smart young lady who is mature for her age and wise with numbers?

The New Paper caught glimpses of that side of her, when the US-born Fala shared with reporters some of her investments.

She recently bought a four-storey, 10,000 sq ft house in the US for her parents. She didn't want to reveal the amount, only saying that it cost a six-figure sum.

Also, she escaped the blood bath in the stock market as she sold all her shares before the credit crisis, she said with a smile.

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 29, 2009.

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