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Wednesday, December 07, 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 affairs, 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 Internationl 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.

[X] credit: Jayne @
Express Weekly #379


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