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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Maggie Siu: Leading Lady Below the Stage

There were 3 characters in the "Ekin, Maggie, Gigi" triangle, but Maggie Shiu Mei Kei has often remained silent and did not wish to comment on the issue. Since the triangle several years ago, this is the first full length interview that Maggie has accepted. Maggie's answers were short and to the point. But her most important request was that the reporter did not bring up any specific actor names in the interview.

The reporter did not mention Ekin Cheng nor Gigi Leung Wing Kei's names, but only asked about Maggie's current relationship status. Maggie said that she has not dated anyone for the last 6 years. "I am not afraid that my boyfriend would not love me, but I am afraid that I would love him too much." This is Maggie's method of loving, once she loves someone, she will always be willing to sacrifice herself.

At one point Ekin said that he will take care of Maggie for the rest of her life. Maggie said, "I have always known how to take care of myself so I don't need someone else to do so."

Maggie became single again, she took better care of her health. She found a traditional doctor to improve her liver functions. After she regained her normal weight, she filmed several movies for director Johnny To Kei Fung and won the Golden Bauhinia Award for Best Supporting Actress in "PTU."

Returning to TVB, Maggie has been cast in supporting roles, acting as Ron Ng Cheuk Hei's mother in "Find the Light." Maggie said she didn't mind as the most important thing is that there is opportunity for her to act. And Damien Lau Chung Yan is a good co-star.

Becoming A New Woman
Last year, Maggie became Marianne Chan Miu Ying's LF slimming products spokesperson. Maggie gained curves in her figure and wore bikinis and bra-tops in the photo advertisements. "I have never grown my hair so long before. I have always preferred short hair. Actually, I have shaved my head like a skinhead before, just that I did not display this image in public."

Maggie said that ever since she was a young girl, she did not like girly things. She did not have a Barbie doll, but preferred to play with fire trucks in her childhood. In high school, Maggie was on the school's basketball team and played in international competitions."

Maggie pointed to the 3 inch high heels she was wearing. "It is very hard to be a feminine woman. You have to spend a lot of time and money shopping for many things."

Maggie never thought she can be as sexy as she appeared in the slimming ads. In the past, Maggie did not pay attention to her health and had a smoking habit. Her body retained a lot of fat pockets. Now Maggie has quit smoking and her weight has been lowered to 108 pounds with a 24 inch waist. Marianne made many tonic soups to improve her health and urged Maggie to sleep early and rise early. If there is no work, then she should go to sleep at 10 PM.

When Hong Kong rebroadcast "At the Threshold of an Era," in 2005, many people took the opportunity to rewatch the series. At the TV studio, Liza Wang Ming Chuen asked me if I have been watching the series. I said no. When Liza gave me the summary for the episodes, I realized that I had already forgotten what the series was about."

There is a reason why Maggie forgot as she had filmed "At the Threshold of an Era" in 1999, the year that she and Ekin broke up. It is understandable that unhappy memories should be forgotten.

Since the incident has passed 6 years, the involved parties have experienced career and emotional lows.

Maggie said, "I never purposely looked for another boyfriend. In my life, I can do with or without dating. My friends did not purposely set me up with other men either."

In the past few years, Maggie had pursuers but she was not interested in any of them. "There was a man who gave me 'love' stickers. His intention was clear, but I pretended that I didn't get his meaning. Maybe it's because he is not my type."

"If I were to select a boyfriend, I would find a chubby man. The type of man that would make people happier when you see him. A little chubbier is good, as he can protect me and give me a sense of security. If there is something I don't like to eat, he can eat it for me."

Loving Others More Than Herself
Maggie had two past relationships, a 6 year relationship with TVB producer, Chik Kei Yi and another 6 years with Ekin Cheng. Maggie said, "When I love someone, I will love very deeply."

In the past when Maggie was dating Ekin, she would drive to pick him up in the middle of the night after Ekin finished filming. She would deliver roast duck for him to eat on the set. Maggie doesn't mind doing the things that normally men would do in a relationship."

After the break-up, Maggie has not dated anyone for several years. Maggie put her love towards her family and close friends instead.

In the mid 1990's, Maggie frequently fell sick due to overworking. Her liver became weak and she had bronchitis. She was hospitalized a few times and her weight dropped to only 90 pounds, leaving her literally with only skin and bones. In those years, Maggie did not take on any filming projects because of her illness. Ekin had said that "he will take care of Maggie for the rest of her life." The public was very moved by Ekin's promise, yet a few years later he broke his promise and everyone felt he betrayed Maggie.

Maggie has never said a word about Ekin since the break-up. "Actually I have always been very independent so I don't need anyone to take care of me."

Pakistani Nationality
is an only child and learned how to take care of herself since she was young. Her father worked on a cruise ship and was not home most of the year. Sometimes Maggie's mother also worked outside of Hong Kong. When Maggie was young, her only companion was the TV. There were times when Maggie was the only one at home. In order to gain her parents' attention, she has pretended to run away. She wrote a note, "I have left home; there is no need to look for me." But when her mother saw the note and was not convinced, Maggie was disappointed and had to show herself.

When Maggie entered the industry, she looked like a young version of singer Yan Nei. Maggie looks like she is of mixed descent, but her parents are 100% Chinese.

When Maggie was a young girl, her childhood friend teased her, "You are Pakistani." Maggie believed her friend's words and when she filled out a school form, she wrote that she was of Pakistani nationality. Since Maggie's father worked on a cruise ship, Maggie had questioned whether her father had brought her to Hong Kong from another foreign country.

When Maggie was a student, the most stressful time was when examination results were released. At the time, Maggie had wanted to advance to college, but her examination results did not allow her to continue higher education. When Maggie saw her test scores, her body broke into a cold sweat and she cried at home afterwards.

Since Maggie could not go to college, she worked as a reception nurse for 1 year, taking patients' temperatures and giving them shots. The doctor at the office recommended Maggie get an advanced nursing degree. It was at this time that Maggie applied to TVB for the acting training class. Since Maggie was only in her early 20's at the time, the entertainment industry seemed a lot more appealing.

Maggie's First Industry Job: MV With Jacky Cheung
When Maggie was in the training class, her performance had good results and she was able to complete the course in 4 months. Her classmates included Sheren Tang Tsui Man and Kitty Lai Mei Han; the three of them became good friends. At TVB, Maggie's first job was working with Jacky Cheung Hok Yau in his music video for song ¡¶Ýp“ኅµÄĘ¡· (Touching Your Face Lightly). In the music video, Maggie only had to raise her face and let Jacky touch it lightly.

Classmates Sheren Tang and Kitty Lai had more opportunities upon graduation, quickly becoming female lead actresses at TVB. However, Maggie played supporting actress roles for several years before finally securing her leading lady status in the 1990's with "Blood of Good and Evil." The series established her as a character actress and her short hair became her trademark.

"During that timeframe, I can work without any sleep for 10 days straight. I did not love myself nor take care of my health. I just kept working non-stop."

Maggie went to ATV in the mid 1990's and entered the movie industry. Now she has returned to TVB and understood her needs. "I don't want to work non-stop like I did in the past. I like to learn new things like wakeboarding or French when I have time."

Maggie currently lives by herself in Clear Water Bay. Her routine is rising early and going jogging for morning exercise.

Ten years ago, Maggie's father retired and constructed a house in his home village in China. He lived in China for several years. "It is very dangerous in that village. When he went to bed at night, he kept a gun nearby to protect himself. It is quite scary. And my father is mischievous and likes to go out and explore. He would often disappear, making us worried."

"In order for our family to spend more time together, I urged him to come back to Hong Kong. I persuaded him to buy a fruit orchard in the suburbs. At first he didn't want to come back to Hong Kong but he finally consented because of the family."

For many things in life, people discover their true value only in the second attempt. It is like Maggie's series, "At the Threshold of an Era." When it was rebroadcast in 2005 in the middle of the night, many people stayed up to watch it, saying it was a high quality production featuring a star-studded cast. However when the series was initially released in 1999 during prime time hours, the audience said the plot was not good and ratings were mediocre.

Epilogue: Warming Up
Maybe it's because
Maggie has not accepted a full-length interview for many years, she was unsure of how to pose for the photographs. When the hairstylist told some jokes, Maggie relaxed and a smile appeared on her face.

After 10 minutes into the interview, Maggie answered each of the questions very carefully and asked her assistant whether she answered the questions well. After warming up, Maggie became more lively. When the photographer said "International," Maggie immediately struck an interntational model pose, sucking in her stomach and jutting out her chest. Everyone on the set laughed.

After the interview wrapped up, Maggie cut up some fruits she had brought and offered it to everyone. As Maggie had mentioned in the interview, she likes to take care of people around her. She sliced the fruits and gave it to everyone, hoping they will benefit from the Vitamin C.

[X] credit: Jayne @
Mingpao Magazine #1910


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