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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Sun Special Report: Bernice Liu

Bernice Liu has been in the industry for five years now and has made herself a strong position within TVB, dubbed as 'sexy fa dan'. Taking the step down this route produced a time of tough decisions for Bernice, leaving life in the schoolyard in Vancouver to a strange place that was Hong Kong and start afresh required a lot of hard work that is beyond comprehension.

Taking part in Miss Chinese International was a new start in life for me. I remember I was in Vancouver's UBC studying in my third year, with the opportunity to change from science to business administration, but the course needed a second language. Although my parents are both Chinese, I could only speak English and not a word of Chinese. Normally the courses lasted six months, but in order for me to learn the language more quickly, my friends suggested I entered a beauty pageant held by the local Chinese TV station. I ended up winning this and having the chance to go to Hong Kong and take part in the Miss Chinese International Pageant and with another stroke of luck, I won another award.

Taking the MCI crown, I suddenly became the focus of many people and it was a novelty to me. TVB sent someone to ask me if I was interested in entering the showbiz industry and there was a conflict in my mind. I was afraid I would not be able to adapt to the new life, because I love my family. My dad knows that I love to perform and show off myself, so he would rather give up his work in Vancouver to help me develop my career in Hong Kong. I am very grateful to him. The university let me put my degree on hold for ten years, so with the co-operation of all the factors, I had no worries and started to make my own world.

Arriving in Hong Kong, starting to adapt to a new life in a strange place was not easy and whether it was my living environment or the people around me, everything was different. However, I deeply believed that a person's success is dependent on how hard you have worked. I have some friends who have lived in Hong Kong for over twenty years, but because they refuse to adapt to the Chinese way of life, they are still unable to speak a word of Chinese.

I feel that I am quite lucky, as TVB arranged for me to film in "Virtues of Harmony" and I knew that this was a great learning opportunity as I could force myself to speak in Cantonese. As I could not read a word of Chinese, every time I got a script, I had to ask someone to add phonetics next to the words before I learned how to say it. I mispronounced many words into swear words and even turned around the four character phrases, causing many funny incidents. Fortunately, these days are passed now and I can reap the rewards today.

Showbusiness is only sparkling because there is a kaleidescope of the good and direct and the sly and scheming. Any artistes that appear with a threat are met with resistance and hostility that will harm every part. For Bernice's five years in the business, she has been in a position where she was being prodded and has risen to a position where she can sit comfortably and let the world go by. The reason she can do this is because she has an escape route that she can use at any time to run to another world.

Without even noticing, it has been five years since I entered the industry and there has been a lot of gossip and rumours in this time, especially a couple of years ago, when there was a lot of negative press about me falling out with so-and-so and fighting for awards. Earlier, a magazine accused me of being arrogant, but I decided not to ask or respond, what I don't see, I don't care about. I once heard Jessica Hsuan say: "For the direct personality, you will lose out in this industry." However, I don't like holding back and I hope that everyone can see the truest side of me. I have seen through the toughest criticisms and I believe that the world is round. If someone provokes you, they are doing their thing and I feel that that the world is very perfect, so no matter how you treat other people, then be it a week, a year or five years - it will come back to you.

I admit that my Cantonese is not good and that in my mind, I will try to piece things together, but still not be able to convey my message and my tone of voice is easily misunderstood. Like my TVB managers, I have had four in five years and sometimes they each have their own opinions and their working styles, so we need time to adapt, but I usually address the situation and not the person, so we always reach an agreement.

Although the pressure is large in the entertainment industry, I still cherish everything that I have, because you only have one life. Also, no matter what I do, my family will support me. Many people enter showbiz because they want to make money, I do not have this pressure and if one day I am very unhappy, then I can leave the industry at any time because I know I have many options, such as going back to study. When I am at my saddest, I have Mac (two year old dog) to keep me company and he can feel human emotions. I often talk to him about my problems and cry on the side of my bed, but he will come over and lick my tears. No matter how unhappy I am,when I see him, I will forget about the world of work.

Since entering the industry, Bernice has had an endless string of gossip and rumours. Hawick Lau played the role of interpreter and chauffeur and she has admitted herself that she gets on very well with Moses Chan. So who is the Mr. Right in her life? She just says that all will come clear when the time is right.

In the last five years, every time I filmed a series, there would be gossip and to be honest, these things really are beyond my control. For instance, when I was filming for "Virtues of Harmony", I was going about it blindly and I didn't know anything, so the company sent Hawick Lau to help me, so you could say that this rumoured boyfriend was given to me by the company. At the time I did not know my way around and so he even drove me around. He was like my manager and as my Cantonese was not very good, he helped me to translate and write sounds against my scripts. He really is a good man. Maybe our ages are quite similar and we got on well, so people thought that we were dating. At the time, I also got on well with Timmy Hung and Carlo Ng, but the press were only interested in the two of us.

Afterwards, I was linked with Sammul Chan, Bosco Wong and Moses Chan and personally I didn't mind too much. In the case of Moses, were were filming together for "Love Bond" and the viewers really accepted our on-screen couple personas, so many advertising sponsors asked us to work together. We joined forces to make money and this was no problem to me. Moreover we worked well together and although a lot of people think that we have an underground relationship, I will not say too much because I will leave it all to fate. Whether or not he is 'the one', then everyone will know when the time is right.

My first boyfriend came to Hong Kong to visit me last year and when we saw each other, we were both very happy. It is hard to describe the feeling at the time and I was suddenly very emotional. Maybe because of the circumstances at the time, where he had to go elsewhere to study, we felt it was a shame but we had to split up. Luckily we were very peaceful and now when we meet, it is like meeting up with an old friend. If you ask me whether there is a chance of getting back together with my ex-boyfriend, then it is hard to say because we have grown up now and I just know that after so long apart, we still feel very very close when we meet.

has a great figure and since her appearance, this has been the focus of attention. In her time in showbiz, the stories of her tossing her breasts around have far outweighed the reports on her singing or dancing talent and she is not surprised by this, but she does hope that the audience will change their focus and start appreciating her from a fresh angle.

I believe that in this world, there are no artistes who lack an urge to perform. I started dancing when I was four years old and after each performance, the applause of the audience would inject me with more passion and enthusiasm. Every time I went out to enter different competitions, winning and becoming the centre of attention, it was an earth shattering experience that filled me with endless pleasure.

I don't know if it is natural talent or the effect of nurture, but my desire to perform is extremely passionate and whether it is in front of a camera or on the stage, for me it is a truly enjoyable experience. Just entering the Hong Kong world of showbiz, then you have opportunities to sing, make movies and do television shows and I have tried TV and movies, so to be able to join Myolie Wu and Charmaine Sheh as part of the 'Lady in Red' album was a surprise beyond my expectations and of course a victory for me in this battle.

Singing has never been my strong point and when my first song "Truth" was released, many people were not aware of the 'truth' and did not know that it was me singing. It was only when this song made it into the karaoke boxes and became a hit, that the positive reviews came flooding in and that happiness cannot be rivalled.

For an artiste, working without rest or sleep into the early hours of the morning, they only hope for this moment of happiness. Later, TVB gave me the opportunity to continue on this and offered me two new songs with a lighter beat to tie in with my Hip Hop dance.

On the stage, I show off my best, hoping that the audience will lose themselves. In order to reach the best outcome, I think hard about my attire, but when the reports come out, it is always: "Wow! Your breasts are falling out!" The focus of the press is always on my figure, my breasts move with my body, what is so unusual? Of course, I understand how the showbiz industry works and even my father warned me about this before I entered the industry that meaningful and pointless reports are likely to come in waves. Women's figures are inherited in genetics and you can applaud what my mother passed onto me, so if you have to thank someone, then thank my worthy mother.

For artistes, aside from their fans, they cannot be without their families. Bernice grew up in Canada and her family are as close as ever as her father even returned with her to help develop her career. She cherishes deeply this model family and keeps in touch with them constantly by email.

The most shockingly emotional event for me happened at our village in Shunde. Our Liu Family originated in a village, where there are now 4000 villagers. When I found out that my father wanted to take me back to the village, I was incredibly excited and for me, I have always wanted to find out more about my ancestors, but growing up in Canada and not knowing much Chinese, I was totally ignorant of the Liu Family village.

The weather that day was very good and when I entered the village with my dad, there were already many people around and the villagers filled the road. I was stunned to see this and my father whispered in my ear: "The whole village is here today to welcome you." The scene was stunning and it touched me so much that there were hot tears in my eyes. Later, I went to the ancestral hall in the village and saw my name being added to the clan records, making me very emotional again. Life overseas means you speak and hear just English, but on that day, I was truly proud of my family name.

To this day, I still feel that not every family can be as warm and united as mine. The care that my parents give is the greatest. When I was young, every time I went out of town to enter a competition, I knew that I would be back in a day or two, but I would still cry my eyes out. My father gave up his job in Canada because I wanted to stay in Hong Kong for my career, so that he could come over and live with me. Sometimes my mother will come over too. Although my family is split over two places, thanks to technology, email and the internet, it is easy to share each others lives, but whenever it is Mother's Day or Father's Day, if there is time, then even if it involves a long flight, then we will try to be together.

When I was young, my mother would tell me stories of how she and my father met and I would listen as if listening to a fairy story. The snow would fall outside, but lying in my mother's arms, it was very romantic. They were married when they were 24, because their past was so romantic and this left a deep impression with me, so since I was young, I had an ambition to be married at the age of 24. However, as you grow up, you start to understand that this ambition is becoming more and more intangible. Firstly you are affected by your career and then the hardest part is finding a partner with whom you can spend the rest of your life with.

[X] credit: Em @
The Sun


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