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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

[FACE 127] Charmaine Sheh: Not Marrying Money

Every end of the year, people will start fighting for awards.

The cast of [Beyond the Realm of Conscience] and [Born Rich] are fighting for buzz and ratings. [Beyond] cast including Tavia Yeung, Michelle Yim and Susanna Kwan were already coveting for the Best Actress Award from hot favorite Sheren Tang.

As for 34 year old Charmaine Sheh who have just returned from a two months holiday; she the most secured 1st Sister in TVB, with career spanning 12 years and filming more than 100 episodes annually. However, she seems to be lacking the interest in fighting for the award.

Of course. Compared to the actresses in her batch, she is already a winner from the start. She may have emerged victorious, but it also left battle scars.

"I’ve sustained a lot of injuries from filming throughout the years. While filming [Crimson Sabre] in 1999, I hurt my knees and to this day my blood circulation was blocked. Every time I shower, my knees will turn red."

As for her love life, she has always been labeled as 'Flirty'. Among her rumored boyfriends were Benny Chan, Ron Ng, and Joe Ma etc. She spent a lot of fighting energy on these rumors. Mentioning about her rumored ex-boyfriend of two years; the wooden Kevin Cheng; she coolly replied: "I said that I like humorous and optimistic guy. I never see him smile."

Regarding the rumors of her dating a HKD50 billionaire; she doesn't bothered to get angry or provide any explanation. Though it is every Hong Kong girl ultimate dream to marry a rich guy, Charmaine is already an owner of luxury condominiums worth over HKD10 million and is quite a wealthy lady herself. With good conditions, career and status, Charmaine current wish is to reduce filming load. Even if she has a rich boyfriend, it's just a tiny decoration in her life.

"I want to marry the man (I love), not money."

With her current status, she is definitely qualified to proclaim this statement aloud.

Eyes that speaks

Charmaine Sheh have sharp eyes.

We had this interview during her make up session. With every question posed, she will ponder for 2-3 seconds before answering in a clearly and seriously. Though her voice is coy, she will raise her eyes and glanced at me every now and then. I might be the one interviewing her, but her eyes seem to be questioning back at me.

"My ex-boyfriend said that my eyes speaks."

She said that she can't remember when she started building such self-confidence. Evidently, she is no longer the raw acting, 'Chor Gor Gor' loving Chuk Kwan Ho in [Return of the Cuckoo]. Back then Anita Yuen even came to studio to supervise the filming.

For the interview today, she arrives wearing a pair of sunglasses. She switched on the lamp of the makeup table by herself and smilingly asked if we could order some food, because she has not eaten yet. After she changed clothes, she asked the wardrobe designer: "Will you have any accessories for me to put on?" I planned to play some soft music to relax the atmosphere, and she said: "No need to do so much stuff! Let's just concentrate on the interview first."

Well prepared in advance, this is the charisma of 1st Sister.

Missing out on love

"My transformation is due to TVB never giving up on me for all these years; whom started with 'chicken' voice and zero acting skill.

I only start to get enlightened while filming [Country Spirit] in 2001. Back then, I asked the producer to cast me in the role. I lived in a farming village for a month and walked around shoeless like a farmer, making friends with the villagers. It made me learn how to instill myself into the storyline."

In the next few years, she was so busy filming that she barely had time to sleep. Her health deteriorated. Seeing other actresses get married one after another, some changed career, some could not bounce back into popularity. When she drives home late in the night, she wondered the reason she is toiling away for.

"Too bad I didn't meet a good man who I like and rich back the, otherwise I'd be married. Hehe! However I think I didn't make the wrong choice. Opportunities in career are more important than love. Dating, you can still date at 40-50s. But for us female artistes; if you missed the career opportunities in your 20s, you'll never know how long you will have to wait."

If Sonija Kwok heard this statement, she would be able to empathize deeper.

Charmaine garnered Double TVB Queen award in 2006 for her role in [Maiden's Vow]. She said she too had feelings of being lost in the past; not knowing what is her next goal. In previous year she visited her mother who is living with her stepfather in Hawaii. Due to complications during lung surgery, her mother heart stopped temporarily. This made Charmaine understand that she has to treasure her loved ones before it's too late.

"In the recent years I will at least apply for a month long holiday to accompany my mother in Hawaii; spending time to stroll and have tea with her. You will never know when your loved ones will suddenly leave. A few months ago, my 95 years old grandmother accidentally slipped and was hospitalized. When I reached the hospital, she is feeling unwell and I asked: "Do you know who I am?" She answered: "You are cousin auntie!" She could not recognize me and I was so sad I couldn't stop crying.

In my career, I climbed from 0 to 10. The process is really difficult and totally exhausting. I realized that when I finally reach 10, it is more difficult and exhausting to maintain at this level.

You asked me if I still wish to get the Best Actress Award. Of course I want to. You asked me if I have earned enough, I can only say that having HKD50 million of cash deposit is consider enough, I have yet to reach it. However, there are more important things in the world waiting for me to accomplish other than awards and earning money.

At least, I sacrificed love for career. Before I enter the entertainment business, I have a lot of pursuers. How many? To the extent I could choose as I please!"

Actually, Charmaine do not lack suitors after entering entertainment. It's just that she could not date openly due to complications in relationships. Especially her rumored relationship boyfriend Kevin Cheng for the past two years, there were indications that he is afraid to affect his career and quickly kick her off his car after being caught by reporters. He was accused of making her to bear the blame of stealing Niki Chow's boyfriend.

"Whether making the relationship public or not, I don't mind. It depends on how my partner feels. When it comes to love, if they are still single I do not think there's such thing as 3rd party stealing other's boyfriend. Everyone have the right to make their own choices.

Kevin is a good friend, he is a good person. I have considered developing further with him. However when it comes to choosing boyfriend, I prefer the type who are more optimistic, humorous and love to communicate. Because I'm not someone who will keep silent, I will eventually spill out my thoughts."

First Love. Touch. Unlimited.

She said that all of her previous boyfriends remained friends after break up and do not have feelings of grudges. Now, she is still staying in the same building with Benny Chan who was rumored to be a player. However, when it comes to love, you cannot turn back the hands of time.

"My first love was very fairy-tale like and romantic! Back then I was living on the 5th floor of a building in Mei Foo. My boyfriend bought me an expensive bracelet and came to my building to present it to me. Because I can't go out, I lowered a small basket tied to a rope downstairs to retrieve it. Unfortunately I lost the bracelet two days later. I kept crying and want my boyfriend to console me. We broke up when I had to further my studies in Switzerland.

Now I'm more practical when it comes to dating. Will I accept my boyfriend being a playboy? Sigh, I really don't know! (Repeat thrice) I'm not a man; I don't know whether all men will do that.

Getting married and having children is not too important to me. Since my elder and younger brothers are already married, my mum already got grandchildren. You can't expect me to start thinking about marriage the moment I start dating? I don't want to scare men away."

Schemes of a little bee

Charmaine's character in [Beyond the Realm of Conscience] is so unbelievably good, people touted her as Hong Kong version of Dae Jang Geum.

In reality, TVB itself is an inner palace where a lot of scheming, gossiping, criticizing others to make yourself look good. Charmaine said that she witnessed these happening before. The role she portrayed is definitely not the unbelievably good person that is constantly bullied.

"I am a bee, very active and loves honey. Therefore I can be very sweet. However if you bully me, I have attacking power too."

This afternoon, she used her attacking power on me and used her sweetness on the photographer.

When we are chatting about [In the Chamber of Bliss] and asked if she feel that the series is boring, she suddenly switched off my voice recorder and stared at me: "Are you playing tricks with me? You want me to unwarily criticize other series?" When asked if she could provide the pictures of her two cats and also her over thousand pairs of shoes collection at home, she immediately answered: "You still want me to work at home?" She is so frank to the point of humorous.

When we joked that we could 'key in' one of her rumored boyfriend as her reflection in the mirror, she smiled softly and said to the photographer: "Let's put you instead, I think you are ok."

The photographer later said: "She is coy, but not the type you will hate!"

Sigh... how enviable.

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Don't forget to vote for Charmaine @ Mingpao Artistes Award 2009!

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