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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ariel Lin: The maturing of Lin family's girl. The other side of the top idol actress
Translated by Amanda581@
Ariel had just obtained Taiwanese television's highest form of recognition – the GBA Best Actress Award, and consolidates her position as Taiwanese Idol Drama's top actress. Seven years after her debut, Ariel is no longer the little girl-next-door. However, she remains frank and straightforward. In the ISWAK drama series, Ariel's most memorable portrayal of the main female protagonist, Xiang Qin, is of her inability to live independently and her muddle-headedness in committing the simplest of errors. However in real life, Ariel is very mature; she is able to manage her own finances. As she does not invest in stocks and shares, the recent financial turmoil has little effect upon her. She knows how to save for a rainy day; at 26 years old, she has already made financial plans for her retirement. She doesn't like to use credit cards, and even if she does use it, she would clear her credit card bills promptly at the end of each month. Her famous quote being, "Absolutely cannot let the banks earn this type of interest." When she is not filming, Ariel is not as lively as she is portrayed on-screen. She loves to watch movies at home and loves to read. Occasionally, she acts like a typical young girl. When in a good mood, she would be dancing by herself in her own room, or sing karaoke with her friends. Her principle in friendship is "relationship between friends are as insipid as water". This is the Ariel that has consented to be interviewed, the Ariel outside the glare of GBA and outside of her title of top actress.

Dad, Mom, and Brother
Although she comes from a single-parent family, Ariel says: "Actually, I am not sad about it." She said that she has been in contact with her father all these years, except that contact is not very frequent. It only became more frequent last year. There were copious media coverage of father and daughter cycling together to lose weight, allowing us to see the warmth of their relationship. On the day of GBA, Ariel's father was at the grounds just outside of the GBA auditorium, watching the entire proceedings from the large screen there. Ariel's father is very happy about Ariel's win. However, Ariel seem to have gotten used to her father's pride in her achievements: "He is always like that. It is not as if he was only proud of me when I entered the entertainment circle. Since I was young, he always boasts about his own daughter."

Father and daughter had been spending more time together since last year. Ariel says that at her age, she hopes to be able to restore the relationship between them. "In the beginning, it was inevitable to have some awkwardness. Although you can't actually say that we are friends now, we are both trying our hardest to repair our relationship."

It was 8pm when Ariel was being interviewed. Her manager, Zhou Mei Yu said that she is working that day and the interview had to take place between two schedules. I had thought that Ariel must have been tired after such a long day and would not be in the mood to talk. So I was feeling a little guilty when asking about her father. However, Ariel was very open and generous in her answers.

To Ariel, restoring her relationship with her father is "hoping that I can try harder to understand my dad, and to allow my dad to understand me a little better." When asked if her father would give her a present when she got her GBA, she smiled and answered, "He won't. Neither would mom and brother. Rather, I would have to buy a present for my dad. I'll buy whatever he likes. For example, gym equipment and stuff like that. A whole set of gym equipment is rather expensive. However, as long as he likes it, it is ok."

Ariel and her mother had been dependent on each other for survival. Among all the stories that has been circulating, the most famous is the touching story of the "gold necklace incident". When Ariel's grandfather died of lung cancer, he gave Ariel's mother a gold necklace. However, as Ariel's mother had to single-handedly bring up two children, the financial burden was tremendous. In her most difficult moments, Ariel's mother pawned this gold necklace but kept its box and its certificate as proof of ownership. When Ariel started earning money, she took this certificate to the goldsmith to fabricate the exact copy of that necklace for her mother's 50th birthday. After GBA, the first person Ariel called was her mother. However, Ariel's mom saw a dog being abused that day and as she is a dog owner herself, she was extremely distressed and did not watch TV. She therefore missed Ariel's walk down the red carpet and Ariel's presenting of awards. Luckily, she caught Ariel receiving her award on TV. However, even if she had not won, Ariel does not feel as if she had let her mother down. This is because, Ariel's mother had never been very agreeable to Ariel being in the entertainment business. "She always feels that I entered the entertainment circle in order to ease the family's financial pressures. Therefore she had never been at ease with my development in this business. She only hopes that I can be happy and even told me that we should find a way to get the money to breach my contract, that way I would be able to go for further studies and do what I like to do. However, I told her that I really do quite like dramas. Only then I could put a halt to these ideas of hers. That is why she is not too concerned whether I win this award or not."

Ariel first entered the entertainment circle because of her brother. She first entered the "Miss Rapid Transit" pageant in order to win the prize money so "I can buy my younger brother a computer". This time, upon winning GBA, Ariel smiled and said that her brother feels that his contribution is the greatest, "Previously when I was in a programme with him, he said that I will definitely win the GBA. He feels that it is because of those words that had protected me, and allowed me to win. Therefore he took credit for me winning this award." It sounds like Ariel loves her brother very much. Her brother, Lin Wei Sheng, had just come back from France after studying about restaurant catering. When asked if Ariel will give money for him to open a restaurant, she answered, "Not at the moment. Loving him and wanting to help him does not mean giving him money. I think I still need some to observe to see if he is really able to make it himself."

Earning money, saving money, and spending money.
Ariel is famous in the entertainment circles for being thrifty. Ariel averages an income of RMB2500 per month. Because she has been so busy, she has little opportunity to spend. Moreover, Ariel does not have the habit of wearing branded clothes. Other than that, even when she is eating, she would habitually start calculating the cost of the ingredients. She is one of those who scrimps and saves in the entertainment industry.

Ariel does not have a habit of spending money indiscriminately. Not only does she seldom use credit cards, she doesn't even have her own credit card. What she has is a supplementary card from her mother. She feels that after using credit card, she still has to pay credit card bills. This feels as if she has to pay her bills twice and therefore does not like the feeling of using credit cards. Moreover, she doesn't like the feeling of paying bills. Even if she uses her credit card, she would pay her bills promptly that very month, saying "absolutely will not let the banks earn this kind of interest".

Other than earning money and saving money, Ariel also has plans on letting money earn money. She would normally split her savings into five portions; fixed deposits, current account deposits, savings account, foreign currencies, and investment-linked insurance. Because her investment is in foreign currencies and not in bonds, so even with the current global financial upheavals, Ariel is not worried. She is a person who plans carefully for her future. She is already making financial preparations for her future. "I need to save. So that when I am 40 or 50, or if I retire from the entertainment circle, or if I fall ill, I have something to fall back on." Ariel says that because her brother was learning about catering in France, she hopes that she may be able to live in France after her retirement. So, she is saving in hopes of emigrating to France and opening a restaurant there.

Other than her dreams of opening a restaurant in France, she has a personal "fund" that takes into account funds for marriage, funds for her children's education, pension funds for her family members, etc. Although she needs to save a lot, Ariel says that it is a good thing to have a little money that may be able to help the disadvantaged, at an opportune time. She feels that it is very important to help the less privileged. Therefore although she does not have the habit of lending money to others, she will not shirk her civic duty to do charity.

Of course, Ariel has her own expenditure. She loves to read. Although the speed at which she reads is by far slower than the speed at which she buys books, she still insists on buying books. She has almost finished decorating the luxury apartment on which she had spent tens of millions of Taiwanese dollars and will move in at the end of this month. Ariel says that the most distinctive feature of this house is that two walls of her room is lined with bookshelves. "Because I love to buy books and collect books. The encyclopaedias and fairy tales that I loved when I was young, I have kept them till now. So I need a lot of shelf space." As for the new house, Ariel frankly said, "There is a sense of achievement." So regardless of how busy she gets while filming, she would still look into the details of the renovation of the new house. In order to decorate this little "territory" well, she would of course not able to be too frugal. Ariel said: "I have given my opinion about the building materials. When I was filming in Hangzhou, my brother had to send me photographs of door handles. Of course I had to decide about my own room as well. My room is decorated in my favourite Victorian style. That is, richly ornamental without being overly complicated."

Travelling is also another hobby which she spends much money on. In October 2007, Ariel self-funded her stay in America for a month, combining her love for travelling and her love for learning into one. It was said that Ariel and her housemate rented a two-room apartment near Times Square that cost USD2,500 each. So this New York trip wasn't cheap at all. Upon her return, she published "Ariel Lin's New York Big Apple Diary" which is believed to have recouped quite a bit of her expenses. When speaking about publishing, Ariel was a little embarrassed when she said, "Didn't you ask me just now what I would have done if I was not in the entertainment industry? I thought of it! I hope to be an author."

Good Friends, Dead Friends and Comrade-in-arms
Soon after Ariel Lin and Rainie Yang started working for the same TV station, there were news of the two friends falling out with each other. It was said that it all started because Rainie was laughing about how Ariel was copying her hairstyle, behind Ariel's back. The two friends then held a grudge against each other and grew apart. We asked Ariel if Rainie really said those words. Ariel said: "I would of course choose to believe my friend." Are they still friends? "Of course. Perhaps my definition of friendship and the way I interact is different from what everybody expects, that is why everyone misunderstood. I am not the kind to call my friends often on the phone. Usually I communicate by phone messages." Ariel said that she was sitting very near Rainie during GBA and was talking to her throughout the show. Moreover, she also received Rainie's congratulatory message after GBA.

Other than that, Ariel has also not forgotten her good friend, Xu Wei Lun, who had passed away last year due to a car accident. Although she was not very well-prepared when she was receiving her award on stage and missed mentioning Xu Wei Lun during her acceptance speech, Ariel said that she did silently speak to Wei Lun about it during the post-award celebration. Moreover, she would be visiting Xu Wei Lun in the cemetery privately with a few friends.

Her third collaboration with Joe Cheng, "Love or Bread" is currently being filmed. Although the media had always wanted these two together, and fans have longed for the day when the feelings between the two may develop deeper over time, Joe has also continuously demonstrated his love for her in public, and even Joe's father had stepped forward to "force the marriage" by expressing his satisfaction with Ariel, but Ariel still used the phrase "old comrade-in-arms" to describe her relationship with Joe Cheng.

In fact, the two of them match very well. Both have the same views on money, both do not like to spend money indiscriminately, both have the habit of splitting their savings into five portions, and both do not like to use credit cards. Other than their views on money, they also share the same dreams for their future. Joe Cheng has said that he hopes to open a restaurant after his retirement. And Ariel had planned to open a restaurant in France in future. What is most unusual is that they both fit each other's description of their ideal partners. Joe Cheng likes someone who is "filial, understanding, and who is optimistic in the face of difficulty." Basically, within the entertainment circle, has publicly admitted that Ariel fully fits his description. Ariel, in return, says "a man who is sometimes childish." Joe Cheng fits this description well. But till now, the two of them has not tried to date in public. The protagonists may not be anxious, but onlookers are extremely anxious about this matter. Ariel is asked if she would consider dating Joe, she said, "We are too familiar with each other. Wouldn't it be strange to date each other?"

Reporter's Notes:

Lin Family's Girl
Perhaps we have watched too much of Ariel's portrayal of the muddle-headed little girl on screen. With regard to her title as GBA Queen or Top Actress of Idol Dramas, we kept feeling that such titles is not really in accord with her person. Even after winning the GBA, she is still the same Ariel. She still treats people with the same sincerity, courteous, and still will draw clear boundaries to protect herself. After chatting with her aimlessly for a while, I am starting to feel that her personality and her appearance has a huge difference. She is mature, steady, independent, and stands by her own principles. She definitely thinks before she speaks. And her fast response time clearly demonstrates that she is a very clever girl.

She says that she idolises Maggie Cheung within the entertainment circle. Such an answer is not surprising. Many popular young starts say that too. However, the reason why Ariel idolises her is not the usual acting skills, but for the way she conducts herself. This is rather unusual. She has had a very smooth journey in the entertainment industry thus far. But when you see how she diets in order to stay photogenic on-screen, and how she battles with her "bread-bun" face, one wishes that she would be able to save enough money soon, and open a restaurant in France with her brother, and live a life of good food.

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