She showed up at the glitzy annual Star Awards 20 on Sunday, surprising everyone with a head of silvery white hair.
Local actress Hong Huifang's unusual hair colour quickly got netizens talking.
While some praised her daring new hairstyle on the red carpet, others criticised it, saying it was "bad" and "made her look a lot older".
To everyone's surprise, the 53-year-old veteran actress clarified on her Instagram account yesterday that her white hair is her natural hair colour, and not a result of bleaching or dyeing.
Hong later told The New Paper: "My white hair is hereditary, my whole family has it, including my mother and aunt.
"In the past, I dyed it black once every two weeks when the white roots grew out, but the constant colouring made my scalp very painful and sensitive."
Hong's scalp became inflamed due to the strong chemicals used in hair dyes and there were blisters growing on it.
It was so bad that she had to seek medical help, she said.
Her doctor told her that she had sensitive scalp from the regular colouring and asked her to stop dyeing her hair to let her scalp rest.
She added: "That's why I decided to stop dyeing it since last June, and let my natural white hair grow out. Since then, my scalp became much healthier and less itchy."
Sunday was the first time Hong debuted her natural white hair to the public.
For the past 20-odd years, the mother of a daughter, 18, and a son, 14, has always worn a wig or dyed her hair roots black before stepping out and during drama shoots, she said.
ONLY FEW KNOW
She's had white hair since she was 30, and only her family members and close friends know about it.
Hong said she was apprehensive about showing up at the Star Awards with her white hair, as she was worried that viewers might not like it.
She said: "I even brought along a wig on the day itself, and couldn't decide if I should wear it or not. However, since it's a big event where stars can experiment with different looks, I thought I would let people see my original hair colour.
"I was prepared for the worst as I knew there might be a backlash from the public. I wanted to show people the real side of me."
Even though her crowning glory has received mixed reactions from viewers, Hong said she is not affected.
She said: "I've been monitoring the feedback on Facebook and Instagram for the past few days, and it was interesting to see the people's reactions. I hope that by doing this, others who have white hair like me will not be conscious about showing it.
"Most importantly, it's about ageing gracefully."
This article was first published in The New Paper on April 30.
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