Fala Chen (陳法拉) left behind mysterious footsteps after leaving TVB in 2013.
After shooting the Ronald Cheng (鄭中基) pirate film about Cheung Po Tsai in the summer of 2014, news of Fala almost completely disappeared, and the actress left Hong Kong for New York, where she said she would stay temporarily to finish an acting course.
This acting course turned out to be a four-year masters program at the world’s leading performing arts school, the Juilliard School, reports Jayne Stars.
This month, while taking her semester break from Juilliard, Fala returned to Hong Kong to do a photoshoot for Cosmopolitan Hong Kong and the skincare brand, Olay.
The actress, who will be turning 34 years old next month, revealed at the shoot that she has been attending Juilliard since September 2014. A full-time student, Fala would only be able to return to Hong Kong during her semester breaks.
It was a huge risk for Fala when she made the decision to apply for Juilliard.
The Chengdu native has been in the Hong Kong industry since winning the Miss Chinese International Pageant in 2005, and was at the peak of her acting career when she decided to leave her agency of eight years, TVB. But time does not wait, and attending Juilliard has always been a dream of hers.
“Several thousand people apply for the school’s masters program every year, but they only accept five men and five women. I am still in shock that I was accepted. What great luck. After a long discussion with my manager, I finally decided to temporarily let go of my career in Hong Kong and study the program.”
In the blink of an eye, Fala went from being one of Hong Kong’s hottest actresses to a normal, full-time graduate student in New York City. It was a decision she did not take lightly.
“There’s dangers to it. I felt uneasy about my decision at first. There were many job offers I had to give up. I also had to consider the finances; after all, when you’re a full-time student, money goes out, not in. But the school gives us a four-year break every year, so I would use this opportunity to return to Hong Kong and continue what I’ve been doing here, to earn more tuition money.”
When talking about life back in the schoolyard, Fala laughed and said that she’s definitely not any less busier than her days filming dramas at TVB.
“I wake up every morning at seven, start classes at nine, and eat dinner at five. After that, there are rehearsals until ten. It’s like this every day, six days a week. Sunday is the only day I get to rest. Whether it’s now or in the past, I still don’t get enough sleep!”
Needless to say, Fala’s everyday life has also become a lot more structured and patterned.
“Simplicity is bliss. I don’t even need to wear makeup everyday now! When I first started class, I would at least apply on some foundation, but now I don’t even do that anymore. I see the same people every single day; they wouldn’t care about how I look. I’d hydrate my face with some cream, grab a loaf of bread, get my backpack, and go to school just like that.”