Simran Panaech and Marianne Das
June 14, 2016
From a chirpy 19-year-old on television to a sophisticated 34-year-old who has a great eye for art, Fiona Xie still has her charms about her. And that bubbly laugh.
Having left celebrity-land of Caldecott Hill in 2009, Fiona had been galavanting around Hong Kong, New York, Shanghai and, most recently, Tokyo indulging in art projects and living the high life.
1. "I was a bit burned out, I just wanted to leave"
The main thing on everyone's mind was why Fiona left in the first place.
"I've been doing it for so long, since I was 19, I was tired and I was a bit burned out. I just wanted to leave. I never really got to live life.
"I was living multiple lives in too many scripts, dramas, and characters which people loved and hated, but at the same time, I never had time for me. I took time to go away, to do what I wanted to do," she explained.
While doing her art projects overseas, she met "all these amazing phenomenal artists, architects, and they were like you should go back and embrace your craft."
So came back she did.
2. "I signed the deal without reading the script"
Fiona is currently filming for a new television series, Left Behind, that will air on Mediacorp TV's Channel 5 on Aug 22.
Producer Kenneth Liang had requested for Fiona to come back to be in his series. He was also Fiona's producer in her first major role in 2001's A War Diary.
"The first reason was people in the arts scene wanted to see my craft, the second was loyalty to Kenneth. So, I feel like it's like coming a full circle.
"Someone who gave me my first opportunity and now it's almost like gratitude. I'm old school like that," said Fiona.
3. "I've been so blessed"
How did Fiona manage to sustain her lifestyle over the seven years? She said it's because she's been incredibly blessed.
"Ya la have to work la, how? I've been working, you're just not in the know," she jokingly said referring to local media being kept in the dark while she was overseas.
She's always had side projects like producing for a photographer and has "worked with very cool people who were very supportive" of what she did. One private client she highlighted was Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
4. "If you have every breath to live, just live it"
She dedicates Left Behind to her sick cousin - another reason for her return - giving her "a lot more meaning to do this show".
Her role as a psychiatrist who frequently dishes out advice to her patients allowed her to take the same advice to heart when dealing with family matters.
At one point when Fiona spoke about her grandmother who had died, she became red-eyed and teary. She had to pause to compose herself again when she spoke about her 23-year-old cousin but stopped short of saying what he's suffering from.
5. "Often I have to protect the people I love"
Fiona explained why she seldom spoke to the media, not because she's being "elusive or evasive" but instead it was to protect the people she loved.
"I would love to tell you upfront but often I have to protect the people I love therefore sometimes, I have to make sacrifices," she admitted.
6. "For the very first time, I'm actually single for quite a long period of time but I'm not looking"
Self-proclaimed serial monogamist, Fiona admitted to being "engaged back then" but is single now. She said she didn't go through with the engagement because she was so broken by her grandmother's passing.
She also talked about her growth over the years: "It took me a long time to grow into the woman that I am now. Learn to love yourself because you can never be someone else until you're completely whole."
But for those who think they may stand a chance with her, beware.
"I think I have standards, and I'm not going to settle," teased Fiona.
Watch the video below.