Tan Kee Yun
The New Paper
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Local actress Fiona Xie is back in show business after a seven-year hiatus, but don't bet on the 34-year-old ever recreating her most iconic scene.
Yes, that famous moment on television - in 2004 Channel 8 drama The Champion - where she ran down Orchard Road decked out in a sexy bikini.
The scene alone earned Xie the not-so-subtle nickname of "Boing-Boing".
At a press conference yesterday afternoon to promote her comeback effort, Channel 5 drama Left Behind, she told reporters with a laugh: "Oh, my friend just sent me Fiona, the song by (local pop-rock duo) Jack & Rai, which goes something like 'Fiona, why you're running in your blue bra', and he asked me what kind of bikini I am going to wear this time (on TV).
"No bikinis in Left Behind. No more bikinis. I'll leave that to the young ones. There are lots of new artists to wear bikinis."
She added: "I've lived my life, I've had my time and doing (The Champion) was a beautiful moment."
In response to her remarks, radio DJ Tim Oh, who hosted the press conference, said jokingly: "Did you hear that? That is the sound of male hearts breaking."
Xie, who worked on photography production, art curation, and at one point headed the Shanghai branch of fashion boutique Surrender while she was away from entertainment, said "it is comforting" to know that her roles, such as in The Champion, have "made a mark in the history of local TV".
"Back then, when I saw myself on screen, I'd cringe and feel embarrassed and go, 'Eww, is that really me?'
"But now, I feel that when you are able to create characters that people remember, it is a mark of strong writing and a strong team."
With a smile, she said: "I never could say this in the past, but I owned my characters."
Left Behind, slated to premiere on Channel 5 in August, features Xie in the main role of a psychiatrist.
It is her first acting effort since 2011's The Golden Couple, a comedy directed by Malaysian singer-actor Aniu.
WAS ENGAGED BUT...
Xie, who admitted candidly that she "had avoided the media like the plague" over the past seven years, also revealed never-before-shared nuggets of her love life at the press conference.
"All of you know I've always been the sort who lived for love. I still do. Some years ago, I was engaged," she said.
"But I couldn't go ahead with the engagement.
"It was a very trying, traumatic period of my life, what with my grandmother's passing from lung cancer and other things going on in my family."
Calling herself a "serial monogamist", Xie said that she "is currently single for the very first time in a long time".
"I've been single for almost a year, and I am not looking," she said firmly.
"It took me a long time to grow into the woman I am right now, someone who is learning to love herself.
"I am enjoying my me time doing things I love - as an individual. I have standards, I am not going to settle."
Previously based in Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai, Xie said that one of the main reasons that she decided to move back to Singapore, other than to return to acting, was due to "a close family member falling ill".
She did not go into details, but she choked up while talking about it.
"To be honest, I was scared of returning to showbiz. It was scary walking back after leaving for so long," said Xie, her eyes reddening.
"My cousin, who is just 23, was the one who gave me the courage. He told me, 'You have every breath to live, why are you fearful?'
"So I am going to show it to him. I am proud of my cousin, and I love my family very much."
Xie, who was dubbed one of Channel 8's Seven Princesses along with Felicia Chin, Jeanette Aw, Rui En, Dawn Yeoh, Jesseca Liu, and Joanne Peh in the mid-2000s, said she does not view her younger showbiz counterparts as rivals.
"I celebrate the younger stars of today. I can never be 19 again, so please take those '19-year-old roles' as I can never play them any more," she said.
"I was a newbie once, so I understand what the young ones are going through. I went through it myself.
"Finally, I can be the big sister to dish out words of encouragement and advice."
Get The New Paper for more stories.