Quan Yifeng: My daughter blossomed from an 'ugly duckling' to a 'goddess'

14 November 2015 / 11 months 2 weeks ago

Jocelyn Lee
The New Paper
9 November 2015

She is only 16.

But budding local model-actress Eleanor Lee's going rate for acting or commercial gigs is a cool six-figure sum.

Earlier this year, the daughter of Taiwan-born MediaCorp actress-host Quan Yifeng set the Internet abuzz when she starred in a 90-second Apple commercial in China.

She reportedly collected a six-figure amount for the ad and used her earnings to buy an Hermes Birkin bag worth over $20,000 for Quan.

Next month, she will fly to China for a month to make her acting debut in television period drama Tribes And Empires, playing the younger version of lead actress Karlina Zhang's character. Eleanor will appear in the first eight episodes.

Quan, 41, said in Mandarin of her child's acting debut: "She is netting a six-figure sum as well. This is her going rate now. I agree to projects only if it fits with her schedule.

"She's a student and studies should still be her main priority."

The pair spoke jointly at Ode To Art gallery at Raffles City Shopping Centre yesterday evening, where Eleanor had two artworks on display.

The paintings, created in collaboration with acclaimed Chinese sculptor and painter Wu Qiong, are selling for $15,500 each.

In one picture, she created the background spirals while Wu, 34, drew the central whimsical character.

Quan had sent Eleanor to Beijing a few months ago to live with Wu for two weeks and learn from him. Impressed after seeing some paintings that Eleanor created, he suggested they work together.

Since her Apple commercial aired, Eleanor has been offered four TV and movie roles but rejected them because of her studies.

The international school student said she has been watching the 2011 Chinese TV series The Legend Of Zhen Huan to prepare for her upcoming role.

Laughing, she said in Mandarin: "I need to practise more as I don't have much acting experience and get a little too lazy sometimes."

She added: "I am quite worried about crying scenes. I can cry very easily when I practise in the toilet but I don't know if I can do it in front of an entire cast and crew."

Quan, who previously opposed Eleanor entering showbiz, is more open to the idea now.

Eleanor caught attention in Singapore last year after appearing in several commercials for her celebrity hairstylist-godfather Addy Lee's new hair product.


Quan said: "My daughter used to be an ugly duckling, but who knew she would blossom into this goddess? She has been getting so many offers from China this year.

"I think this is just her fate - to enter showbiz. When fate comes calling, it's hard to control it."

Eleanor is hoping to get into an arts university after taking her International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams in May next year.

Her good looks have attracted many suitors, and Quan does not object to her girl dating.

Quan said: "I am a romantic at heart and very open-minded.

"If she likes someone and the guy is a good catch, I'll encourage her to go for it. In fact, I am always the one asking her, 'So how? Is that guy handsome? Did he ask for your number?'"

Eleanor said: "As compared to my mum, I am obviously the cooler one.

"I rather we be friends first, there is no need to rush into a relationship. Most importantly, the guy has to treat me well."

With Eleanor's huge social media following - more than 323,000 followers on Weibo and 67,000 followers on Instagram - online fame has also brought about odd encounters.

She recalled in amusement: "There is this follower who always leaves comments on my Weibo account, and he would ask, 'Are your feet smelly?' countless times. It's hilarious."

She added: "I would laugh and tell my friends jokingly, 'Yes, my feet are super smelly, do you want to smell them?' I am not creeped out by it, but I find it really funny."

See more photos related to the article in the gallery below. 

This article was first published on November 9, 2015. 
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