"I will not deny that I have depressive symptoms," said Kate Tsui in a recent interview. "I may look quite smart on the outside, but I have always been naive, ever since I joined the Miss Hong Kong Pageant!"
Kate held three other awards when she took the Miss Hong Kong crown in 2004. Faced with sudden fame, Kate really did not know how to handle herself.
"At the time, my manager said I didn't have any experience, so I should go out and try different things. I didn't even know what kind of contract I had when I signed for Miss Hong Kong. My mouth works faster than my brain; I speak before I think. Now, I've come to realise that being too blunt is not always right."
Auditioning for Miss Hong Kong and competing in the pageant really changed the way how Kate viewed the industry, and the world, states an article on ihktv via Jayne Stars.
"Words can hurt. Some contestants would look nice on the on the outside, but they would actually hold animosity. When I won the Fitness Award - I will not say who - there was a contestant who seemed very nice when we took our bathing suit photos together, but after the photoshoot was over, she enlarged the photo and pointed at me, asking the other contestants, 'Is she really that fit?' This industry is too complicated!"
That dark shadow never left Kate. There were several instances when she considered quitting the industry, but if it weren't for the support of her fans and her company, she would have left the entertainment circle in a heartbeat. "I did not enjoy my first few years in the industry at all. If it weren't for those newcomer singing and acting awards, I would have left a long time ago! It's too stressful here!"
In 2007, Kate won her first award - the TVB Anniversary Award for Most Improved Actress - for her well-received performance in Steps. Kate also won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best New Performer for Eye in the Sky. Kate won various rookie awards when she released her debut EP, Kiss Me Kate, in 2009, and in 2012, she became a top favourite to win Best Actress at the TVB Anniversary Awards for her role as Pat in Highs and Lows. She was later defeated by Tavia Yeung for the TV queen crown.
"For years, I relied on my crying scenes to release my depressive thoughts. It is masochistic, but I enjoy it. There were several times when I couldn't even stop crying after the shoot was over, so I had to learn how to fine tune."
Ironically, it was these crying scenes that made Kate fall for acting. Kate's tearful portrayal of Pat in Highs and Lows gave her more confidence about continuing her career in the industry, but she learned a different kind of lesson when she competed for the Best Actress award against Tavia Yeung.
Suddenly, the people who did not like her came out as her "supporters", but their enthusiasm died down after Kate's loss. At the same time, the people who were not her supporters in the past suddenly started liking her, making it difficult for Kate to understand what was driving their preferences.
Whether Kate is in a leading or supporting role, she will put forward her best efforts and enjoy the process, instead of measuring it by how many awards she has won. "I've only been in the industry for eight years. It's not a long time at all. In this industry, it's all about who can last longer. As long as you're still here, the game is still on. Who knows? Maybe I am forever a rookie!
Innocence is a virtue, but naivete is something that one must put aside in the industry. "I already don't have many close friends, yet I was still betrayed - and more than once by the same person! I can boldly say that I've never hurt that person. I felt dumb, and extremely hurt! I can now say that crying about it is useless. It's just that I'm too dumb. I lack assertiveness. I would do whatever that person told me to do, because I really thought that person was my friend." The experience made Kate learn that it was important to observe people closely, for as long as eight to nine years, before she can completely trust them as close friends.
As for finding true love, Kate expressed that she always wanted a companion. She wants to have a family, but is that possible?
"I really want to start a second life, with my family, with my children, but it's hard to find someone whom you can really trust. Someone pursued me when I first joined the industry. I was thinking that we should be friends first, and often ate meals together. When we were discovered and photos were taken, he immediately left, but he told me that he trusted me. That just means that the people around him believed that I was the one who leaked our relationship out! I was hurt, and we haven't contacted each other much since. I later found out that he already had a girlfriend when he pursued me. I am really naive. I've learned my lesson."
Maybe it is because of her experiences in the idustry Kate has developed a love for traveling - alone. Kate chose to travel to Lyon, Amsterdam, and London alone because she was relatively unknown there, allowing her the freedom to explore and be herself. Nevertheless, her age and time spent in the industry has left a heavy imprint on her.
"Now, when I look at the sky, I felt like it wasn't as big as it was before. When I take a deep breath, I used to feel enlightened. Now, it's as if I have a lot of things kept inside of me. I feel heavy, and not as relaxed as before!"
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