PHOTO: Warner Bros
Low-cut, flashy and over-the-top.
Fiona Xie's on-screen wardrobe in Crazy Rich Asians is far from subtle - just like her shameless, gold-digging soap opera starlet character Kitty Pong.
Walking the teal carpet at last week's Singapore premiere of the Hollywood romcom in a sleek black Nicole + Felicia Couture feathered jumpsuit and $2.2 million worth of Bvlgari bling, the 36-year-old local actress said of her sexy mini-dresses: "It was in the book, so we definitely cannot disappoint the fans, but it was very nice of (director) Jon M. Chu and the team to protect my modesty."
What is shown on screen is toned down from the nipple-exposing sheer dress Kitty wears during her grand entrance in Kevin Kwan's 2013 novel that the movie is based on.
Xie added: "(The wardrobe) was nice, we did it with humour and class."
In real life, she wasn't afraid to take the plunge - sartorially speaking - at the Los Angeles red carpet premiere earlier this month, where she wore a custom black organza gown by homegrown fashion brand Jessicacindy.
Before leaving her hotel room, she was quoted in US digital publication Coveteur as saying: "Maybe we could lower the neckline?"
According to the article, she then grabbed a pair of scissors and cut off the top of her dress.
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A post shared by -fiona xie- (@xplacidacidx) on Aug 20, 2018 at 6:52pm PDT
Xie, who took a seven-year break from acting, had initially turned down the role for fear of attracting controversy.
Kitty is portrayed in Kwan's books as a social-climbing, money-grubbing sexpot who is dating Nicholas Young's (Henry Golding) cousin Alistair (Remy Hii) but later dumps him for the richer Bernard Tai (Jimmy O. Yang).
She said in the Coveteur interview: "Kitty is really fun and bubbly, but she's also outrageous. People in Asia are more proper, so it was a risk."
On their similarities and differences, Xie told TNP: "I think I'm always the life of the party but I'm definitely not her. I'm Kitty without the loose morals."
Stars of Crazy Rich Asians shine bright at Singapore premiere
Her character takes a more significant role and even has a major plotline in the book's sequel China Rich Girlfriend.
Now showing here, Crazy Rich Asians has been No. 1 at the North American box office for the second weekend running, generating another US$25 million (S$34 million), for a two-week domestic total of US$76.8 million.
It has also grossed $2.5 million at the local box office since it opened on Aug 21.
Beyond the numbers, Xie said the film has also reignited her passion for acting, especially after "braving the highs and the lows of the industry" since she started working at 15 years old.
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As an actress who started working hard since 15, braving the highs and the lows of the industry, getting tossed in the tempest seas and sometimes not knowing what tomorrow brings. I remember bawling at one moment when I watched Lala land. When Emma stone was so afraid to even go for her audition coz she didn’t want to feel that rejection yet again. That’s the life of an actor. Being high while you are insanely popular and then that extreme feeling of emptiness and hollow sadness when things get mundane or dealing with everything else that comes with fame. Both good and bad. Everything resonated. Never did I imagine myself coming back to acting. Being worn down by doing show after show and never finding that true joy with a project that matters, with a team that cares. It’s been such a divine intervention, a real blessing to be on this @crazyrichasians journey where the family has adopted me with such love and positivity. To refuel and fan the flames of fire, igniting that spark and passion for acting yet again. Thank you @jonmchu for believing in me and for that validation. I’ve almost forgotten what it means to be an actor, a simple responsibility of bringing audiences joy. I almost gave up on believing in myself, being part of a grind that never stopped to uplift actors. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For watering this wilted flower, for having such faith, may I grow more and to blossom under your amazing leadership and make these dreams that you stir in all of us a crazy reality. Letting go and letting god has led me to this and I’m so thankful! God is good! Amen! 🙏🏻
A post shared by -fiona xie- (@xplacidacidx) on Aug 22, 2018 at 7:02pm PDT
She said in an emotional post on her Instagram page last week: "Never did I imagine myself coming back to acting. Being worn down by doing show after show and never finding that true joy with a project that matters, with a team that cares.
"I've almost forgotten what it means to be an actor, a simple responsibility of bringing audiences joy.
"I almost gave up on believing in myself, being part of a grind that never stopped to uplift actors.
"Thank you (Jon M. Chu) for watering this wilted flower, for having such faith, may I grow more and blossom under your amazing leadership and make these dreams that you stir in all of us a crazy reality."
Singapore actors Fiona Xie, Pierre Png work the Crazy Rich Asians red carpet in LA
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.