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'This girl is so ugly!' My Fair Princess staff tried to get Ruby Lin replaced even after filming began

'This girl is so ugly!' My Fair Princess staff tried to get Ruby Lin replaced even after filming began
Ruby Lin now and in My Fair Princess.
PHOTO: Instagram/Ruby Lin, internet

When you think of Ruby Lin, her iconic role as Xia Ziwei in the drama My Fair Princess (1998 to 1999) immediately comes to mind.

But the Taiwanese actress was nearly replaced because she was deemed not good-looking enough to play a lead character.

On the season four finale of the local talk show Hear U Out, host Quan Yi Fong asked the 47-year-old whether it was true that she was criticised during auditions, but Ruby laughed and said it was actually after filming had already begun.

"They said I wasn't good-looking," Ruby explained. "I was 21 during the filming of My Fair Princess. But when I was around 20, I played other characters' daughters or sisters in my other works in Taiwan, so I looked rather plain."

She was in a series titled Taiwan Serious Crime Records at the time, airing on the same television network that My Fair Princess would be on, playing one such "plain" daughter.

"I heard that one of the bosses said, 'This girl is so ugly! How can she be the lead actress?'"

Ruby claimed that the boss then asked Chiung Yao, the renowned Taiwanese novelist and producer whose company Ruby was contracted under, to have her replaced.

Even though filming had been going on for two weeks at the time, Ruby's manager called her up saying she'd take her to Hong Kong for a movie audition.

"But I said, 'I'm filming now, I don't have the time to audition for a movie'," Ruby added.


Ruby also felt that some of the production team members like the executive producer and director "started looking at me and speaking to me differently", as if they pitied her.

The situation was resolved after Ruby went sightseeing in Beijing and did karaoke with the staff, and the producer and cameraman subsequently joined them.

They seemed to all have "unspoken words on their lips" according to Ruby, but her manager called her up after and said "everything is fine" and she didn't need to go to Hong Kong anymore.

Though she was not privy to the full situation at the time, Ruby directly asked her manager: "So I won't be replaced?"

She later came to know that her manager had stood up for Ruby and told Chiung Yao: "You can't have Ruby replaced like this. You'll ruin this girl's career and everything else."

"Of course, Auntie Chiung Yao was always very supportive of her artistes," Ruby continued.

"She stood her ground and told the TV station that I would play my role well, and that we could make changes to my styling if it wasn't good enough."

Holding her own against mainland Chinese actors

While the animosity from the production staff was one challenge for Ruby, Yi Fong asked her about another — filming in Beijing.

"Their accents were different and those actors were professionally trained, such as Vicki Zhao, Fan Bingbing and the one who played the emperor (Zhang Tielin)," the 49-year-old host said.

How did Ruby manage to act opposite them without seeming "out of place" at all, Yi Fong asked.

She added: "In fact, your tears fell on cue and looked as big as raindrops."

"I feel like crying on cue really requires some practice in the beginning. Later, I was also told that I didn't look beautiful enough while crying," Ruby said.

Some of the criticisms were that her tears didn't "flow individually" and would sometimes "fall in streaks that split apart".

Wondering how she could cry better, Ruby tapped into her own experiences. She was a young woman, away from home and feeling homesick, which would sometimes make her cry.


"The moment I started crying, I faced the mirror," she added. "I wanted to know how to look pretty even while crying, and that also helped me forget what made me sad in the first place.

"It was a different way to calm myself."

There were times that Ruby couldn't cry though, like one scene where her other character Xia Yuhe (Ziwei's mother) read a poem to the emperor, crying at the last line.

Ruby said she could have chosen to let her emotions build up and start crying as soon as she started speaking, but that's not what Chiung Yao wanted.


"Auntie expected complete adherence to the script," she said. "She expected such attention to detail that even every pause and punctuation had to be on point. In the script, Auntie would often write things like, 'Start crying at this line' in brackets."

Even after acting in two of the three seasons of My Fair Princess, Ruby said that "the most hilarious part' was having to cry again on cue during her guest appearance as Yuhe in the sequel New My Fair Princess (2011).

"When it came to that scene, I still couldn't cry,' Ruby said, cackling with a hand over her mouth.

But Ruby was more confident by then and reassured herself at that point that "it's good not to cry at times".

Hear U Out is available on meWATCH.


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