To legions of TV viewers who love the heart-stopping twists and turns of Hong Kong TVB soap operas, actress Linda Chung is the proverbial good girl - the one whom boys yearn to date and girls want as their BFF.
In her decade-long career, the 30-year-old Vancouver-born Hong Kong beauty has won over audiences with her bubbly nature and healthy, scandal-free image.
However, of late, the leggy star is rebelling big time against her Miss Perfect persona - on the small screen, that is.
In her latest drama projects, she has ditched her friendly, nice-girl roles in favour of bolder and edgier characters.
According to Hong Kong media reports earlier this month, Chung and actor Alex Fong - her co-star in new series Elegant Transformation - flew to Taipei for a location shoot, where Chung was spotted drunkenly and forcefully kissing Fong on the lips in full view of the public.
"Last time, whenever it was required for my characters to be drunk, I'd just fake it," she told The New Paper in a phone interview from Hong Kong last week.
"But before that particular scene, I drank whisky for real. Alex brings a small bottle of whisky to work, so I decided to take two sips of it, to see if it could help me loosen up when the cameras started rolling."
Chung added, with a laugh: "As it turned out, it was very effective! Soon after, I was feeling tipsy. I had to kiss Alex and whoa, I was really into it."
In real life, the former beauty queen - she won Miss Chinese International Pageant 2004 - is a teetotaller.
"Alcohol makes me nervous and makes my heart pound... I won't drink for fun," she said firmly.
UNDER THE SKIN
Chung, who will be in town in January for ensemble gig Hong Kong Superstars In Concert, found herself up against a different set of challenges in police drama Tiger Cubs 2.
In the 20-episode actioner, also starring actor Joe Ma, she plays a bipolar undercover cop suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Despite getting her fair share of bruises and injuries while executing the physical scenes, Chung described her experience filming Tiger Cubs 2 as "totally awesome".
She explained: "My character is impulsive, severely mentally unstable and I literally lived in her (shoes) for three months."
"I was getting into her psyche and leading her life."
"Even when I was off-camera, I was moody all the time and would tense up whenever people came up to talk to me."
"I'd snap at anyone. My friends thought I had changed."
Fans can expect her newfound streak of adventurousness to continue.
Looking back over the past year, she said she's pleased to have accomplished many things outside of acting.
"It's been pretty crazy for me, but in a good way of course," she said.
"For many years, I was content to focus on acting, but last year I held my debut solo concert in Hong Kong, fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams."
"I also released my first photo book, Happiness, and hosted my first travel TV show."
Chung, whose rumoured boyfriend is martial arts choreographer Philip Ng, hopes to act in English - the language she grew up with - someday.
"It needn't be a Hollywood project," she stressed.
"I'll be attracted to it as long as it's a sincere, creative drama that touches a chord with me."
Channel 5 producers, are you reading this?
Hong Kong Superstars In Concert
Jan 11, 8pm
Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre Level 6, Hall 601 to 604
$38 to $168 from Sistic (Visit www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)
This article was first published on Sept 18, 2014.
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