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"It was probably difficult for Maggie because she had to kiss my foot. I don't find intimate scenes more difficult."
Q: How long were you there as an order taker?
A: Maybe a year, I'm not sure. The work wasn't hard. The hard part was that the manager kept telling everybody, "This is the best actress from China." I felt a little strange. If people didn't say anything about it, it seemed fine. People kept saying it, and I felt, Hmm, is this bad for the image of China? I mean, for the most loved actress from China to be working in a restaurant. I felt bad for China.

Q: What's the quality that makes people want to watch you on the screen?
A: I think when I was in China, I was more natural. Because I wasn't as well trained, I was more instinctual.

Q: But anyone can be natural.
A: No, actually not. Not over there, not in China because the acting in China is very stylized and dramatic and I was just me.

Q: A simple, young, naive...
A: ...young naive kid. I don't know. How do you explain certain physical qualities that somehow sell on screen? You're born with it. That's money. Certain people are just more watchable and I was more watchable, but I don't think I understood acting or drama very well when I was a kid. My instinct was very good. I was very eager to explore and learn but it was just what I was born with.

Q: A lot of it was physical then.
A: I think they used the words lively and pure. They see life in me on the screen while in a lot of stylized acting, life is stifled. Less pretentious, actually--that's one of the biggest qualities they saw in me in China.

Q: Is that part of the trend in China? The new Chinese movies seem more natural.
A: A lot more. The education we got then was Chinese stylized acting plus Russian. So it was very big acting, very stage acting. It's very different now.

Q: Can you put into words the quality that made you picked out for stardom?
A: When you put five people on the screen, they pick one person to look at. That person has a strong presence that engages people's attention.

Q: So you think it's the feng shui of your face.
A: I think it's something inside of you also. I don't know exactly what it is, be it a determination, or when they choose to look into your eyes, there's something they hope to see there. I'm not the person to ask, I wouldn't know.

Q: Did you think of The Last Empress as a sexy role?
A: She's a sensuous role, yeah, but she didn't have a lot of really sexy things to do.

Q: Well, with Maggie Han...
A: Yeah, she's a very sensuous person.

Q: Was that particular scene difficult for you?
A: No, it wasn't difficult. [Bursting out laughing.] It was probably difficult for Maggie because she had to kiss my foot.

Q: Actually, she had to lick your toes.
A: [Still laughing] I washed it with soap, rubbed it with rubbing alcohol in front of Maggie to show that it's clean. No, it was hard for her, not hard for me at all. No.

Q: Did Maggie say, Yeck, I don't want to do that?
A: I guess we laughed about it. But no, it was a beautiful scene. We're actresses, we enjoy doing it. I don't find intimate scenes more difficult than other scenes. PAGE 10

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