Charmaine’s Interview with Kevin Cheng – Talking of Hard Times and Thanking his Mentor

TVB’s Best Actress Charmaine Sheh coincidentally interviewed Best Actor Kevin Cheng several days before the Anniversary Awards and usually a man of few words, Kevin opened up to her and spoke about his hardships and happiness. Admitting that he is not a good speaker, Kevin thanks Virginia Lok on three occasions for making him the promoted premier artiste of today.

C: Charmaine Sheh
K: Kevin Cheng

C: Before you joined TVB, had you filmed any series?

K: I filmed a series in Taiwan, my first one was in 1999 and my first series was "The Proud Twins". Before filming the series, I had been waiting for my album to be released in Taiwan, but then the stock market crashed and after nine months it had still not been released. A the time life was very pointless and I didn’t know what to do. I remember I was reading cookbooks all the time, buying ingredients and cooking at home. That was the most pointless time in my life and I was looking for things to do to pass the time.

Tossing a Coin Changed his Life

C: How did you make your living?

K: I asked my mother for spending money! So now I am saving money and have given my mother a blank cheque as I hope to buy her an apartment. At the time I had no income and I had no choice but be cheeky and depend on my family. Fortunately my mother is very good and this period only lasted nine months. When I agreed to do my first TV series, I had to think for a long time because the trends were quite weird at the time. If I played the villain, there would be no chance that my album would be released. However, it had been so long already, so I was faced with the biggest decision of my life, to start work or to continue waiting. In the end I tossed a coin to decide, heads I would film, tails I would turn it down. The first was heads, so I tried again for best of three and the second and third times were both heads too. I made my decision then to go ahead and film. Thinking back, if I had not taken this step, TVB would not have noticed me and I would probably have taken a different career move. Taking the twists and turns of the past six or seven years, to have the chance to release an album again now shows that life is strange. When you want to do it, then you will be able to do it eventually.

C: You have been in the industry for so long, has this year been the hardest for you?

K: In my thirteen years in the industry, this year has been the most productive. I have filmed four series this year, appeared in Teacher Liu’s concert and released an album.

C: I know you were very nervous about the concert?

K: In the past, I watched Alan Tam and Leslie Cheung in concert and I would think that if I had the chance to go up and sing, then I would be quite nervous.

C: When I took part in Vivian Lai’s concert, I forgot all my words when I was shaking hands with the audience.

K: That is very normal! That is a very sacred place – it is the Coliseum! Sometimes, to put pressure on yourself is a good thing and to have that chance, you don’t want to fail. The more I said that to myself, the more nervous I became, but when I got to the third or fourth show, I became a lot calmer. The more you do the more you get used to it, so the more relaxed you become.

C: After so long in showbiz, when were the happier times?

K: When I first entered the industry, everything was a novelty, now everything is very invigorating. This year has been like a roller coaster, there have been very happy times and some unhappy times. This year has been quite problematic, with the possibility of a court case it makes me frustrated just thinking about it, but I will say to myself that you must not be so pessimistic about things.

C: You have said that for many years now!

K: Sometimes when things happen before you, then you will feel particularly bad. I cannot think of anything positive and how to resolve the problem. However, only with risk is there opportunity and to a certain extend, this incident has helped me.

C: Do you feel you are happier than before?

K: I am very afraid of strangers, to some degree, I don’t know what to say to strangers and I have no motivation to speak to them. I will never start a conversation.

C: The first time I worked with you was on ‘Life Begins at Forty’, the second was on ‘Point of No Return’ and it was only then that we became friendlier. When we filmed for the first time, I did try to chat to you and it was quite difficult. I don’t allow myself to have no contact with my co-stars and we had a romance in that series, so there was no reason why I shouldn’t get to know you and we had to communicated. when I interviewed Ms Lok earlier, she said that when she signed you, there was a lot of opposition because you were overly protective of yourself.

K: I don’t know! However, when Ms Lok signed me, it gave me a thought, that was apart from television, I could develop in other areas, for example releasing an album. Now I can work in so many different areas is all thanks to Ms Lok. As for my personality issues, I have to thank Ms Lok for seeing the potential. In the past, people have found me to be a pain or maybe felt I could not do it. Like Ms Lok says, it depended on someone to ‘switch on’ my engine and I feel so fortunate to have met Ms Lok.

Quiet Boy Chased by the Girls

C: Why do you have this personality?

K: I have been like this since I was young. My sister did not live with us and my father was always away on business. My mother was a nurse, so I was often left alone with a girl who looked after me. This meant I didn’t say much when I was at home and just watched TV, sung along to the theme tunes and developed an interest in singing. Later when I grew up, I loved to do sports, so in comparison, I spoke a lot more after that.

C: How did you chase the girls?

K: I was chased by the girls more.

C: Have you courted any girls over the years?

K: Yes, of course I have, it was only the first time when I was courted by a girl. At the time I was not brave enough to take the first step.

In Charmaine’s Eyes

"Kevin is a person who speaks few words and I am happy that he has become happier now. I know he has met with many problems and has resolved a lot of them now. In work, I hope that he can have his own concert soon and I will be his Pom Pom Girl (cheerleader)."

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