Rain Li interview from PeopleStyle 2007 Issue 09

Rain adores Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung, a constant fixture in Wong Kar Wai movies. "Her sense of style is extraordinary. She can wear just a simple low-cut tee shirt and still look great," Rain says. "I’m still trying to figure out how she does it." In the meantime, the 23-year-old singer/actress sports loose clothing, short skirts, complimentary colors, and a huge wealth of clothing items as her personal approach to style.

Apart from hailing Maggie Cheung as a fashion icon, Rain admires Cheung as an actress. She says, "Of course I’d like to go international and go to Hollywood one day. But I am very fortunate to live in Hong Kong, and I want to do well in the Hong Kong movie industry first, for the people who love and support me."

Debuting as a singer when she was only 16 years old, Rain has already accomplished quite a bit. She has released five albums and appeared in many television series and films. In recent years, Rain has focused more on her acting career, and indeed, she is now trying to break away from her previous typecast roles and forge a new direction. In 2007, she will participate in a "top secret" script that challenges her acting abilities. The movie will be a tragic romance and Rain’s role may shock some people, as it is a departure from her girl-next-door image.

Though Rain appears career-driven, she does have wistful and idealistic notions about romance: "I believe in love at first sight. But I also believe two people can develop feelings for one another after an extended period of time. These two concepts are not necessarily separate, as love at first sight can lead to developing feelings for a person. Of course, all this depends upon the type of guy I encounter. I prefer a guy who prioritizes his career. Good looks are not that important."

While Rain insists aesthetics are not part of the criteria for her significant other, one has no trouble recognizing Rain’s intriguing appeal. "This is a close-up shot. Speak with your eyes, Rain," suggests our PeopleStyle Fashion Director. Lowering her head for a brief moment, Rain looks back up with a soft, tender, and feminine expression. As the downloaded digital images slowly materialize, everyone hovers over the computer. The resulting images catch us off guard. The face shots highlight Rain’s slight yet sweet smile and surprisingly soulful eyes. The photo shoot has been long and exhausting, and in that particular moment, Rain reveals her vulnerable combination of youth and stardom.

Like many young people, Rain keeps an online journal, and she often shares thoughts about her bittersweet experiences in the entertainment industry. Rain reflects, "You get bullied because people think it’s easy to boss a new artist around. There are also people who frame you for no good reason. But I believe in karma and what comes around goes around. I just have to do the best I can with what’s in front of me."

Not only does the camera savor Rain’s face, but her model frame as well. As she poses for the shoot, outfits appear magically to be on their best behavior. She even entertains us by pulling out yoga poses. Having modeled for many years, Rain understands the importance of staying slim and healthy. "I’m not on a diet. I used to be. I started dieting when I was in Form 2 (Grade 8), and I think I’d probably be even taller or bigger in the right places if I hadn’t been on one," she says with a laugh. "It was a stressful time for me. I particularly discourage dieting for girls under eighteen. Honestly, a few years back [Hong Kong] was going through diet paranoia."

As for Valentine’s Day plans, Rain jokingly responds, "I have nothing planned. I’m not in a relationship. Can you introduce some good guys to me?" Switching to serious mode, the young celebrity maintains that career is her main focus, and she doesn’t plan to marry until she is in her thirties. "Every girl should have her own career and be her own breadwinner," Rain says firmly. "I want to be able to look back and see that I made achievements in my career, maybe win the Best Actress and Best Female Singer awards. I’m young and I want to try out new things before I settle down."

Prior to meeting her, Rain seemed like a distant figure, a bright, yet inscrutable starlet who appeared all too often in the gossip columns. But as she says her farewells and leaves the studio, a new image stands out in our minds. Behind the media savvy and well-rehearsed motions lies a young woman at a crossroad, still searching for her path, but more than ready to seize the day. Rain has high hopes for herself, and we hope to see much more of her in the future.

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