Wednesday, November 14, 2012

News Article: Many celebrity offspring looking to break into entertainment industry actually rely on themselves

Here's an interesting article that I read yesterday about what we call "星二代" in Chinese (aka 'celebrity offspring' -- the children of famous entertainers in the HK entertainment industry). 

I'm actually glad that the reporter from Ming Pao decided to write this article about the struggles that some of the celebrity offspring in the entertainment industry face because it's very true that much of the general public has a 'false understanding' of what it's like to be the children of celebrities.  I remember there was an article that came out a couple months earlier about singer Alan Tam's son wanting to join the entertainment industry and in one of the forums, the sentiment seemed to be that he would definitely 'make it' because of his famous dad.  In fact, alot of the comments were along the lines of 'well, isn't it great to have a celebrity as parent' -- implying that most likely the celebrity offspring will get certain 'perks' by virtue of being the child of a famous entertainer.

Well, to me, that argument doesn't make sense because to be honest, I've seen many celebrity offspring struggle to survive in the entertainment industry and a few of them who actually did end up gaining 'fame and fortune' did so on their own with very little help from their parents (2 examples that come to mind immediately:  Nicholas Tse and Bowie Tsang).  I know the path is not easy, despite what most people may think, so it's refreshing to see these types of articles that attempt to 'dispel' this so-called celebrity offspring 'myth'.

Anyway, this article is definitely an eye-opener.  Hopefully those who read it will have a better appreciation for some of the young artists who actually do work hard and try to become successful on their own accord!

Good luck to all of them!


Many celebrity offspring looking to break into entertainment industry actually rely on themselves

Source:  Mingpao
Translation:  llwy12

Actor Nicholas Tse’s (謝霆) interview for TVB’s new show Telling Maria最佳男主角was well-received by audiences – in fact, after his multi-part interview segment aired, many audiences praised him as being an ‘exceptionally good man’.  In addition, his shocking revelation at the end of the program that he once had a benign skin tumor took the entertainment industry by storm, with both colleagues and fans alike expressing concern about his health. A few days ago, during a special airing of the interview show’s last episode entitled Telling Maria:  Top Secret Files最佳男主角: 絕密檔案, Nicholas Tse revealed yet another surprising secret about himself:  at one point, he only had 2 dollars in his bank account!

A lot of people mistakenly think that the children of famous celebrities for sure will have an easy life and be able to get whatever they want, whenever they want it.  In reality though, the lives of these celebrity offspring are far from ‘easy’ – in fact, many of them encounter the same challenges and difficulties that ordinary people do and oftentimes, if they choose to go down the same path as their ‘famous’ parents [join the entertainment industry], they have to rely on themselves in order to ‘make it’.  

When it comes to overcoming difficulties on the path to breaking into the entertainment industry, two celebrity offspring who come to mind right away are veteran actor Paul Chun’s () son and daughter, Benji (姜文) and Lesley (姜麗) Chiang.

CTI takes in many celebrity offspring

Earlier, during a visit to the set of CTI’s currently filming series Three Sides of Shape Doctors
三面形醫, [our reporter] got to see veteran actor John Chiang (姜大) filming a scene with his niece Lesley Chiang [TN:  John Chiang is Paul Chun’s younger brother] – interestingly though, in the series, John actually plays Lesley’s father.  Other artists in the same series include singer/songwriter Benji Chiang (Lesley’s brother) as well as actor Sam Chan (陳宇), who is the son of another veteran HK actor:  Shek Sau ().  Another celebrity offspring who recently joined CTI is Dexter Young (楊天) – his mother is famous actress / opera singer Connie Chan (陳寶).  Turns out that CTI has been a ‘settling ground’ for many celebrity offspring, especially those who once worked for TVB but were not able to gain much success or recognition – unexpectedly, CTI has become a ‘new hope’ for these celebrity offspring on the path to fulfilling their aspirations in the entertainment industry.   

Many people think that celebrity offspring should not have any problems ‘making it’ in the entertainment industry – after all, with the ‘success’ of their famous parents that they can ‘piggy back’ on plus the support from ‘big’ entertainment companies (i.e. TVB), there’s no reason for them to worry, right?  Actually, no – in reality, whether these celebrity offspring are able to ‘break through’ and taste success or not really depends on their situation as well as fate and luck.

Lesley Chiang saves up money to film MV

Though many celebrity parents do not want their children to follow in their footsteps and join the entertainment industry, fate would have it that many of these children inherited their parents’ talents and/or passion for performing.  More often than not, celebrity parents require their children to finish their educations first before allowing them to join the entertainment industry.  This was certainly the case with most of the celebrity offspring who recently joined CTI, as all of them are college graduates with their own specialized areas of interest – for example, Dexter Young is an Economics major, Lesley Chiang majored in Psychology, and Sam Chan specialized in Architecture.   Chatting with Lesley Chiang earlier about this, she stated:  “Unfortunately, our [Benji and herself] goal was not to become lawyers or doctors!  Even though I majored in Psychology, my true interest actually lies in singing and acting.  After my brother [Benji] graduated from college, he also studied at the HK Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA) for a few years – he knows how to write scripts and enjoys participating in behind-the-scenes work for various types of productions.”

Benji and Lesley come from a family of celebrities – their father is veteran actor Paul Chun and their uncles are award-winning actor John Chiang and renown HK director Derek Yee (爾冬) [TN:  not to mention their grandparents Yim Chun and Hong Mei were also famous celebrities back in the day] – however when this brother /sister team decided to break into the HK music industry as self-financed singers, they still had to endure numerous hardships and jump many hurdles.  Recounting their path to becoming singers, Lesley expressed:  “Even after 3 years in the industry, we still did not have the money to film our own MVs for our songs -- plus last year, my brother was ‘frozen’ by his previous employer [TVB] for 6 months, so we essentially had zero income for a period of time – however, despite the circumstances, we didn’t request any help from our dad [Paul Chun].  This year, after joining CTI, both of us worked hard at filming series and finally were able to save up some money, so in December, we will be able to film our very own MV!   Even though our dad is very supportive of us and set aside a huge ‘safety net’ for us if needed, both Benji and I do not want to carelessly spend his hard-earned money.  When we were little, we would visit Daddy on the set while he was filming – seeing the heavy costumes he wore during hot weather and the hours he would put in, we understood how exhausting his work was.  He has always been a workaholic, but with his age, he’s not able to put in the hours he used to anymore – in fact, he recently had to return to Canada to rest up during a break in filming.  I recently told him not to work so hard anymore, as both my brother and I have good working ability and can take care of him now – Daddy was very moved when he heard this!”

Sam Chan balances school, business, and acting

Some people may think that Dexter Young has been able to ‘survive’ in the entertainment industry because of his mother Connie Chan, however Connie revealed recently that she has never asked anyone in the industry to give her son any acting opportunities.  When he was at TVB, Dexter was actually the one who had to ‘thicken his skin’ and solicit suitable acting opportunities himself from producers – unfortunately, the opportunities he received were mostly hosting gigs for sports programs.  Currently, Dexter has joined CTI and in addition to filming TV series, he is also participating in a few stage plays – he also has plans to hold a mini-concert in the coming months as well and will finally get the chance to realize his dream of performing onstage.

Sam Chan also recently joined CTI (his dad Shek Sau already joined earlier).  Back when he worked for TVB, Sam was already in the business of jewelry design and in 2007, he established his own company [LLazy Bonez Design Ltd].  After joining CTI, he will be even busier, as he now has to balance his acting duties with taking care of his business – in addition, he has also decided to go back to school in pursuit of a Masters degree.  Despite everything on his plate right now, Sam feels that things are going relatively smooth at the moment – he expressed that going back to school is a promise he made to himself and as an adult now, he has to be responsible and accountable to his promises.


  1. Another celebrity offspring that comes to mind is Joyce Cheng. She also has to work extremely hard to gain the favour of audience, who criticized her just for being Lydia Sum/Adam Cheng's daughter.

    1. @miriamfanz: I agree about Joyce, though to be honest, alot of people feel that she was only able to 'make it' in the industry because of her parents. Though it's true that she has alot of people watching out for her (due to Lydia Shum's vast network of friends), that doesn't mean that Joyce didn't put in any effort -- she may have initially gotten the opportunities because of her mother, but if she didn't naturally have the talent, she wouldn't have been able to last this long. I've actually always felt that Joyce has a beautiful voice and good singing skills, so it's only natural that she would choose to go down the path of being a me, her having these 'inner talents' has nothing to do with who her parents are...

  2. But even if the parents don't help them get opportunities, other people will probably still give "face" to them. Plus parents can give valuable advice about the industry. So having a famous parent has its perks.

    1. @miriamfanz: Very good point! I believe that the message this article is trying to get across isn't necessarily that celebrity offspring don't get any help or don't get opportunities because of their parents, but rather the writer is trying to emphasize that things aren't necessarily always "smooth sailing" for them....they will experience hardships too just like other artists, especially the ones who don't want to rely on their parents and choose to make a name for themselves on their own.