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Milk tea actress leaves love to stew

TAIWANESE actress, singer and writer Rene Liu is nicknamed Nai Cha, or milk tea, by fans who think she has a mild, calm personality. She is not a stunning beauty but elegant, simple and natural, like a girl next door.

At first, her Taiwanese record company didn't think her merely pleasing looks would sell music - so they gave her an office job. Eventually she got her chance.

Although Liu doesn't seem particularly ambitious, she was the first to win Best Actress awards at the Asia Pacific Movie Festival in both television and film categories. Her career breakthrough came in 1995, when Hong Kong director Sylvia Chang cast her in the lead role in "Xiao Yu," for which she won the Best Actress award at that year's Asia Pacific Movie Festival. Other notable films include "20 30 40" (2004), "A World Without Thieves" (2004) and "Hot Summer Days" (2010).

Born in Taiwan into a military family, Liu studied piano as a child. After graduating from high school in Taipei, she studied classical music at California State University, then moved back to Taiwan.

She didn't become a singer immediately because her company, Taiwan Rock Music, didn't consider her beautiful enough. Instead, she became an assistant to veteran Taiwanese music producer Bobby Chen.

In 1995, Liu released her debut album, "Crazy for Love," which sold millions of copies. The song became a karaoke favorite. Most of her songs are about love, such as "Love You More and More" and "Hearsay."

At age 41, Liu is still single.

In May, she kicked off her "Taking off the High Heels" concert tour in Shanghai.

Q: Why do you call your concert "Taking off the High Heels"?

A: Every concert reflects my mood. I think love is like a pair of beautiful high heels. Only the wearer knows if it hurts or not. When it hurts, you'd better take them off. And it's not just about love, but also about the burdens handed to you by society and the world around us. Most of the time we feel like pleasing others but forget about ourselves. I think it is important for women to realize that you have the right to choose. Like the heels, you can either wear them or take them off. It's your choice.

Q: Is it your choice to remain single?

A: I know lots of things about love, although I'm still single. I'm still waiting for love. Love requires courage, tolerance and understanding, but you cannot control or plan it. My ideal partner is someone with whom I can sit with and feel at peace.

Q: What's been your favorite role?

A: It's hard to say ... I like every character. I have to like the role before I accept it. I like challenging myself from time to time. My next movie will be shot in both China and Japan, and I will play a race-car driver. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Q: What is your personal fashion style?

A: I tend to keep myself simple and elegant. I don't wear many accessories. A watch is the only accessory I wear every day. Life is all about time. In days when I rush about, a good watch gives me a better feeling about my life.

Q: When do you think you are at your the most beautiful?

A: When I'm taking a shower. It is when I feel most relaxed and carefree.


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