Lin Chi Ling wants to slow her career down in 2019 to focus on the children
The Taiwanese model-actress plans to put her film career on hold as she devotes attention to her charity work building schools in remote areas of China.
Lin Chi Ling’s schedule is tighter than a corset. And she might as well be wearing one, considering how she hardly has time to breathe these days.
The 43-year-old model-actress’s interview slot with CNA Lifestyle was wedged between a fashion shoot for a society magazine, a photoshoot with celebrity photographer Wee Khim, interviews with several other media outlets, and a guest appearance at the opening of the new Longines boutique in Wisma Atria – all in the span of two hours.
But, consummate professional she is, Lin slipped easily between her various roles with a calm, unhurried yet focused disposition.
So, it struck us as slightly odd when the Taipei-born, Toronto-educated personality cooed: "I’m not that ambitious now."
A LIFETIME PROMISE
“Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reality shows, TV shows and films, but I think I want to take a slower pace in life and have more time to myself, and hopefully focus on my charity work,” she explained.
In fact, Lin hasn't decided if she'd like to continue acting. "I’ve had all the opportunities I’ve wanted. I’m still thinking."
Earlier this year, audiences watched her in two films, The Monkey King 3 – a Hong Kong-China co-production also starring Aaron Kwok as the titular Sun Wukong – and the Chinese comedy The Faces Of My Gene.
But, in 2019, fans will see less of her on the big screen as she turns her gaze towards humanitarian efforts. The Chiling Charity Foundation, established in 2011, builds schools with dormitories in remote areas of China, mainly Sichuan Province.
In those areas, children have to trek across mountains to get to school and back, spending two hours each way. Some are forced to drop out of school to work at home. But with the dormitories, the children can stay on campus during the school week and return home on weekends.
Maybe one of them will make it out of their hometowns, and that’ll make all the difference.
“I think [that children] are the foundation of society,” shared Lin. “Education is key to their future. It makes me sad to think that they don’t have a starting point in their lives – a basic education. If we could just [enable] them to study… Maybe one of them will make it out of their hometowns, and that’ll make all the difference."
“At the beginning, we built one school per year. Then, gradually, it became two, then two became four. We now have 10 schools. I don’t have an ultimate number, but it’s a lifetime promise and I’ll definitely continue this until the end of my days!”
ELEGANCE IS AN INNER STRENGTH
Having fronted Longines since 2005, Lin is one of the brand's longest-serving ambassadors, alongside her Monkey King co-star Kwok (also 13 years and counting) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (19 years).
Inevitably, the multi-hyphenate has internalised the Swiss brand’s slogan “Elegance Is An Attitude”, but has chosen to interpret it in her own way.
“When you think of ‘elegance’, you think of a gesture or posture, but for me it means an inner strength… How you can overcome the difficulties you face with a calmness in your heart.”
One such obstacle that Lin has had to face – the biggest, in fact – was a horse-riding accident in 2005. While shooting an ad for Procter & Gamble, she fell off a horse and was accidentally trampled. She sustained six broken ribs and a punctured lung, but achieved full recovery after four months of treatment and therapy.
You can overcome the difficulties you face with a calmness in your heart.
“At the end of the day, you are the only one who can help yourself. I was determined to be strong.”
Although born in Taipei, Lin’s parents hail from the Taiwanese culinary capital of Tainan. When the self-professed foodie fumbled to answer our question on Taipei’s top eats but rattled on enthusiastically about her favourite Tainan treats, it became clear that her heart (or should that be stomach?) lay in the south.
“The southern part of Taiwan has some amazingly delicious food!” A must try, said Lin, is sen-hee yee mee, or braised eel noodles.
Having been to Singapore on multiple occasions, her favourite local dish is Hainanese chicken rice, but she has yet to sample our version of the fried oyster omelette (commonly known as orh ah jian in Taiwan).
Lin looked at her manager. “Maybe we can try that tonight?”