SINGAPORE: Never say never - local actress Fiona Xie is coming back to your television screen. After she famously pulled out of Channel 8’s blockbuster Together at the eleventh hour, the Little Genie had dropped off the radar since 2009.
But she has surfaced again, after close to seven years of being out of sight. She will star as a psychiatrist in Channel 5’s upcoming series Left Behind.
Addressing the media at a press conference on Tuesday (Jun 14), Xie revealed that one of the reasons why she has returned to Singapore is because of a family member who is unwell. The actress previously said in an interview with 8 DAYS magazine that she has been pulling “hospital overnighters” since her return.
“Someone in my family is ill,” Xie said, referring to her 23-year-old cousin. “I was so afraid of coming back. I think my cousin gave me the courage to say that ‘Hey you know, if you have every breath to live it, just live it. Whatever comes, let it come.”
“I dedicate the show to him,” she added, before choking up and asking for a breather. “I just love my family so much and I’m so proud of my cousin for being so strong to go through this.”
Actress Fiona Xie chokes up as she talks about her family member, who is unwell. (Photo: Xabryna Kek)
The actress poured out her sorrows and further disclosed that she was once engaged. “I was engaged back then but I couldn’t go ahead because I was so broken about everything,” she said.
According to Xie, her grandmother was battling lung cancer at that point in time. “My grandma was really ill,” the actress said. “It was a trying time, quite a traumatic time.”
MORE MATURED, MORE MELLOW
After quitting the showbiz industry in 2009, the actress went overseas and found time to dabble in fields that are close to her heart, like photography and fashion. Returning to the small screen once again, has the once-impulsive actress mellowed after all these years?
“I don’t know if it’s an age thing, where you’re coming of age, or all these experiences,” she replied. “I think it also boils down to focus. Things moved so quickly that I, as a child, maybe, I didn’t grasp (them) completely (back then).”
“People tell me now, ‘I can see the maturity in your acting, the things you’ve been through, through your eyes. It speaks volumes’,” she added. “I went to the school of life!” Xie said.
Fiona Xie addressing the media at a press conference on Tuesday. (Photo: Xabryna Kek)
On a more serious note, she weighed in on the recent shooting in Orlando, Florida, where at least 50 people were killed at a gay nightclub. “I think everyone should stop the hate,” she said. “People are killing for hate, for the wrong reasons. I think we should all put aside the negativity, put aside all this stuff and to really focus on love. Focus on spreading positivity.”
In her acting debut in 2001, she played an impish genie character, which many can still remember until today. She is also famously remembered for her bikini-clad scene in 2004’s The Champion, where she ran down Orchard Road after losing a challenge.
“I’m an old genie now,” the 34-year-old joked. Xie, however, said it is “comforting” to know that at some point, she has “made a mark on the history of television”.
“I’ve cringed before but looking back, that’s the importance of having good characters or a team - that makes everyone remember a show. I never could say this but now I can say that I owned it!”
Fiona Xie does not mind being remembered for her iconic characters in My Genie or The Champion. (Photo: Xabryna Kek)
A PRODIGAL CHILD?
While her family - her mother, especially - is happy that she is back in Singapore, Xie has a piece of advice for those yearning the nomadic lifestyle.
“Please do think about how you want to monetise it, how you want to have something to fall back on, before you just jump into the winds and dive head on into the wilderness,” she cautioned.
“Everyone just wants to post pretty pictures on Instagram and live life and not have a 9-to-5 job,” she said, noticing that it has been a trend of late.
Speaking from her experience, the actress advised: “I completely support that if you have something to fall back on, but you have to think of your family. Think of the opportunities that you are really giving up on for fun. When you do need doors to be open, they might not be open for you anymore.”
The wiser Xie, in the meantime, is finally at peace with herself. “I can say for the very first time I’m actually single - for quite a long period of time and not looking,” she said.
“I think it took me a long time to be the woman I am right now. Learn to love yourself because you can never be with someone else until you’re a complete whole. I enjoy all the time I have, like loving the things I love, doing the things that I want to do and growing as an individual.”
As for now, Xie said she will head to Japan for a holiday when filming for Left Behind wraps in the coming week.
Left Behind is scheduled to air on Channel 5 from Aug 22 at 10pm.