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Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Look Back At The Ten Years, Ella Waits Silently for S.H.E’s Reunion

Translation by shyun_y @
Source: Hihoku

[Exclusive Interview by Hihoku] In Taiwan, S.H.E has been quoted as the female pop group that has great influence over the younger generation. The trio’s popularity in the whole of Asia over the past 10 years has been prominent. However fate has also taught them that being blissful is not always a given. Last year, the trio’s member, Selina (Ren Jiaxuan) sustained a bad burn injury while filming. This accident resulted in all of S.H.E’s work coming to almost a standstill, with little hopes of resuming. Nonetheless, the trio’s other member, Ella (Chen Jiahua), firmly believes that S.H.E will reunite on stage again one day.

A look back at the past ten years, this phrase would indeed mean a lot to S.H.E. Selina, Hebe and Ella were not even 20 years old then, and they were already grouped together by the record company. Since then, they have grown from total strangers, to “hostel mates” and having undergone many challenges together, the girls are now “family” to each other. Selina is well-known as one who likes to look pretty; Ella is forthright, generous and androgynous; while Hebe is introverted. In spite of the differences in their personalities, they could get along well with each other. And Ella would affectionately address Selina as “Lao Po” (lit transl: Wife), taking good care of Selina as if she is her precious other half.

One would have thought that ten years in showbiz is a glorious milestone. However, last year, while filming for [I Have a Date with Spring], Selina sustained bad burn injuries while filming. This is also the start of S.H.E’s nightmare. All initial plans for their 10th Anniversary activities, including concerts, new album release, could no longer materialize. It appeared that a reunion is still far from being possible for S.H.E; and Ella and Hebe have started their solo career ventures – with Ella fulfilling her wish to develop her career in the movies; and Hebe releasing solo album. However this does not mean they have given up on S.H.E as a group. Instead the hope of a reunion on stage is still going strong.

S.H.E Will Not Remain Only In Name

Ella was in Beijing when she accepted the exclusive interview from [Ming Pao], and shared in details on her ten years as part of S.H.E. From when she was 20s to 30s, would she continue so into her 40s and 50s? Known to be the source of joy in S.H.E, jovial Ella admitted she could hardly bear with the heartache when she learnt of her “Lao Po” Selina’s misfortune. Ella shared, “Frankly, initially when we learnt of Selina’s accident, we would still console ourselves and said that it’s going to be fine, she will be able to have a speedy recovery. It will not affect her singing career and she can definitely return on stage. This was a naïve thought. When we started accompanying her through the daily physiotherapy, we gradually learnt that the reality is not as optimistic as we thought. But still, we understand that we cannot lose heart and patience. We might as well treat it as a recuperation period for S.H.E, and have Ella and Hebe move into their solo career development first.” Ella does not think that S.H.E will hence remain in name only. She is confident to add, “I still firmly believe that S.H.E will reunite on stage again one day.”

Facing Challenges with Optimism, Not Grouses

Whenever she has time, Ella would keep Selina company during physiotherapy. They are happiest when the trio got together to exercise and sing. Ella would still secretly shed tears alone whenever she observed Selina in pain, or was touched by her resilience; but to Ella, this is all part of their most challenging and precious time together in all the ten years being together. Ella said sentimentally, “Sometimes I do think to myself, why would such a good person like Selina undergo so much sufferings? But since the misfortune has happened, we could only adopt an optimistic attitude to it and embrace the challenges. It is useless to grouse. I am especially touched by Selina’s determination during her therapy. She is never dejected even if the pains caused her to shout. She would always get back on her feet to repeat the routine again. I do feel heartache, yet proud of her for her perseverance.”

Solo Venture is Lonely

Since Selina’s accident, Ella and Hebe have to develop their career separately, and often be on their own for promotion activities overseas. Whenever Ella passed places whereby S.H.E used to go together, it would bring back many happy memories of the trio, and at the same time, make her feel even lonelier. Ella shared, “We used to like squeezing ourselves onto one big bed to chat. Although we see each other day and night, we would have endless topics to chat. In the past, we used to visit the radio and TV stations together for our promotion, but now, we are always alone. It really feels very lonely.”

31 October – Marrying Her Lao Po

Ella would have been one of the first to know of Selina’s wedding, hence we asked how she intends to “marry” her “Lao Po” off? Ella laughed, “Haha! Of course we are one of the first to know. But the announcement should be made by both their families. Being Selina’s best friend, I am really happy my sister has found a good man. Heavens has indeed posed a great challenge to Ah Tiong (Selina’s boyfriend, Zhang Cheng Zhong) greatly. We have all seen his sincerity and efforts and felt Selina’s bliss!” Ella is ready to be Selina’s bridesmaid on 31 October, along with Hebe, to happily marry their “Lao Po” off.

No Plans of Marriage Yet

Recently there have been rumours of Ella having found a good boyfriend, and with intentions to marry. According to many reports, her boyfriend is a Malaysian Chinese by the name of Lai Si Xiang, and Ella has even met his parents already. Matters of the heart are always considered a taboo topic to the usually gracious Ella, hence she said tactfully, “You do know I seldom talk openly about my relationships, as this is really my privacy. I hope that everyone would understand. I do not wish to disclose anything regarding my relationship though I do know that everyone is just concerned. All I could say at this point is that I do not have any plans of marriage yet. The supposedly wedding dates are all chosen by the media. As for my current relationship status, it would indicate [Happy does it], because we really cannot foretell what could happen the following day, or even, the very next second.”

Life still goes on for now, as members of S.H.E moves on into the next phase of their life. Perhaps in another ten years time, during S.H.E’s 20th Anniversary, the members would each bring along their other half, or even their little ones to appear on stage. Regardless if Selina would ever perform on stage again, or perhaps we can only remember Ella and Hebe’s individual achievements, the fact remains we will never forget that S.H.E is an important milestone in the Chinese Pop Music culture.

Looking Back at S.H.E’s Achievement in Ten Years

Total strangers, the 3 girls participated in the [The Universal Talent and Beauty Girl Contest] organised by HIM Recording Company. From over thousands of contestants, the trio emerged as the finalists shortlisted for a recording contract.

2001 September 11
Having undergone intensive singing and dancing training, the trio released their first album – [Girls’ Dormitory] on this date. But it coincided with the unfortunate incident of the 911 Terrorist attack. Many predicted that the group would be neglected by many due to minimal news coverage. However by then, their debut album has already sold 160,000 copies in Taiwan. Given their quick rose to fame and acceptance by the public, they released 3 albums within a year.

The trio won the 14th Annual Taiwan Golden Melody Award under the [Best Group] category

2003 August
While filming for a segment under [Happy Sunday], Ella had to jump down from 3-storey high onto an inflated mat. However she sustained a spinal injury and nearly had to undergo surgery. To show their apologies, the production crew of [SS] decided to grant 3 of her wishes and Ella expressed her wish to see her idol, then-Mayor (current President of Taiwan) Ma Ying-Jeou. She even fed him fruits during that visit.

2004 April
S.H.E held their very first world tour concert – [Fantasy Land World Tour Concert] in Taipei Municipal Stadium.

2005 June
While filming for TV serial – [Reaching For The Stars], Ella’s hair near her ears was burnt by candle flame and she was admitted for 2 days in the hospital to ensure everything is all right.

Ella was nominated in the 41st Taiwan Golden Bell Award under the [Best Female Actress] category for her outstanding performance in [Reaching For The Stars].

2007 July
S.H.E held their [Perfect 3 World Tour] concert in Shanghai Stadium to over 80,000 audience, setting a new record in Shanghai box office sales for female artistes’ concerts. Within the same year, in December, the trio made their debut performance in Taipei Arena for the [Perfect 3 World Tour].

2010 May
During the [S.H.E is The One] concert in Taipei Arena, Zhang Cheng Zhong suddenly made his proposal to Selina via the microphone from amongst the audience to Selina, shouting aloud, “Laopo, I love you.” Selina was both happy and moved by the gesture. In September, the couple held their engagement ceremony with the blessings of their family. In the same year, words of “S.H.E going solo, but not disbanding” also spread, signifying the start of the trio’s individual career ventures.

2010 October
Selina sustained a bad burn injury while filming in Shanghai for [I Have A Date With Spring] during a scene which had explosion. She suffered 3rd degree burns, affecting almost 40-50% of her body area. All S.H.E-related activities also came to a standstill. With Selina’s long road to recovery, Ella was arranged to develop her solo career in the movies, while Hebe released her 2nd individual album.

2011 August
Selina announced her wedding with fiancé Zhang Cheng Zhong scheduled on 31 October 2011. In September, S.H.E held a small closed-door celebration for their 10th Anniversary, stirring much emotions amongst those who love them.

After Note

In the past when we met up Ella, it was always for her album promotion or concert. However this time round when we met up in Beijing, she was here to attend the press conference for her new movie – [Match Made in Heaven] (tentative translation) and we managed to arrange for an exclusive interview. In [Match], Ella starred as a close friend of Vic Chou and was secretly in love with him all along. However the role by Vic only treated her as a “buddy”. Ella joked that being quite androgynous and behaved like a boy at times in real life is probably the reason why the director decided to cast her for this role.

To act in a movie has always been Ella’s wish, and we asked her why not release an album since it is her “forte” for the past 10 years? “Now that I have witnessed how Hebe is buzzing around on such a hectic schedule promoting her album, like in the very early days of S.H.E debut, I find myself not being able to withstand such lifestyle anymore.”

Using ten years of her youth in exchange of current stability and tranquillity is hence, probably the lifestyle choice of Ella now.

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