Jerry Yan Fan Meet in Manila 2004

My first time to see Jerry Yan at NBC Tent for Bench endorsement. I ask my brother Azrael to cover the event. His first experience in vlogging! I'll write a blog post about this memorable-chaotic-unforgettable experience!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Idols Are Made Of These

thanks to lyn radaza for sharing this link.

Idols Are Made Of These

Yasmin Lee Arpon in Taipei
Asia News Network
Publication Date : 18-07-2010

(Photo courtesy of Jerry Yan's management)

Loud laughter could be heard from inside one of the dressing rooms at the Taipei Arena as people rushed about in the hallway getting ready for a concert.

Inside, Taiwanese actor-singer Jerry Yan (Yen Cheng Xu) is in a good mood while talking to a music industry executive he has not seen in a long while. He is dressed in a track suit and his hairstyle has not changed much since he broke into the entertainment scene almost 10 years ago playing the lead role in the drama Meteor Garden.

It is by no coincidence that his favourite role to date is still that of Dao Ming Si because he strongly identifies with it. No, not so much with the character’s enfant terrible side but with being naive and straight-forward.

“I am quite open as a person, not really quiet. At times I am even naughty,” he tells popdom.

This is contrary to how the press has pictured him as a perfectionist who is so difficult to work with. In the dressing room, he is surrounded by people who have been with him since he started, including his manager known as Fenny to his fans.

Yan describes himself as a kid at heart. “There is a part of me that refuses to grow up because in adults’ world, people may try to achieve their goals by every means even by hurting other people. But the environment I grew up in was very simple,” he explains.

This may be the reason why the people around him are quite protective, refusing—albeit nicely—to have his photo taken because he is not made up yet. Yan sits there quietly listening to them but in the end gently agrees to have a spontaneous photo session while his make-up artist scrambles to wipe his face.

Not that he needed it anyway. Like most idols, Yan looks great without make-up and even in a dull track suit.

He gives off that impression that he does not really care about how he looks, something he shares in common with Van Fan (Fan Yi Chen), another actor-singer.

Fan first became famous singing the Mandarin version of I Believe, the theme song from the Korean movie My Sassy Girl. He was on his way to stardom in 2006 when he was caught by Taiwan paparazzi peeing in public.

His career went downhill and he could have become history if not for Cape No. 7 released in 2008 that saw him playing a role very close to home: a down-and-out musician.

“I had nothing to do during that time so I decided to accept it. And this movie has connections to music,” he says in a separate interview with popdom.

As Aga, Fan recaptured the audience’s interest and fans’ imagination. “Generally speaking, the character was very similar to me. During that time, I was kind of depressed because after being in the industry for several years, I was still struggling.”

He appeared in an ‘idol drama’, Success Story of Treasure Island’s Young Girl the same year as the peeing scandal, but the project was not a success story at all.

However, Cape No. 7 put him back in the limelight with two films following after: L-O-V-E and Gangster Rock.

He is so busy these days that this interview is done during his lunch break while rehearsing for a concert. He sips his soup hurriedly and afterwards, is ushered off for costume change, with no time to eat anything else. No wonder these people are so thin.

In Gangster Rock, Fan played another musician, this time of the purist kind who only wants to rock and roll and does not care about much else.

Fans have accepted his rocker image—a far cry from his balladeer beginnings—and Fan himself seems very much aware of this by playing it to the hilt, painting his nails black and forming a two-man band called CRAZE to channel more of his new-found rocker glory.
In the morning of this interview, Fan was wearing a black hat that hid his hair; later that evening, he had dyed his hair blonde when he toured Taipei cinemas promoting Gangster Rock with his posse.

Any faint-hearted wannabe would have given up years ago when he lost his ticket to stardom because of a public infraction, but not Fan it seems. He hasn’t turned full-time bad boy but the experience has not made him wary about going out in public either.

“I still enjoy life, I still go out like any normal person,” he says. But he admits that he has become more protective of his personal life “because I don’t think I should be judged by the whole world because of it”.

The earlier scandal may have also freed Fan from being trapped in an idol image. “I just try to present myself and not think of being an idol. (What people see onstage) is part of being me, part of who I am.”

This can’t be said for Yan, however. Imagine the horror of having one of the members of F4 caught doing something private in public. There goes not only the high-profile projects but the endorsements as well.
Obviously, Yan is a different kind of idol from Fan, and he almost melted on the spot out of sheer embarrassment when told he remains to be Taiwan’s No. 1 poster boy.

“I never (thought of it that way). Compared to a lot of Taiwanese artistes, we were lucky because we had a lot of opportunities to go to other countries. And after seeing the entertainers from other countries, I think we still have a lot to learn,” he says.

He notes that his need to make his work above par may have been previously misinterpreted as being demanding and difficult.

“Some entertainers may hurt others in order to get what they want but I never think of hurting anyone. Sometimes I may have tried too hard on my work and there will be people saying ‘look, he is famous now, that’s why he complains a lot’. But my intention is simply because I have a lot of fans around Asia and I don’t want to look like an idiot without any talent or knowledge. For example, when you do a new album, you want it to be the best  but there may be people thinking you complain too much. That is the dilemma.”

Like other idols too, Yan has realised it is not easy to find happiness in an industry that ironically makes business in trying to make fans happy.

“Being happy is quite difficult. We became famous overnight, since then I have set strict standards for myself and wanted to do everything perfectly and gradually I found myself quite unhappy,” he says. “But when you are unhappy, people around you can feel that and they will be affected. So when everybody is unhappy, the work will be terrible.”

Yan had thought of quitting but not because of fame and the loss of privacy that comes with it. “The pressure was not from being famous, but after going through a lot of things, I sometimes might want to give up because I feel too tired.”

Idols, like you and me, are also human beings who can only take so much.

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