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Ask your heart: what is my gift? -Bai Ling

Bai Ling has the key to success. Do what you are passionate about. If you do that on thing, everything else flows and life is not a struggle. Bai Ling, who has starred in major Hollywood ventures such as "Anna and The King", "Star Wars 3" and Ang Lee's "The Wedding Banquet" was in Kolkata as part of the jury for the KOLKATA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2015. I hadthe opportunity to speak with her about her life and journey in Hollywood. How did you begin acting? Is this something you had dreamt of? To me everything in life happens naturally, I was very shy almost mute as a child. I was, for some reason fearful of life and of people. I know I have a beautiful rich universe inside me. There is a power of magic hidden, if I don't find a way to express it, then it will explode. At that time I there was a real passion to express the raw truth inside of me, a feeling that was so real and strong. I think acting found me. It is my path. Through playing a character, I can actually be me, but hide behind a mask so that other people think it's a just a character.To me, it’s a great joy to be true and free. It’s like suddenly a child can have her wings of freedom to dance with joy. And because I am the only one who knows it’s the real me, I feel safe and not afraid. It's a gift that I have, because I have never learned acting, but it comes so easily, because I just express the truth of how I feel. But the key is that I need to trust myself to know that I have a beautiful

gift to give! And the gift we have, it is not for us to keep, but to give.

Which has been your most cherished role? I have many; I would say all of them. Because there is a part of me in all of them. Each character gives me the joy to express each part of me. "Anna and the King" comes to mind, because I had to shaved my head completely to play her. This was very difficult for me as it would be for any woman. As a girl, hair does so much for us, from protecting us to making us feel beautiful and safe. When you have no hair, you feel totally naked. I would encourage every woman in the world to shave her head once in her life. She will experience what I went through and what kind of magical strength and power I gained and realized that I actually have. She will understand the power and strength they also actually have. That kind of pure nakedness is powerful. I became totally vulnerable therefore I became totally powerful and almost larger than life. It was the requirement that I have to first purify myself in order to play her, then it becomes possible to freely access the power of pure love I have in my heart, which I gave to the character, Toptim. Many people cried for her, because she gives you her heart, the true love. And truth always has magic in it.

What challenges you in a role? Almost nothing, as I expressed to you earlier, “acting” comes easily because I am not acting. I think the challenge will be I trust myself enough that at any moment I can open myself completely to give the truth to my character, and if I can trust myself 100 percent. If I trust then I can do almost anything with any character I play. I played roles that were originally written for a man. I played a character that was originally written for a white woman, the leading role in the film "The Key." I have just finished a Chinese film called “Lord of Shanghai,” where I play the lead female character from the age of 28 years old all the way up until she is 80 years old. It is all because I completely trust myself and let my magic open my wings to fly, to sing and dance.