Funny and charismatic, Hong Kong actress and singer Fiona Sit is warm and open to everyone she meets and is passionate about sharing how she has overcome her own adversities with her fans through music and film. Having recently also started her own fashion brand Spritunus (a childhood dream of hers), Fiona shares her experience with depression, the highs and lows of the entertainment industry and how she stays positive for #legend’s October digital exclusive.
How did you get into singing and acting?
I would say that I got into singing and acting by praying – not that I prayed to become a singer or actor or anything. I remember since primary school and also high school I loved nothing but art and drawing so I was always worried that I would not get a job that I love. I used to write on these like small origami papers, a letter to God. I would pray that I could someday have a job that I love. I didn’t know where to send it to because he doesn’t have a mailbox or an email so I would write him a letter on these colorful origami papers, fold them and put them in my drawer.
My dream job when I was child was to be either a painter, an installation artist or art director. Suddenly, when I was studying in college, somebody asked me to go casting as a model. I started my modelling career for about half a year and during that time I had my own money to spend. I would give half of my income to my family and the other half I would spend on myself.
When you start modelling you get a lot of chances. All of a sudden, one day a company started asking me for a casting and trial for being signed to a record company. My mother’s brother – quite a long story – had always been in the music industry. I asked him for his advice and by then he knew I had a passion for singing so he introduced me to Warner Music and that’s how I got into the show business. I truly believe that it was my prayer to God that resulted in me being able to do something that I have a passion for, which to me, singing, acting, drawing, directing, is all about art.
Did you always want to be an entertainer?
No, not an entertainer but I’ve always wanted to become an artist, not a star. As time went by, I enjoyed my job very much until I got sick. It was eight or ten years ago when I sunk into depression and that was when I hit rock bottom. About two years after my depression, I started to love being an entertainer. I never really thought of entertaining people as a hobby of mine, it’s something I realised is a passion after I beat my depression. It makes me happy that I can entertain people, because after I hit rock bottom with my depression and I know that happiness is very important. If I can entertain someone and give them happiness – not something to gossip about – something to make them laugh, even if they might be laughing at me, I feel very happy to do so. So that’s why I’ve been doing a lot of comedies. Actually I was really bad at them before but I made a promise to myself to get better as a comedian because I want to bring joy to people.
What advice would you give to those who want to get into the industry?
I would say it’s definitely not easy and you have to remember the quote: “everything happens for a reason.” I think that if you have a chance to be in this industry, there is a reason and it’s because God loves you a lot so he gives you a chance to do something which is beautiful.
I have a lot of fans writing to me, saying how they are inspired by my songs. When they find it difficult to cope with life, my songs and films have given them a lot of encouragement. So whenever you want to give up, please remember why you’re there in the first place. I believe all chances are given by God, but it’s up to you to work hard and make the most out of the opportunity. It’s important to bear in mind that you are not only in the industry to earn money or to make a living out of what you love, but also to use your platform to affect the lives of others positively.
Another piece of advice I would give is to be smart when listening to comments. If somebody says something bad about me, I will listen if their criticism can help to improve my singing, acting or how I should behave as a person in order to make everybody feel happier. However, not all criticism is constructive.
When I first started in show business, I would tell my company that I love singing and acting so much, but I don’t enjoy doing interviews where I have to say the same over and over again. And then, they told me, that a lot of things in life comes as a package. There’ll always be one thing you love doing but you have to do other things too. For example, I don’t like spending two hours sitting on a chair and putting makeup on or trying on 30 dresses to find one for the day. But I keep telling myself that you can’t only do things you like.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to? We know you’ve just launched your own fashion brand Spiritunus.
Right now, I’m promoting a drama of mine,that is showing on ViuTv and YouKu, it’s called 蝕日風暴. I’m also working on some new songs. I’ve also been practicing meditation for two and a half years now and I’ve learnt a lot about life so I think want to recall some of what I have learnt so people can know how I’ve changed. I want to write more songs about life and family in general.
For the first half year of my fashion brand, we came out with a women’s collection and most of our items sell out as soon as they go live online. We’ve just launched a unisex collection which comes in a wide variety of sizes. I believe that all girls of all sizes are beautiful so for this collection, I want to do more types of styles that would fit for people of all sizes. I believe sexiness and cuteness comes from within yourself, your smile and your confidence.
I’m very hands on with the entire process. Once we design the clothes and they make a sample, I will try all of them by myself and tell the factory how I want to amend them. Each amendment takes three four times, and this goes on and on. After starting his brand, I’ve had no time to myself but I’m still very happy.
How did it all happen?
I remember when I was three or four years old, I would always be drawing. I wanted to become a painter and I would draw anywhere. I would find girls that I like in a magazine and draw them a dress. I promised myself that I would have a brand of my own some day. A friend of mine who works in the fashion industrym suddenly called me and said: “hey let’s do a brand together.” My partner is more business orientated and I look after the design and marketing side more.
Describe your personal style
My personal style is extreme, because I don’t believe people’s personality are one dimensional. As a working woman, when I do business, I stand, talk and think like a man. When I am with my parents, I am this little girl who wants their love and wants to take care of them. I think what you wear represents what you think. My personal style depends on my mood – sometimes I will be girly, I will be sexy or more manly. So at home, I have a lot of men’s jeans, pants and t-shirts. It’s just like acting. Sometimes, even though I don’t have to be on set yet, I would ask to wear my character’s outfit so I can feel like I’m that person. Sometimes what you wear can affect the way you walk, so I’ll encourage all girls and women to try different types of styles so they can explore different parts of their personality.
Do you think social media is the best way to promote your brand and reach consumers nowadays?
I think social media is an excellent way to promote our brand. There are so many artists, even those who aren’t close to me, who have helped post on their platforms. I’ve been sending Spiritunus to artists from age 16 to 50 and above, and they all wear it beautifully. That’s also what is special about our brand – no matter if you’re 16 or 20 or 30, every time we design a piece, we think about if it’ll suit individuals of all ages.
Words have power, so speak with love.
Your own Instagram has 1.4 million followers on Instagram. Do you interact with your fans very often?
When I reached 1.2 million followers, I told my assistant I am so happy that so many people are supporting me. Every time I reached a new milestone, I would record something fun and cute to thank them. But as time goes by, I’ve been so busy I haven’t thought of what to post. Very quickly, it went from 1.3 to 1.4 million two weeks ago and I told my assistant I better do something to thank everybody. Then she laughed at and told me I said exactly the same thing when I reached 1.2 million followers.
I actually love to interact with them through games and contests. Whoever I think performs best, I’ll send presents so they can feel that they have a part of me. Sometimes when I know my fans are sick, or suffering from mental illnesses, I would reach out to them. There was one story, where a girl got depression and her boyfriend reached out to me through friends and friends of colleagues. So I went to dinner with her and surprised her and we had a really meaningful talk. I wanted to show her that nothing is impossible. I took a cross of mine at home, which a friend of mine gave to me and I gave it to her. And I said: “that it’s a present that someone gave it to me, today I want to pass to you this love of mine. And when you get better someday, and a friend of yours is sick, I want you to keep passing it on.”
The first week of October is mental health awareness week. How important do you think it is to raise awareness?
Mental health is so important and I am so glad that you ask this question. I tell all my friends and fans that we all want to be happy, but who could really give us happiness? Nobody can give it to you except yourself. You can be very rich, have a lovely family and a job you love and still be depressed. Sometimes you can have none of the above and be very happy. So no matter if you have depression or not, I think that I want everybody to understand that happiness can only be given to you by yourself.
When you suffer from a mental illness, you tend to lose hope and tend to believe that’s the end of everything and you’ll be stuck like that forever. I want to tell people that it’s not true. Just like a flu or a cough, if you believe that you can get through it, you can get through it. You to give people chances to love you to take care of you.
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
For my brand, Spiritunus, I hope that anyone who wears our clothes will have confidence and know that their beauty actually comes from themselves. I want everybody, all the girls and all the men who wear our brand, to know that we are here to give you confidence. As for myself, I want to write more songs about life, family, hope and faith. For acting, I’m super passionate about period-style Chinese movies, where sometimes you can fly or do Kung Fu, so I’d like to do more of that.
Who’s your legend?
In terms of the show biz industry, my legend is Leslie Cheung. He’s great in acting, he’s great in music, he’s not afraid to express himself even with dresses, wigs and long hair. He is who he is. He just glows on stage because he loves to entertain. There’s a concert of his, where he said: “one day when I grow old and I am not popular anymore, if anybody asks you who’s Leslie Cheung, if you could just mention my name and say you know who I am, that’s all I ask for.” It really touched me, and I want him to know up in heaven that I remember him. So for any of my own concerts, I will always sing a song of his.
Other legends of mine are my parents. There are times where I try to improve every day as a person, but I know that there are times where I’m not perfect. But through my bad and good times, they’ve always stood by me, always forgiven me and have always tried to understand me.
Photography / Karl Lam
Videography / Gloria Tang
Make up / Frances Ho @jessicachan Makeup Workshop
Hair / SingTam(@pi4.hk)