Crystal Li: Rising TVB Star

Crystal Li (李雪瑩) started her career in the entertainment industry by entering the Miss Hong Kong pageant in 2010.  Her most recognizable role to-date is portraying a lawyer in TVB series, Ghetto Justice 2 <怒火街頭2>. Insisting on staying in Hong Kong by herself to start her career, Crystal is not an ordinary and sheltered girl.  Ever since she was young, Crystal was well trained by her parents to be independent and able to travel anywhere in the world by herself.

Entering a beauty pageant is the typical way for many of the female artists to start their acting careers at TVB. Not only are beauty and wisdom important, the ability to act is definitely needed to become successful in the entertainment industry. This year, there are many  new TV beauties, such as Miss Chinese International winners, Eliza Sam (岑麗香), Christine Kuo (苟芸慧) and Crystal Li. With similar backgrounds and acting experience, they are all rising actresses experiencing wider recognition and popularity.

Miss “Shy” Photogenic

In the 2010 Miss Hong Kong pageant, Crystal Li won the Miss Photogenic award. This has given her the perfect opportunity to start her TV career. Crystal admitted that she is a shy girl, and she never thought of entering a beauty pageant.  She happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Crystal had graduated from a college in Great Britain and started working at a law office. Crystal was tired of working at her job, so she decided to quit her job in mid-March. At that time, the deadline to enter the Miss Hong Kong pageant for oversea contestants was the beginning of April, and she was still indecisive whether to enter or not during the week before,  although she knew that the opportunity did not happen often. In fact, her auntie had been encouraging her to enter the contest every year, but Crystal came up with excuses every time. Crystal’s mother encouraged her to enter, and told her that winning is not important as long she learns from the experience. In addition, the idea of getting a free trip finally motivated her to enter the Miss Hong Kong pageant.

Hong Kong turned out to be the perfect fit for Crystal. “In the past summer vacations and New Year holidays, I always came to visit my relatives in Hong Kong. I love Hong Kong and I enjoy the fast-paced city life more than the quiet life. Therefore, it is a perfect place for me!” Since a young girl, Crystal has been raised with the curiosity to see the world.. Crystal has always been independent. She spent a year away from her family studying abroad in Rome during her college years. Crystal’s parents were busy working on their own business during her childhood, and did not have much time to spend with her. During summer vacation, her mother would buy two airline tickets for Crystal and her sister to fly to the United States to stay with her aunt.

Crystal’s Parents Watch All Her Dramas

Although the Li family allowed Crystal to venture overseas for her career, she still has a very close relationship with her family. Crystal feels her parent’s love and support even they are not close by. She said since she was little, her parents gave her a lot of freedom to follow her own interests. Crystal said, “When I decided to major in foreign language during college, no typical Chinese student would choose this major. They will usually major in medicine, law, accounting, and engineering related fields. However, my parents never opposed my choice of language as my college major. They told me if I really like it, then I have to do my best and study hard. When it comes to choosing my career in the entertainment industry, my parents have given their total support. They are always excited to watch me on all my TV appearances, making sure not to not to miss any of my shows.”

Born and Raised in Great Britain

Some of the cast members in popular TVB series, Ghetto Justice 2 such as King Kong (金剛), JJ Jia (賈曉晨), Eliza Sam, and Christina Kuo were criticized by viewers on their Cantonese pronunciation. Although Crystal was born and raised in Great Britain, Crystal was spared from the criticism. In fact, many colleagues have asked her how old was she when she left for the country, and thought she only attended college in Great Britain. When she told them that she was born overseas, they were all very surprised.

Asked what is her secret ingredient of learning a language, Crystal laughed and replied, “I always talk to my parents in Cantonese, and I went to Chinese school to study Chinese from 6 years old to 18 years old. Therefore, I have no problem reading and writing Chinese. I also have a little bit of talent when it comes to language, and I have a lot of interest learning Chinese since I was a child. My parents subscribed to Chinese newspapers and magazines, I would mark all the characters that I didn’t know. That’s how I learned all the characters.”

A Blossoming Career

Filming in Hong Kong, Crystal did not experience any language barriers. However, one careless mishap in mispronouncing a word in Mandarin instead of Cantonese led a lot of laughter during the show. After the Miss Hong Kong pageant, Crystal went to Singapore to do an interview for a charity show with Edwin Siu (蕭正楠), Vincent Wong (王浩信), and a few Miss Hong Kong winners. They went to dinner afterwards, and Crystal accidentally mispronounced a word in Mandarin. Crystal said,  “All of them teased me about how I speak with an accent during the entire trip.”

Crystal is very articulate and charismatic.  She can host a variety show and deliver convincing performances in dramas. With her image well liked and received by many viewers, Crystal has a bright future ahead at TVB.


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  1. Another rising star in the making with less fan-fare now but could possibly blossom into a full fledge superstar! Only time will tell on her desires and dedication!

  2. I like her better than Christine Kuo for sure but is it too much to ask for stars who can act, speak Cantonese, and have memorable faces? Crystal looks rather homely to me but that seems to be a prerequisite for being a fadan at TVB these days.

    1. She’s not as pretty in terms of Christine Kuo (actually I don’t think she’s good looking at all) but definitely a better actress.

      1. I don’t think she’s a better actress than Christine, because her role was easy, and she did it rather badly too, with all that smiling.
        Looks: Christine
        Language: Crystal
        Charisma: Eliza
        Acting: None of the above.

  3. I think she looks a lot like Eliza Sam. I don’t understand why people are surprised when someone who was born overseas can speak their mother tongue. It just seems that in the past they have picked certain Miss HK’s due to their looks and how they can wear a bikini rather than how articulate they are in Cantonese.

  4. The majority of the rising fadans/newbies are missing that “it” factor. Hmm…

    1. Hannah,

      You’re right. While they are all very pretty, there isn’t uniqueness to any one of them. Nothing SPECTACULAR about them really…

  5. i can’t stand it when christine speaks cantonese. Also i don’t Eliza to much either. Their accents are horrible. Crystal’s is better 🙂 and a little more natural. at least it doesn’t make me cringe when hearing it . lol

  6. I believe TVB deliberately chose artists who speak Cantonese with an accent to “spice” up the show and create a “buzz” in the publicity department and get the tabloids and bloggers alike to comment and or critique them so more viewers would view them to see what the hype is all about. I would say that is slick advertising…

  7. Her name is too similar to Crystal LIU. She ought to try for unique-ness by using her Chinese name. That would surely make her stand out amidst all the English-named entertainers in the Chinese film world.

    1. Crystal Liu is more known by her Chinese name, Liu Yi Fei, though.

  8. This is ridiculous. One series and she is a rising star? In that 1 series I have seen her I hardly would call her a force to be reckoned with. Give her a few more series before working the whole PR machine. And she should stop acting as a Miss HK when acting.

  9. She more pretty than some fiesr class fadan like Aimee Chan,Linda Chung ,etc ,the girl have great future in TVB if she have more luck ,a first class fadan in making ,mark my word,and she acting skill are better than Cristine Kuo

  10. Christine’s English is terrible. Does Crystal actually speak in British accent or at the very least speak like she was been raised overseas?

    1. Didn’t detect any british accent. Probably american or canadian.

  11. Hmm. I was born and raised in the UK as well, but my Cantonese sounds perfectly normal… I’m always surprised when I listen to some of my cousins and they have such thick accents.

      1. Do most of you who are born overseas learn canto through dramas as well?

        I didn’t watch too much when I was little, especially as I lived with my grandpa early on and there was absolutely no TV. I’d speak to him – and later on my mum – in Chinese everyday. As I got older, I watched TVB dramas to learn how to read so the subtitles came in pretty handy.

        Most of my cousins converse in English with their parents…

      2. skinnymocha

        no there is a huge cantonese population in the US. Most people speak to their parents in cantonese and it depends on what type of cantonese. recently the cantonese population is getting smaller because there are suddenly so many mandarin speakers here. time to learn fluent mandarin. some chinese that lives in the suburbs chooses not to speak chinese because they find it an embarrassment just like my cousins. we’re not aliens and we’re all just normal human beings. just because we’re Chinese and born in another country doesn’t make us any difference. i went to China twice and they have to discriminate me because i was born in the U.S. come on get a grip. i look chinese, speaks a few chinese dialect and can read and write some chinese so don’t discriminate because we never question you guys.

      3. Yeah, the two factors was watching TVB series and most importantly speaking it with my family.

        Learned many useful terms from TVB back then especially from wuxia series 🙂

  12. Crystal Li has the best Cantonese out of all the newcomers. Christine Kuo has the worst acting and Cantonese out of all. I think Eliza Sam has potential in acting and she seems to have a good personality which will get her far. I support Eliza Sam and Crystal Li! 😀

    1. I totally agree with you. I like both Crystal and Eliza. I am not a fan of Christine and I do not think she is really that pretty.

  13. Crystal was great in Ghetto Justice 2 ..

    definitely a rising star at TVB..

  14. Crystal needs more exposure to more roles. Cant tell whether she’s good or not since Ghetto 2 is her first attempt(right?).
    Meanwhile Eliza is a natural…. I really like her.

  15. I feel like Christine Kuo always plays the same type of role: Damsel in distress or needy girl. She is the prettiest out of the three, but I really can’t stand her Canto. Sometimes, I even try to fast forward or speaking parts. She has a taiwanese/Mandarin-accent when she speaks Cantonese.

    Eliza Sam’s acting isn’t that great. It is too “faked”, if you know what I mean. But she is very charming and cute. She has an English/CBC accent when she speaks cantonese.

    I don’t know if you guys think Crystal’s role in GJ2 was too easy… but I feel like she is also a better actress PLUS cantonese speaker out of the 3.

  16. The only problem with Crystal is that she smiles too much though her smile is bright and pretty, otherwise I like everything else about her. For one thing she is very articulate.She speaks fluent English with an English accent and I believe her Cantonese is good as few have criticized it.There is not very much acting on her part in GJ2 so one can’t really make a proper assessment of her acting ability on it.

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