Former TVB Actor Eddie Li Sells Chicken to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
Although former TVB actor Eddie Li (李雨陽) was the second male lead in the 2003 series Hearts of Fencing <當四葉草碰上劍尖時>, his acting career remained stagnant following his 15 minutes of fame. So in 2012, he left TVB after nine years with the station and jumped ship to Ricky Wong’s (王維基) HKTV. However, HKTV’s failure to acquire a government TV license left Eddie unemployed and with a 400,000 Yuan credit card debt. As a result, the actor turned to selling chicken and slowly paid off his debts. Successfully climbing out of the pit, the 40-year-old husband and father became a restaurateur as of two months ago.
Eddie Opened a Snack Shop in Kwun Tong
Eddie invested 300,000 yuan into a snack shop, Cooking Mami, located in Kwun Tong Plaza a while back. “I grew up in Kwun Tong, I lived in this area for 30 or 40 years. I used to go to Kwun Tong Plaza after school to look at computers, buy CDs, eat noodles and snacks, so I chose to open a shop here,” he explained. “Many neighbors recognize me and they will say, ‘You are …’ and I will answer them, ‘Yes! I am an actor, my name is Eddie Li, please support me!’”
As the only male shareholder of the restaurant, Eddie is in mainly responsible for the heavy work. “Because the other two shareholders are women, I am in charge of doing the physical labor and the more disgusting work, such as taking out the garbage and washing dishes,” Eddie shared. “When we first opened, I began washing dishes at seven in the morning for at least one to two hours. Since I’m pretty tall, I have to bend down a lot, so I often had back pain.”
Locals and Netizens Support Him
Since this is the first time Eddie opened a restaurant, there have been many incidents due to the lack of experience. For example, a customer once returned the next day to complain that Eddie forgot to add hot water into the lemon tea.
Still, business is off to a great start, and many locals support it. Netizens also praised it and left great reviews online. Although doing business brings Eddie satisfaction, he is often thinking about acting.
Eddie’s Acting Career
With a passion for acting still, Eddie recalled the time he played the second male lead in the idol drama, Hearts of Fencing. “When the show aired, I went to the Ladies’ Market, and I couldn’t finish walking this short road within half an hour because a lot of fans kept coming up to me for autographs. At the time, I thought I was really popular.”
However, after the drama, Eddie was rarely given acting opportunities by TVB, and his popularity plummeted as a result. He often stayed at home worried about his future.
He expressed, “Looking back now, my acting skills were probably not up to par because idol dramas didn’t require good acting skills, as long as the actors were young and looked fresh.”
He Survived on Instant Ramen
In the next few years, Eddie only had sporadic work, mostly doing hosting gigs and eating programs. Even when he appeared in dramas, it was for a small role with little dialogue.
At one point, Eddie only had one show per year, which amounted to only 10,000 Yuan in income, which is about 100 Yuan per month. His meager salary could not sustain his lifestyle, so he was forced to eat instant ramen for three meals a day for two consecutive years. To ease his financial burden, Eddie became a part-time salesman. “So what if it’s embarrassing? Having no money to eat is even more embarrassing,” the actor said.
Eventually, he over drafted his credit card and had to rely on occasional shows and selling chicken to pay off the debt of 400,000 Yuan.
In recent years, Eddie often goes to Mainland China to film, as the money he makes from completing one drama there is similar to a one-year income from acting in Hong Kong. To be able to turn his life around was not an easy feat, and Eddie attributes it to his optimism and positivity.
This article is written by MelodyC for JayneStars.com.