Retiring from showbiz in 2008 after marriage, former actress Gigi Lai (黎姿) proved her business savvy as the cosmetics firm her brother started became publicly listed in 2019 under her tenure. Interviewed on a recent Chinese program, Gigi shares on her life decisions, and said she never say leaving showbiz as a sacrifice!
Turned Down Wong Kar Wai’s Film offer
Having acted in countless dramas such as The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber <倚天屠龍記>, War and Beauty <金枝慾孽>, she announced her decision to end her showbiz career at a publicity event for The Gem of Life <珠光寶氣> when she was just 37. Asked if she misses acting, Gigi recalled how she had been greeted by valet parkers at Causeway Bay, after the movie Young and Dangerous <古惑仔> was aired. “I was amused, they were very attached (to the characters) and it made me feel a great sense of satisfaction, getting fans express their liking for a role I did…makes me feel like everything is worth it, in retrospect,”
While she once expressed regret on turning down famed director Wong Kar Wai’s (王家衛) film invite, she does not want to dwell on spilt milk, saying, “The role might not have been suitable for me, perhaps this is another kind of predestination,”
Leaves Showbiz to Salvage Twin Brother’s Beauty Business
Putting family first, Gigi left her acting career to fully care for her brother Stephen (黎嬰) after his near-fatal accident in 2007, to give him the “motivation to continue living”. Faced with the decision to discontinue Stephen’s business or to keep it going, the 52-year-old said that while he was unable to speak or move, he could think and feel as per normal, thus she hoped to give him a goal to work towards by taking over the reins of the business he had so painstakingly built up.
The actress would proactively make daily and monthly “reports” to Stephen and discuss work matters with him, including feedback from workers or customers.
Women need to be Financial Independent
Despite feeling fatigued at times and not having time for herself, the actress, who entered showbiz at 14 to help support the family, has long been used to taking family matters as her own. With her brother’s condition stabilizing in recent years, her parents have urged her to take time off for herself while they promise to care for him.
Named one of Hong Kong’s richest actresses with a net worth of USD13 million, Gigi shares advice on the show that regardless of your spouse’s wealth, a woman needs to have her own career, so she can pay for what they like, and even “treat (their) husband(s) to a candlelit dinner”.