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The Versatile Vivian Hsu
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In just its first two weeks of release, The Knot has brought millions of moviegoers to tears. The melancholy love story stars Chen Kun, Li Bingbing and the topic of CCTV's "The List" today, Taiwan actress Vivian Hsu. Vivian Hsu takes the romantic lead in The Knot. Her character spends a lifetime waiting for the man she loves. Vivian had to handle an incredible leap in years, from teenager to a matron in her late fifties.

While most moviegoers expected more time to admire her pretty face, Vivian surprised them with a complex portrayal. Vivian Hsu first made her name in the early 1990s, when at age 15 she triumphed in a singing contest. Joining the "Girls' Band", she got off to a flying start in showbiz. With her cute image, the newcomer soon won a wide following. But the "Girls' Band" failed to survive the harsh competition of the 90s, and Vivian had to bid farewell to her fifteen minutes of fame. A pretty face is far from enough in any arena - even pop music.   

But Vivian did not fade away. In 1994, she came back as an actress, debuting in the movie Comedy Kids. Her performance met a fairly good response. Though things took a sharp turn upon an unexpected move by the actress. A nude photo album threw her into a vortex of media criticism. And the pressure forced Vivian to reconsider her career. Later in the year, she left her homeland for Japan, looking for a fresh start. And in January 1995 she was catapulted to fame in the country, appearing on the cover of fashion magazine Young Jump.   

Over a few short years, Vivian rose to the top of entertainment in Japan. Forming the band "Black Biscuit" with two local TV hosts, she became a pop icon. Through the course of 1998, "Black Biscuit" released three albums, which sold about a million each. In the same year, Vivian entered the N-H-K network pop music competition. Following in the footsteps of Judy Wun, Feifei Auyeung, and Teresa Teng, she became the most popular Chinese singer in Japan.   

Vivian also discovered her talent as a TV hostess. Appearing in various shows, she commanded the attention of millions of Japanese youth. And magazines targeting the middle class often carried her likeness. The five years were filled with singing, hosting, and acting in commercials.   

As both television hostess and lead singer of "Black Biscuit", Vivian handled the competition and earned her place in the sun.   

But as a new crop of entertainers sprang up in Japan, she was forced to consider other options. Finally Vivian came back, to explore the burgeoning entertainment industry of China.   

In 2000, Vivian Hsu returned to Taiwan and spent months on the album A Faked Angel. She wrote most of the tunes herself. But after five years absent, she found it hard to recover her old fan base. The album was the worst seller of her career. And Vivian nearly tumbled into depression.   

But the damsel in distress was rescued by a knight in shining armor. Jay Chow, the newly-crowned king of R&B, asked her to work with him on an album. And that was a healthy boost to Vivian's confidence.   

Vivian Hsu said:"I heard the news but couldn't believe it. I was so excited, I went home and jumped up and down on my bed. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy. "   

Vivian Hsu wrote three songs for Jay Chow's album: Lovely Woman, Whirlwind, and Simple Love. Since then, her songwriting talents have been recognized by Taiwan's pop world. She started to release solo albums, at a rate of one per year.

After the widely acclaimed Love to Your Heart's Content in 2005, Vivian Hsu released the collection Vivian and .... This latest release features seven of her own tunes. The lyrics present life and love, in a poignant revelation of Vivian's inner world.   

(CCTV December 12, 2006)

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