【WHY NOT BOLD】“Encyclopedia of Handsome Guy” – Interviewing Lai Ying

Quickly name three “handsome guys” that come to mind. Don’t overthink it, just shoot!

See, Everyone has their own little black book of handsome guys.

From the 90s heartthrobs like Takeshi Kaneshiro, Edison Chen, Daniel Wu, and Aaron Kwok, to the new kids on the block like Mirror, Jeffrey Ngai, and Terance Lau… Every era has its own batch of eye candy. So, for Lai Ying, whose fascination with handsome men knows no bounds, she decided to take the plunge and create a track called 《美男子圖鑑》 – teaming up with like-minded musician Serrini to pen the lyrics. Both are unabashedly smitten with good-looking guys. The song metaphorically likens love to a forest where everyone picks their own path. “《美男子圖鑑》 was one of those wild ideas I just had to pursue. This year, I made a pact with myself to stop overthinking and just dive in. It’s about sharing my rawest emotions.”

She mentioned that while her past works mainly revolved around herself, this year she wanted to delve into her views on love. This seemingly bold and daring new-gen girl remarked, “Actually, I’m pretty serious when it comes to love. I’m a bit old-fashioned, maybe even a bit of a nerd.” With a serious expression, she revealed a side different from her usual goofy self. How serious? She shared her “love declaration” from years ago: “I once had an experience of being blunt. There was a guy I liked, and I just laid it all out there. Maybe it was too intense, it scared him off, and he didn’t talk to me for years.” She chuckled for a while, “After going through that, I realized I shouldn’t approach someone I like so directly. When we were younger, sudden intense feelings might make the other person uncomfortable. It was a lesson that helped me grow in love.” With time, she now casually reminisces about it, but being passionately in love and getting rejected must have stung. “Next time, if I meet someone I’m interested in, I want to take my time to get to know them.”

The lyrics go like this: “Date you, date me, I want to date a few more”(Date 你 date 我,我想 date 多幾), “Accompany me, invest in loving me, then fight for me”(陪我,投入愛我,再爭我). At first listen, it might sound a bit flaky. Lai Ying clarifies that dating different people is a form of practice. You need to open yourself up, let go of some preconceived notions, and get to know different people to understand what you truly want in the end. “Many people have various criteria for choosing a partner, such as being at least 180 cm tall, with big eyes and a high nose.” Who wouldn’t want these typical physical attributes? “But I’ve found that even with these standards, you might not find what truly suits you. Are these criteria really suitable for you? Sometimes, being fixated on these conditions might prevent you from seeing things that truly suit you.”

As she matures, her perspective on idolizing stars and love has evolved too. “When idolizing someone, I used to only care about looks, but as I’ve grown up, I pay more attention to inner qualities. His dedication and time spent on his craft impress me, and that’s why I consider him a true idol worth emulating.” Lai Ying’s ultimate bias is Korean star Lee Min Ho, whom she praises as a responsible professional, loving towards fans, tall, and handsome… But when it comes to actual criteria for choosing a partner, “I think he must be gentle and kind-hearted. Having these two qualities is already very attractive.” It’s all about inner beauty.

Lai Ying has an open attitude towards using dating apps, which gives her the chance to meet people outside her circle. It’s not necessarily about getting into a relationship, but the process of interacting with others might provide some intellectual stimulation. Serrini mentioned that her goal this year is to date people from all twelve zodiac signs; hearing this, Lai Ying jokingly said she wants to get to know all twelve Chinese zodiac signs. Everyone present couldn’t help but sweat a little at the thought of bridging the twelve-year age gap. “It could be twelve years, or even twenty-four years, right? Maybe they’ll also inspire me, don’t you think?”

Though this “zodiac theory” might seem a bit avant-garde, don’t overlook her seriousness about relationships. “I think love is actually a very powerful force that can linger with you for a long time. Like the failed experiences I mentioned, they have left a deep impression on me, so no matter what, I take this matter seriously.” This generation is all about instant gratification, and Lai Ying openly admits that she might not keep up with that pace. However, there are some values she always sticks to. As a creator, her 《美男子圖鑑》aims to convey this attitude to the audience – being true to oneself is important. In love, if you like someone, you can just be honest and straightforward, without the need for too much packaging, and then you’ll get what you truly desire. If it goes wrong, it’s okay, just consider it practice in love.

During the production of  《美男子圖鑑》,  she didn’t forget to “treat herself” by inviting Thai mixed-blood actor Saito Chong to star in the music video, and also getting idol group Mirror member Ian Chan to lend his voice. With lines like “Wei, wake up yet?”(Wei,瞓醒未呀?) and “Do you miss me?”(有無掛住我呀?) and a heart-wrenching Japanese confession at the end, fans thanked Lai Ying for providing benefits to Ian fans. Lai Ying described her collaboration with Ian this time as full of twists and turns but mutually enjoyable (she repeatedly emphasized “friendship”). Ian was busy with MIRROR’s concert at the time, but with her never-give-up spirit, Lai Ying managed to persuade Ian to take time out of his busy schedule to record the voiceover for the song, creating a highlight in the song.

Despite always appearing energetic, she has had moments of doubting herself. Last year, she held her first solo concert, but before that, she went through stages of self-doubt and lack of confidence. It wasn’t until the successful completion of the concert that her fans expressed how they drew strength from her songs, which helped her break free from her self-doubt and become determined to pursue music.

In the past, she sang about loneliness on 《黑色情人節》, passionately expressed her desire with lines like “I love u, I love u, I really want to embrace you again” (I love u  I love u 多想再共你擁抱), and shouted out on 《明明單身最開心》 that “Valentine’s Day is here again, I’ll just sleep through it”(情人節又點,我照大覺瞓). But today, she finally declares that she’s ready to open herself up and build relationships with others. After debuting for several years, you can see her rapid growth, she’s no longer just the 全死角美少女, she has her own rhythm and direction. Looking forward to meeting more interesting partners on her musical journey and continuing to evolve!

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