Truely Rachel Leung

Rachel Leung is no newcomer to the cinematic world. Since her debut in the film “Somewhere Beyond the Mist” in 2015, nearly nine years have passed. Now, as she approaches her 31st birthday, she has received an extraordinary gift: the Best Supporting Actress award at the Asian Film Awards for her role as Ling, a mentally challenged individual who suffers sexual assault, in “In Broad Daylight”.

In the days leading up to the Asian Film Awards ceremony, Rachel shared insights from her journey as an actress during a panel discussion titled “In Conversation: The Multifaceted Lives of Women Filmmakers” Dressed in a white dress and sporting thick-soled shoes, her appearance sparked a light-hearted comment from the host, Kearen Pang: “It’s indeed challenging being an actress, with or without makeup, one looks entirely different.” (Rachel appeared without makeup in “In Broad Daylight”, as did another guest, Wan Fang.) Petite, with a youthful face, Rachel acknowledged that these traits were likely what led the director to cast her as Ling.

Empathy for the Character

Upon receiving the script, Rachel auditioned the next day without ample preparation time. Initially resorting to imitation to portray Ling, she was eventually chosen for the role. However, due to the pandemic, she couldn’t meet with individuals with intellectual disabilities in person and had to rely on medical reports, documentaries, and her imagination to understand her character. “When actors read a script, it’s easy to judge the characters from a position of superiority. But during “In Broad Daylight”, I realized that despite their limitations, individuals with intellectual disabilities share the same humanity as everyone else. It’s crucial to empathize with the character and learn to love the ones in the script.”

Beyond Acting

”My life, for now, is centered around acting, I haven’t thought of pursuing anything else,” Rachel stated, an answer that Kearen described as formal. “It’s true! Aside from acting, my life is quite mundane,” Rachel confessed, describing her leisure activities as similar to anyone else’s: walking dogs, exercising, cooking, or watching plays. She identifies as a feminist, challenging societal standards of women’s roles. “The various identities ascribed to women are merely societal constructs… Being a mother or someone’s girlfriend shouldn’t confine me to specific expectations.”

Rachel modestly claims her acting is not exceptional, yet her grounded demeanor has endeared her to many. She openly shared how her early acting opportunities came from Facebook casting groups, and despite her roles in other popular films like “Time Still Turns The Pages”, she doesn’t consider herself a standout. Interestingly, she once had a minor role in the film “29+1”, a fact that surprised Kearen.

Truly Rachel Leung

At the award ceremony, her excitement was palpable, accidentally knocking over the microphone. Earlier, she had already lost a part of her dress embellishment on the red carpet: a blend of earnestness and charm. This genuine, slightly goofy actress was reminded backstage that her hair was a mess, to which she sheepishly replied, “It’s styled this way,” prompting laughter. Following the humor, she earnestly used her acceptance speech to urge public attention to social issues through cinema: “Even under the daylight, darkness exists”.

Among many actors, Rachel may not be the most dazzling, but she captivates attention by staying true to her own pace, walking steadfastly and earnestly, ensuring she remains in the spotlight.

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