Well, after an amazing ride in the beautiful, the wonderful, the dazzling and forever enchanting Hong Kong, I have returned to England.. and it is great to be back, no matter how much I love that beautiful lady that is Hong Kong, it was time for cleaner air and open spaces, and to be closer to family once again.
It has been an incredible ride these past 7 years in Hong Kong. Living and working in Sheung Wan where I set up my offices. I felt so blessed to be in such a creative and exciting part of Hong Kong, where you could feel the buzz of new ideas and creative expression constantly bubbling just under the surface. My experiences as a radio presenter, voice over artist, journalist, actress and now owner of a vocal academy where I have met and worked with some of the most wonderful students in Hong Kong who have all without exception have been so enjoyable to know and work with, as well as my continuation in my usual roles as producer, song writer and singer - it has been extraordinary.
Working with the Gipsy Kings in Rajasthan and Delhi were among my favourite moments, as well as working with Keanu Reeves, oscar winning costumer designers (on the movie Mercury Factor), playing lead in the first stage play to be commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts festival to be written in English and working albeit briefly with Jackie Chan, to mention a few just a few moments I loved. Hong Kong IS a lady and a mother and full and brimming over with wonderful talented people who understand that life is for living and that good work is to be celebrated.
So here I am, now back in the UK and after a wonderful summer with plenty of sun, I was happily surprised after my time in the tropics.
It’s incredible to be back, it’s incredible to be facing new challenges and opportunities, it’s fantastic to be surrounded by such outstanding beauty that I see with every short trip I have to take of a day. Thank you England for receiving me back, I have multiplied since I have been away and return with a little treasure - my daughter. Life as a single mum running a company in Hong Kong has been a beautiful struggle and as I manage my offices from so far away, I look at the vast open sky from my window and say “Thank you England.” once more.
THE APARTMENT - The Celebrity Edition ~ Paints Over The Cracks of it's Truth, using Dulux Paint - BUY BUY BABY??? posted 20:42 January 10th 2015
So, it's finally here, the website! What better time to launch it than on the evening of the day my biggest professional mistake is due to air on TV to 7 million viewers!
So my question is this: Does every reality TV show think it can get it's cheap kicks by humiliating those involved?
Do they really think they can buy anyone with a promise of ratings and exposure? Well, not this lady.
I think the most important thing I took away from my experience on this job, was the kindness I felt from just a few and how much that meant, how incredible it is to find kindness in any business that is as cut-throat as entertainment. It was also incredibly life affirming to realise how, in what was a very dark time for me, to have the opportunity to focus on a project such as this and the opportunities that a show like this can bring, it felt like a positive, but when I became aware of how unpleasant the creators and producers where, when I was told that the voting was rigged and I could be guaranteed to be in the final 4, when I was promised money and other work to follow this show in an attempt to keep me on the show, how incredibly easy it was for me, to say “no”, and walk away, because at my core, it is truth, honesty and integrity that matter most to me, these things mean more than anything else, and as I watched certain people desperately cling on to the show, I felt my own sense of inner strength all the more, knowing I just could not be bought, even at a time when things were hard for me.
So! Six months ago I was asked to take part in a "reality" TV show named 'The Apartment- The Celebrity Edition, which airs tonight for the first time. I was ‘sold’ on the idea of the show by being told that myself and 11 other contestants were being invited to stay in the beautiful Nikki Beach Resort in Phuket. There we would raise money for charity by competing with other celebrities to decorate a villa in Thailand.
Of course nothing was as promised. The villas were not in Nikki Beach, we were staying at a Novotel 40 minutes drive away for the first few nights and were then taken to the villas due for our design and refurbishment, which were in a sorry state, they were covered in mud, there were no tables or chairs so we had to sit on the mud covered floor to eat, and the food provided was not fit, certainly not for this pregnant lady. The producers did this and much more in the hopes we would be unhappy and 'at each others throats', just in time for the airing to begin.
Contracts were breached by our caring team within a day of landing and we were made to feel that we would be depicted as 'divas' if we spoke out or complained.
So, I was chosen to be a team leader and our first challenge began…
The long and short of this story is, the game was (of course) rigged. I was stopped from being able to complete my tasks and then held up as a cheat for being creative enough to find a way to by-pass the brick walls I kept hitting. I was later told by producers and presenters that I had been chosen to be the Villain before we even arrived, and so I would be placed in a position to find it impossible to complete any of the tasks in hopes of fireworks …. Boy did they choose the wrong contestant.
So while the penny began to drop that I was mere fodder in a pre-scripted, manipulative process by producers who had no care for the people they invited to be a part of the process, I was having a truly life affirming realisation and met 2 great people along the way. By being a part of this process, I remembered who I was, it was a test and I reaffirmed my own strengths of character, how nothing matters more to me then the truth, whether it’s the authentic expression of a performance or truth of the words and melodies I write, this process as hurtful as it might have been, it reminded me of the strength of my own authenticity, how I could never want fame more than being authentic. My integrity was being bartered for, and I had to tell the people of this show, that it was not for sale.
So they had their pound of flesh, and being called "Liar, cheater, divisive, ego-centric." in the public domain was no fun, these things matter, especially where our own name is on the line, when we are ‘playing ourselves’ we have to wear the songs, the words and the appearances like a jacket for the rest of our lives, this is the way of this industry and why people spend so much money on PR. So while the production crew told me, "It's only TV!" I had to explain to them, that it’s just not what I signed up for, and no matter what they offered me, I was leaving.
I learned too well at school the harm of inciting hatred and anger through whispering untruths into the ears of friends, and I may look fabulous ;) (I jest), but I’m no kid, the school yard is way behind me, thank God, so that was my cue to exit the show. Incredibly, they thought I might be tempted by being guaranteed to be in the final 4, which just confirmed what a total lie the entire process was. So I politely declined and left after 4 gruelling days of hard work and no sleep… while pregnant!
In so many ways though, this was a great experience really, because it reminded me what really matters and it is often these darker times in life that show us our boundaries and our limits and confirm to us who we really are, and I will forever remain proud of how I walked away from money, offers of work, how I walked away from all of those things that fame and TV appearances can bring, that are a huge help to those of us in the entertainment industry, as it is those things that allow us to continue to create and be what we, first and foremost, really are: Artists. So I walked away with nothing, they didn’t even honour their agreement to pay me.
What I did walk away with though was worth far more, I walked away with my integrity and dignity and reconfirmation that I could not be bought - at any cost. I met at least 2 wonderful and talented people that I am still in contact with today.
Real friends, self respect and honour can’t be bought… so for me it was less Buy Me Baby, and more Bye Bye Baby! x!