Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 18 News List

His and her royal highness

Taiwan's 'Queen of the Shopping Channel' isn't about to relinquish her crown just yet and is busy preparing to host Taiwan's first Oprah-style talk show

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

In order to escape the glare of publicity that has followed her since leaving university and becoming a household name, Li Jing travels to Paris and the US at least twice a year to purchase the latest fashions and enjoy brief respites of anonymity.

She might enjoy being away from the limelight for short periods of time, but when she returns to Taiwan it is now impossible for Li Jing to escape the

realities of who she is.

Mobbed by fans when leaving the studio or while grocery shopping near her home in Hsichih, she now enjoys movie-star-like status and receives scores of letters from her army of devoted fans on a daily basis.

"I do get mail from men telling me how much they love me, but most of my fan mail comes from women," she said. "They write to encourage me or tell me how much they admire me or to ask about the clothes they've seen me wearing on television and ask where they can buy them and so on."

Not everyone is as gracious or as adoring as her doting fans. Like many well-known personalities, Li Jing also receives her fair share of hate mail.

The television networks team of censors does its best to monitor the contents of her fan mail before it arrives on her desk, but malicious mail does, on occassion, sneak through.

"The supervisor censors the mail and checks that it's authentic before giving it to me, but I do get rude letters," she said. "Most of them say things like `the Queen is not so good now,' and so on. I don't think they come from people who genuinely hate me. I think they come from people who are simply jealous."

It's not only her critics who have an ax to grind with the "Queen of the Shopping Channel," however. Her outspoken disregard for some of her younger peers has made her a target for a certain element within the cutthroat, often underhanded and far from glamorous business in which she works.

"You see a lot of newcomers who are too young and have no experience. They think [hosting a show] is easy and that all you have to do is look nice," said Li Jing. "[A few] of them could be good hosts, but they don't know how to conduct themselves. Sending [erroneous] letters to the media purely for spite is certainly not something I consider to be professional

behavior."

Earlier this week, local media was awash with photographs of Li Jing cavorting on a bed with actor and comedian Hsu Hsiao-shun (許效舜). The fact that they were rehearsing a scene for the television series Beauty Clinic (好美麗診所) didn't matter. The local gossip columns and cable news channels were flooded with speculative tittle-tattle concerning Li Jing's sexual preferences long before the director had said, "cut."

"You have to get used to [being the focus of unwarranted attention]. It does hurt sometimes, but I don't look at these stories," she said. "Anyway, I think I'd be more upset if people didn't write about me."

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