It’s hard to break into any industry as a greenhorn. And for former TVB actress Christy Chan, her time with the Hong Kong broadcasting company became the toughest job she’s ever had.

In an interview with Hong Kong news portal HK01, the 32-year-old ViuTV host revealed that when she joined TVB, she was only paid HKD$28 (S$5) per hour. 

The 2012 Miss Hong Kong pageant finalist said: “When I was acting, I was only paid HKD$28 per hour. They really did it.

“I went to Vietnam to film a 10-episode show. I was only a newbie, I didn’t have any bargaining power. Even though I knew that $28 per hour was crazy, I had no choice and I couldn’t do anything about it.

“But I told myself to remember this incident and that if I have a choice, I’ll increase my own worth. This company (TVB) doesn’t need any affection. If you’re beneficial to them, even if you ask for HKD$20,000 per hour, they’ll still pay.”

After she completed her artiste training classes, Christy became a full-time artiste for TVB, but her value didn’t increase by much. In fact, as a newbie, her rates were cheaper and therefore, she was working every day.

“I was doing cheap labour then — children’s shows, travel shows, and even being an ‘extra’. I didn’t have to worry about not having roles, I earned about HKD$20,000 to $30,000 a month. However, it was detrimental to my health,” she confessed.

Despite her rough experience, Christy saw it as a learning opportunity and took all kinds of roles, except for rape scenes. As a newbie, the director and producers were tough on her as well, Christy said, as she had the earliest call time and was the last to wrap.

After her five-year contract, where she had more bad experiences than good, Christy called it quits with TVB. She became a full-time influencer after seeing her friends become one as she was drawn to the money and the freedom it could give.

Text: Bryan Lim / AsiaOne / July 2020
Additional text: Sally Manik
Featured image: kitling_chan / Instagram