THIRTY photos of Elva Hsiao without any make-up on recently surfaced on Beijing fashion website Yoka.com.
Usually, this would spell career suicide for image-conscious female celebrities.
But not for this Taiwanese singer.
Is she more confident of appearing fresh-faced in public because of her larger eyes?
That was one question that popped up when local reporters spoke to Hsiao over the phone from Taiwan.
The 31-year-old said in Mandarin: “I think when I was younger, I didn’t know much and thought there should be lots and lots (of make-up).
“Now that I’m older, I feel that there’s no difference between wearing double eyelid tape and not.
“I feel that less is more now. People’s perception of beauty changes at different stages in life.”
The popular performer had an eyelid job done last year and doesn’t require cosmetic aids any more.
Hsiao, who has been in showbiz since 1999, admitted to have gone for the procedure at a music awards show in Beijing earlier this year.
She said she had stitched her eyelids in March last year, and preferred this procedure over cutting as the recovery period is faster.
Her late mother, who died of cancer in January, had encouraged her to do it because she wanted her daughter to have sparkling and beautiful eyes, Hsiao had reportedly said.
The sexy star added that she underwent the surgery to save time doing her eye make-up.
According to China Times, Hsiao used to spend two hours taping her single eyelids, sticking on fake eyelashes and applying eye make-up.
Taiwanese singer Stanley Huang reportedly waited three hours for her once to attend an event together.
The eyelid procedure, which cost her NT$15,000 (S$640), has reduced the make-up hassle by an hour.
Hsiao will be in town for her upcoming WOW World Tour concert to be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sept 4.
She will also hold a ticket signing session at Jurong Point 1 centrestage on Sept 2 at 9pm.
Hsiao hogged headlines recently when her fans got into a verbal war with the supporters of Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai.
Tsai was reportedly accused by netizens of copying Hsiao in her new music video.
In it, Tsai was dressed as a plastic doll and placed in a box.
Hsiao had adopted a similar idea in a music video released last year.
The accusation riled Tsai’s fans and both camps began a war of words.
Regarding the issue, Hsiao said: “I only hope that everyone can put themselves in others’ shoes.
“If you like a particular singer, you don’t want other people to hurt her. If we treasure the people we like, we should learn to empathise with other people. They also want to protect the singer they like.
“It’s friendly competition (between singers) and we encourage each other. So we don’t need verbal attacks to hurt the other party. We don’t wish to see it happen.”
One Tsai fan was even reported in the Chinese media to have written a threatening post – “I’ll only be happy if Elva Hsiao dies” – on an online forum.
She said: “We all hope to pass on the right notions to everyone. Let’s not bother about comments like that because it may affect many young fans.
“They may mistakenly think they should say things like that to show they are formidable.”
Hsiao added that she tries not to be emotionally affected by bad press.
She’s also oblivious to rumours.
“It’s entertainment. If you are happy reading it and it isn’t too serious, it’s still all right,” she said.
What bothers her are personal attacks and untruths.
When that happens, she said she copes by talking to some close friends. Hsiao, who came from a single parent family, was very close to her mother.
In an interview with the mainland Chinese media early this month, she reportedly said she felt like an orphan after her mother’s death.
She has moved on and reportedly added that she now talks to her younger brother on the happier days spent with their mother.
She hopes to honour her mother through her showbiz success.
But she said she wouldn’t be dedicating a song to her mother at her concert here.
“Concerts are meant to entertain the audience. I hope everyone can forget their sorrows temporarily and go ‘wow’ with me at my concert,” she said.
Hsiao promised that her concert will thrill – both visually and aurally.
“There will be eight dance hits to kick off the concert. I believe the costume changes and the dance moves will wow the audience.”
The special guests at her gig have not been determined.
She is also preparing for her new album – due for release in late September – but she will not perform any songs from it.
This article was first published in The New Paper.