Always unpredictable and full of life, the irreverent Bai Ling dishes on what its like to defy the largest government in the world, travel around the world in 42 hours to sing off key in front of millions of viewers, and wrap up shooting for five feature films. Her secret: to challenge your fears, be brave, treat everyday like it's a new birth, and most importantly be true to yourself.
I feel like I want to be making love and experiencing an orgasm. I feel like “I Want to Touch Myself”
ASIANCE: What are you working on these days?
Bai: I just finished shooting for VH1 this Sunday, I was so exhausted because I just got back from China and before that I was in Stockholm in a 42 hour time period. For the last two episodes I only had two days to learn two songs each time and I am from China and I never heard these songs in my life. It’s a joke. It’s like bringing you to China and giving you two days to learn a Chinese song you’ve never heard before in your life. In two days you have to compete with people from this country in front of millions of people. It’s not enough time physically to remember all of those lyrics and those melodies.
ASIANCE: What was your favorite song?
Bai: I like all of them because I’ve never heard any of them before in my life, which is great and now I know all of them. My favorite was “I Want to be Sedated”. In that performance everything came along and I enjoyed it because I think literally sometimes in my life I want to be sedated. They choose the song and I design the outfit. It comes from my head. I tell them what I want. Luckily I don’t know any of the songs. They choose all of these idol songs that everyone knows and I just attack them without knowing anything. I come up with these sexy, modern, stylish outfits that come from my head from one of the sexy little spirits. I just had a blast doing what I wanted to do. I don’t have any objectives in my mind.
ASIANCE: Who is your favorite recording artist?
Bai: I really like U2 and I like Bryan Adams. I have one of his songs “Everything I do, I do it for you” on my list but they never chose it for me. “Like A Virgin” was the hardest song for me, and I didn’t feel Madonna’s song. That was my first song and I didn’t see Madonna’s video. But I thought in China, when you’re a virgin you wear red and that’s how I came up with my outfit. I didn’t know anything and it’s funny because with my last song, “I Touch Myself”,
I felt like I went from being a virgin to touching myself – it’s a long way to go on a show. I’m like the wild card on the show. You never know what you’re going to get. I’m the color. Without me the show would be boring.
ASIANCE: Would you sing one of Nick Carter’s songs?
Bai: Of course I would, but they didn’t choose it for me. Its funny, I got emails from all over the world saying “Congratulations,’ and I said for what, I didn’t know. I said thank you for letting me know that I’m getting engaged.
ASIANCE: What was the hardest role you had to play this year?
Bai: I think learning these songs, because it’s a new profession for me. It’s always a different melody. I only get 2 days to learn and it’s not enough time. Most of the time I’m travelling internationally and I want to do well. I realize in human society there is a time limit but in nature there is no time limit, which is unfortunate. If I took a year to learn “Like a Virgin,” I’d be a pro. I’m grateful that I don’t really know the lyrics because the songs are so high pitched they don’t fit my voice. They also raise the pitch three bars higher 10 seconds before the show. If you want me to be funny, tell me and I’ll make fun of myself. If they wanted me to sing beautifully it would be boring. I think they want me to make mistakes. It’s not a show about singing, it’s about entertainment, so I’m glad I served a purpose to make fun of myself. I feel like I really “made it through the wilderness… ” I really did make it through and I’m grateful. I performed in front of an audience and a band. I can’t believe how easily it came to me. I want to do a musical.
ASIANCE: What is your next film?
Bai: The first one is “Edmon” with William H. Macy. I play an exotic dancer. I have to thank Playboy magazine, which made it much easier to dance very sexily. I also shot very sexy pictures in London for FHM. I always feel like there’s a naturally sensual role. I feel very connected. If you can be brave, you have to be comfortable and be free. I think it’s beautiful.
ASIANCE: What’s going in your mind when you’re shooting?
Bai: I feel like I want to be making love and experiencing an orgasm. I feel like “I Want to Touch Myself”. I told them I want to sing a love song and they gave me this song. That’s literally porno. I told them if I have to sing this I have to touch myself then.
ASIANCE: Is there a particular guy you’re thinking of when you’re singing this song?
Bai: Of course there is! You can only imagine, because I can’t tell you! I’m specifically singing it for that guy.
ASIANCE: Has your style of dressing changed from doing this show?
Bai: No I’m always like that. I feel like in a previous life, I was a wild animal. In nature you don’t have any clothes on. I feel like clothing is just a decoration. I just dress the way I like. If you’re young and beautiful it’s natural to show your body, why hide? I just hope that people start to feel more positive about other people’s bodies. After all we’re sculpted from God. Society has rules and morals but I think most of the time, it comes from a dirty mind. I feel comfortable about who I am and I feel proud. I think our bodies are perfect in their own way. There’s nothing wrong. Don’t ever be envious of others. For each person their body is perfect and the most beautiful. If people see the confidence and energy from within, you become sexy and beautiful. I just feel like people think I’m crazy and sexy but I am just free.
ASIANCE: How do you stay so slim?
Bai: I eat a lot of desserts, sometimes twice a day. And I drink a little now and I dance crazy. If you feel young and beautiful, it affects everything… how you eat, how you look, how you dress, how you digest. Our own bodies are like our own individual universe and our inner beauty is so important. Every day isn’t a day you get older but a birth of a brand new day and your mind behaves that way and the beauty of youth shines through you.
ASIANCE: What will you be doing after this show?
Bai: After the VH1 show, I’ve had a lot of people approach me to do my own show. All I wanted was for Hollywood and all the directors and producers to accept me as they would any other white woman. Because I think I’m still like a foreigner here. I just want to
continue to challenge myself. I think of myself as like a role model. I offended my government and I make fun of myself. If I’m the first person to do these things, I feel like I am living my own reality show and people can learn from me and watch someone fail or succeed so they will not fail or stumble as much. That’s something I can do to serve as an artist to show other people on TV. Television is powerful. What’s funny is that I don’t even have a TV. I have to go to my friend’s place to watch VH1 because I don’t have cable. Every where I go people recognize me. I go out and people say “Call me,” I say “Call you, I don’t even know you.”
I’m excited about the singing and the unknown. You’re full of hope and it’s like being a baby. If I’m afraid of something, eventually I find myself there. Your own fear is the only obstacle in front of you. In the beginning when Star Wars cut me out I was so embarrassed but I learned to accept it. It’s a part of life. It’s fine. You learn something and you just accept that in certain situations sometimes it’s for the better.
Right now I’ve been offered three films that begin shooting next year. I’m going to France to present “Dumplings” and I’m doing some publicity for my movies and I may be working on my own reality TV show. My eight little spirits will be a part of the show because I feel like I have all sides. A very serious side that reflects about life, a crazy spirit that likes nightlife, a charity side, and a cultural side, and a side that just likes to do nothing, and one that enjoys a love life.
I challenge my fears. I’m so honest and so sensitive. I’m a little afraid about doing a reality TV show. You can’t hide anything and all your emotions show. I think you can only be beautiful if you accept who you are and be true to how you are and behave the way you’re supposed to. We’re all different in the world and I will show the truth of who I am. Like when I sang “Like A Virgin,” I sang completely off tune because I couldn’t hear the music. What can you do?
ASIANCE: What films have you been working on?
Bai: I will be in David Mamet’s “Edmond ” where I play an exotic dancer. In “Man About Town” with Ben Affleck, I play a journalist. I have the lead in “The Gene Generation,” a sci fi thriller like “The Matrix.” I just finished “Southland Tales” where I’m like Greta Garbo, very sexy, very gorgeous with a director that’s like a young Quentin Tarantino. Then I did “Living and Dying,” a version of a love story. I have 5 movies coming out that I just finished a month ago. They are all different and very different than being crazy on stage. All the different spirits are coming out. I’m really appreciative that I’m a foreigner in America and being on stage. If you follow your heart, you’ll find your talents and what you’re supposed to be doing in life. You have to be brave though.