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Interview with Actress Huichi Chiu

Huichi Chiu is a Taiwanese actress based in Spain since the early 2000s, where she spent most of her career. Huichi Chiu graduated from the Kaohsiung Pedagogical University in 2000 with a degree in Fine Arts. From 2003 to 2005 she studied acting at a theater school in Madrid, where she specialized in particular on the theories of Jacques Lecoq. She made her first appearance in 2005 in the film Proverbio Chino, a short film by Javier San Román, for which she was nominated at the Goya Awards 2008. She acted in various Spanish feature film productions and also had various theater appearances. She has received various nominations and awards from International Festivals for her valuable acting interpretation.

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You moved to Spain to study flamenco and then you studied acting at a theater school in Madrid. What did motivate you to become an actress? Where your passion for acting come from?

I am a shy person and I have a tendency: where is the danger, there I go. I think the need to overcome my own fear and limitations motivated me to choose this profession.

Who influenced you as a person and as an actress? What do you enjoy the most about acting?

My grandmother. She was the kindest person in the world. Never thought about herself, always caring about everyone around her. Her generosity makes me a better person as well as an actress.

What were the biggest challenges at the beginning of your career? Did you face any unexpected moment?

Most of the time I act in Spanish. It’s my language on the stage. Although I’ve been practicing hundreds of times, there still a kind of stress involved. If I get lost, make a mistake, or go blank, I have to do whatever to get out that big, never ending black tunnel, but with an extra pressure. That brings me to the present time. And I love those unexpected moments when we are on the stage, for some inexplicable reason, we begin to laugh our heads off. As we can’t do that because it’s never be the right time to do so, it’s terribly hilarious.

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Huichi Chiu is one of the main characters in Season 3 of “Locked Up”, originally titled in Spanish as “Vis A Vis” in which she plays Akame, the leader of the Chinese gang in Cruz del Norte.

What limits of life did acting help you overcome and what did it help you strengthen? What is the biggest lesson you have learned from it?

My parents don’t want me to be an actress. They prefer their daughter to be a teacher, have a stable job and life. Now I can make ends meet doing what I like, that’s a miracle. Now we get a global pandemic, we can hardly see the end of it.

We can lose our job, our beloved. So, what does a stable life mean? Acting in fact helps me to be in the present, not only on the stage, but also in our life. We have to get though it no matter what happens. As we always say: the show must go on.

You are also very talented in contemporary dance and martial arts. How do you balance your time with these activities? Are they became a meaningful extension of your acting career?

I am sorry to say that I am not talented and actually I am quite clumsy. But this training keeps me prepared, being invigorated. It’s a very important discipline in the practice of martial arts. I can say in any kind of job. And as I have a Chinese look, they always want Asian people to kick somebody or do some Taichi, Kungfu before having a romance or family problem.

You were born in Taiwan, now you live and work in Spain. What are the main differences and opportunities of both countries?

I would like to be able to work in both countries, to share my experiences, to support something, and act in Chinese! To play not only stereotyped roles but enjoying telling stories. But I need to reconnect with society. I am completely new, an outsider for my own people. As I’ve been living and working in Madrid for many years, I am more familiar with the lifestyle, know my duties are and my rights as a citizen here. The main difference I can figure out is that Taiwan will always be my homeland sentimentally, but to be able to work as in Spain, I’ll have to start as a beginner in my own country…or try to have someone to rebuild me, make me more…I don’t know. It’s very important to promote oneself in Taiwan. Unfortunately, I am not good at it.

What do you feel before acting on theatre or before shooting on set?

I feel grateful to be there, trying to control my nerves, remembering my lines, and not to auto boycott myself. To be in the present and be aware of everything. It’s a proper time to practice mindfulness or Zen.

What is a character you played that has excited you the most? Is there one in which you felt more related and connected?

I can ́t tell you which was ‘the most’. I enjoyed every character even if it was a small part of the story. I can find one part of myself inside, and try to spread it out, to put it under a microscope. Acting is like making experiments in a laboratory. Maybe I could say when I played Lady Nijo and Win in the play ‘Top Girls’, written by Carol Churchill, for me it was quite challenging. Not only because of the special way to say that plenty of lines, but also the meaning and the fight being a woman in history. As we, the Asian people we have the idea of reincarnation, I felt like I was carrying the wishes of the woman for centuries, we were pronouncing these words for them. That was something almost sacred.

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Huichi Chiu was nominated for the short film Proverbio chino by Javier San Román at the Goya Awards in 2008.

Can you share with us any meaningful story from the backstage of the cinema set?

Once I was in a rape scene in a film. That was very tough because of many hours of shooting during the whole night long. We practiced a lot to make sure of the shooting angle, the choreography of those violent actions, we tried to maintain the high needed energy, doing lots of silly exercises before every take. After many hours of working, the whole team was exhausted. I was so tired that I felt like my soul was floating out of my body. When the director thought she had already got the right moment, she shouted ‘Cut’! I was out of the camera shot and I began to cry. At that moment, I knew that was the right moment, the true instant of a human being. Nobody saw that and I realized that sometimes, the most precious thing happens unexpectedly. And we have to know how to catch it.

Special thanks to Mar Rubio and Muchoartemanagement
Photo courtesy of Huichi-chiu and Muchoartemanagement

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