In the modern day, whoever had more fans was the boss. If you had no fans and no background, even if you were framed, you had no choice but to suffer in silence, unable to tell anyone how bitter it was.
Su Shen sent a message to Liu jie. She didn’t really care if people online hated on her for her bad acting. The worse the hate was, the more effective and inspirational it would be when she eventually proved them wrong.
Liu jie replied very quickly that she would tell PR* to pay attention and control the public opinion. If it was just hate on her bad acting they would leave it alone, but if anything else was involved, they would control the comments.
PR (public relations) – the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.
The company that Su Shen was signed under was one of the top three entertainment companies in the industry, Xing Hua Entertainment. She was signed because of her sister’s connections. Liu jie was an experienced, senior manager in the industry who also managed two popular singers, so her schedule was normally very full.
After some thought, Su Shen decided she still needed to properly thank Wang Cheng.
Su Shen: Thank you. I’ll treat you to dinner next time. Oh, and how did you know so much?
After a while, Wang Cheng replied with a long stream of emojis.
Wang Cheng: Fan Meng’s in the same company as me. I was on the phone with my manager just then and unintentionally heard him bring it up.
Wang Cheng: You don’t have to treat me. Just tell me, what exactly did you experience for your acting to improve so much in just a few months?
He then sent a crying emoji over. Su Shen finally understood his reason for wanting to talk to her. Other than Wang Cheng, there were three very popular young actors with roughly the same image and career path. The four of them were called the mainland’s big four idols. Wang Cheng didn’t really have anything that would put him ahead of the competition and the mainstream film industry was difficult to enter. If he wanted to change his image, he needed to rely on acting skills.
Su Shen: There’s really no secret way. You just have to try and understand your character. The Director says I act over the top a lot, I still have a lot of room to improve [sobbing]
Wang Cheng: Impossible. Look at how you acted before, it was worse than me! Compared to now, it’s like you suddenly flew right up to the sky!
Wang Cheng: Do you just not wanna tell me the secret way [kitchen knife]
Su Shen didn’t know what to say. What secret way did she have?
Su Shen: Maybe you can go find an acting teacher and take some lessons. I’m going to do that soon.
Previously, she had thought that she didn’t need to learn, but then she found out that acting as someone else was completely different to acting as yourself. Perhaps, taking some time to learn would inspire her.
Wang Cheng: Okay [sighs]
Wang Cheng was really talkative and had a high EQ. If Su Shen wasn’t too tired to keep talking, he’d still be chatting about anything and everything.
The next morning, the public opinion on the incident online changed again. First, Xie Yan’s studio posted a statement to refute the rumour. This calmed down the restless fans. Then, a huge crowd of people started ridiculing her acting and comparing short videos or gifs of her to Fan Meng. They basically all said that she was nothing compared to Fan Meng.
Su Shen didn’t pay it any attention. Instead, she changed into a simple white t-shirt and a pair of jeans. She went to a toy store and bought a small toy airplane, then caught a taxi to her sister’s house.
Her Brother-In-Law had earned quite a lot of money in recent years and owned a small mansion in the Capital. However, it was a fair distance from the filming site and the traffic on Sundays was terrible so it took her three hours to arrive outside the mansion.
She pressed the doorbell and had to wait a while before someone opened the door. A small boy wearing a checkered patterned suit walked out.
“Xi Xi’s gotten chubbier. What tasty food has your Mum made for you today?” Su Shen laughed as she squatted down and lifted him up.
The boy hugged her neck and laughed as he took off her sunglasses. “Mum’s made a lot of tasty food. She said we had to wait for Auntie to come and all eat together. I’m starving!”
Su Shen carried him into the living room and saw a lot of people gathered there. Most of them were her relatives, her Mum was there as well.
“This beautiful girl, if you had arrived a bit later we would have started eating without you.” Su Ruan laughed as she carried a plate of food out from the kitchen. Then she took her child from Su Shen and slapped him on the bum, “You let Auntie carry you even though you’re so heavy? Are you not embarrassed?”
“I like having Auntie carry me. Auntie smells much better than Mum.” Xi Xi pouted and tried to get his Mum to put him down.
“This kid, you can already tell he’ll be a womaniser when he grows up. Already knows how to differentiate smells at his age, what will he be like later?” Mother Su walked over, dressed in a blue qi pao* with a shawl draped over her shoulders.
qi pao is a traditional Chinese dress which was worn during the Qing dynasty
In response, Su Ruan lifted the child and pretended she was going to put him on the couch and punish him.
“Mum.” Su Shen smiled sweetly, walked over and linked arms with Mother Su.
However, Mother Su didn’t seem to be happy. She checked the other people in the living room, saw that they were all involved in their own conversations, and then reached out to tap Su Shen on the forehead. “What’s the deal with what’s going on online right now? Those people are saying some terrible things. I told you not to enter the entertainment industry but you just had to do it. You aren’t suited for it, what do you think you can achieve?”
Mother Su was upset. Her own daughter that she spent so much time and effort to bring up, who she hardly ever raised her voice at or scolded, was insulted and ridiculed so badly online. How could her heart not hurt?
Su Shen wanted to say something but then Su Ruan walked over and patted her on the shoulder. Su Ruan laughed and said, “Mum, Su Shen has great conditions and qualities. She just needs to work on her acting and she will move up the ladder.”
Then she seemed to think of something and she turned to Su Shen with a serious expression: “Our company is collaborating with Jiang He TV to make an exclusive series. They want Mu Yao to act in it but it’s not certain yet. I’ll tell a staff to negotiate with them and try to get you a chance to audition.”
Jiang He TV was one of the most well-known channels in the country. Combined with the fact that it was an exclusive series, it would definitely be broadcasted during the golden time. Su Shen had only been involved in web dramas before, if she wanted to enter the mainstream entertainment industry she needed to participate in a TV broadcasting production.
“Right now, I’m not popular enough or widely known enough, let’s forget it.” Su Shen thought the chance of her getting the role was too small.
“Who said that?” Su Ruan frowned and stared at her with arms crossed. “If you try to improve and get popular slowly step by step, it would take years and years. You might be thirty something before you even succeed. You need to get famous as soon as possible. If this resource doesn’t go to you, it’ll go to someone else. You’re my little sister, who else would I give it to? Okay, it’s decided, I’ll go talk to them and I’ll update your manager on the situation later.”
Then, Su Ruan patted her and Mother Su on their shoulders. “Okay, okay, let’s all go eat.”
Su Shen didn’t have anything else to say in response. She walked to the dining table with her Mum.
It was mostly her Brother-In-Law’s relatives here for today’s dinner. Her Dad wasn’t present because he was too busy with work.
After eating, Su Ruan insisted on having Su Shen stay for the night. Since her scenes for tomorrow weren’t until the afternoon, Su Shen agreed, but their Mum left.
Su Ruan was the model of a strong, independent, successful woman. She used to be a top executive in one of the Fortune Global 500 companies. Then she resigned without hesitation to start a video broadcasting platform with her husband. They had done well in recent years but still lacked some time to become one of the top broadcasting platforms.
Su Ruan asked her if she wanted to use money to deal with the rumours and hate online and get her bad acting to stop trending on Weibo. Su Shen replied that she didn’t really mind because it would only make her seem more inspirational and admirable later on.
Su Shen spent the rest of the day playing with her nephew. The next day, Su Ruan and the rest all went to work so only her, Xi Xi and the nanny were left in the house. On a whim, Su Shen decided to cook for the kid herself, and bake some pastries as well, to take to the film set and share with Xiao Zhou and Tong Le.
“Miss Su, your cooking is as good as the chefs in five-star hotels.” The nanny sat at the table and ate with them. She especially loved the pastries, she had never tasted such delicious pastries before.
In her past life, Su Shen had put a lot of effort into the culinary arts to get on her grandmother’s* good side. In this new world, there were many more condiments available, so the taste of her cooking naturally improved even more.
Grandmother in this case is referring to the paternal side.
“Yeah! I’ve never eaten such tasty food. It’s a thousand times, no, ten thousand times better than Mummy’s cooking!” The child’s mouth was covered in oil as he gestured wildly with both hands.
Su Shen laughed as she pulled out a tissue and wiped his mouth. This child was so cute.
It was getting late, so Su Shen took a box of pastries and rushed to head towards the film site.
Luckily, there was no traffic jam. When she arrived at the film site, she saw teams of paparazzi on alert outside, eager for action.
Su Shen walked in to see Li Hao practicing with Fan Meng. Before she could walk into her dressing room, Tong Le walked out of it in a short yellow dress, holding a handbag.
“Su Shen you’re here! I was just leaving, you haven’t eaten yet?” Tong Le walked up and hooked Su Shen’s neck with her arm. She had seen the lunchbox in Su Shen’s hands.
In response, Su Shen just opened the lunchbox and calmly said, “I made some pork pastries, try one.”
“Okay!” Tong Le unceremoniously took a piece and bit it. She chewed a few times and her eyes lit up, “Oh my god, Su Shen, how is your cooking so good! I’ve never eaten such delicious pastries!”
As she spoke, she immediately reached out to take Su Shen’s lunchbox, “Give it to me, give it to me. Give it all to me!”
“No can do, I’m going to give some to Wang Cheng and the rest to try.” Su Shen put the lid back on the box and hid it behind her.
Wang Cheng had helped her. She had to at least return and reciprocate his kindness.
Tong Le thought it was a pity but compromised and stuck out two fingers, “Then, just give me two more pieces!”
Su Shen laughed and handed her two more pieces. Then,Tong Le left unwillingly.
Wang Cheng was nowhere to be found. Li Hao ate a piece and he also wanted to take the rest away. Su Shen didn’t let him, so Li Hao said she was too selfish and nimbly took two more pieces. In the end, the box only had three pieces left.
Su Shen decided to leave it for Xiao Zhou, so just as she was about to return to her dressing room to have her makeup done, she saw Zhao Tong striding towards her.
“Su Shen, Hao ge said that you had some really tasty food, is it this?” Zhao Tong stared at her box, curious. After all, for a manly man like Li Hao to compliment the food, it must be really good.
“Thanks, I’ll take it to Yan ge so he can try some!” Without another word, Zhao Tong took the box from her hands and left a hesitant Su Shen behind.
The royal family’s top-secret recipe, of course it tasted good.
In a large, clean dressing room, a middle-aged man in an impeccable suit paced back and forth. His short hair had a glossy shine from his pomade, but the frown lines on his forehead exposed his age.
“Da ge, I’m telling you, Director Lin’s production has waited three years for you. Now, you say you don’t want to act in it. What’d you want everyone to think?” The middle-aged man was anxious and fired up.
Da ge – big brother, also used to mean boss or someone who can order you around
The person still on his phone at the dressing table didn’t even lift his head: “I never said yes to him.”
In response, the man took a deep breath and then said in a good natured, gentle voice, “Yes, you didn’t agree to him initially. But you always used your schedule as an excuse and said you didn’t have time. It’s been three years, if you still don’t have time, it’s a bit unreasonable. Director Lin just won a Best Director award, do you want to offend him like this?”
“I don’t like lovey dovey scripts.” Xie Yan suddenly lifted his head, “I want to set up a Weibo account.”
Their eyes met and the man was made speechless with frustration. At that moment, Zhao Tong walked in, a pastry in his mouth. When Zhao Tong saw the man, he immediately obediently called him “Hua ge”.
He Hua coughed, but still looked seriously towards Xie Yan, who was still playing on his phone. “Didn’t you say things like Weibo were useless? Why do you suddenly want to set up an account?”
“Yan ge, these are pastries Su Shen made. They’re delicious!” Zhao Tong handed the box over to him, as if showing off a treasure.
Then, he seemed to remember something and took the box back. “There’s meat in this. I forgot you don’t eat meat.”
Xie Yan slowly looked up and placed his phone down on the table. He reached out and took the box from Zhao Tong, then tried a piece of pastry.
“Xie Yan, didn’t you say you don’t eat pork?” He Hua asked, rather astonished.
Xie Yan: “People cannot always remain unchanging, otherwise they will not be able to catch up to the changing times.”
He Hua: “…” So, what did that have to do with his question?
He Hua saw that Xie Yan really ate the pork pastry, so he reached out to take the last piece in the box.
Xie Yan closed the lid and glanced at him, “Mine.”
He Hua: “…”
“Why are you so stingy? And you just accepted what a woman gave you, aren’t you afraid of rumours spreading?!” He Hua wanted to scare him a little.
Xie Yan didn’t pay any attention to him. He thought the pastry tasted good as well. It completely overturned his previous opinion of meat and its taste.
He Hua could only huff in response. He turned to look at Zhao Tong, displeased. “Why don’t you have any common sense? You dare to take presents from any woman? Was yesterday’s lesson from Fan Meng not enough? And that what’s her name, Su Shen, you can tell she just wants to use Xie Yan for clout. Don’t let her near Xie Yan again, understood?”