Upon hearing “suicide,” this word, the hand that Ning Xi used to scroll Weibo began to tremble slightly. She looked up and could only see the back of Zhang Qingyun’s head. “Are you referring to the female artist that married the second young master of the Jiang family?”
“It seems like the news was pretty big. Even you who went overseas heard of it.” However, that person was no longer called the Jiang second young master. In the business world, everyone calls him Jiang second master.” Zhang Qingyun touched his crew cut hair and bitterly laughed, saying, “Don’t learn from her.”
Ning Xi slowly shook her head, “Seven years ago when this female artist committed suicide, I was still in the country. The time I went abroad was two months after this news.”
“Ever since then, I have never heard anyone else mention her. Even after becoming a manager, I did not take charge of any female artists either.” Zhang Qingyun turned his head to look at Ning Xi, “You are the first female artiste that I’ve taken. Back then, the moment I laid my eyes on you when we were overseas, I felt that you two were alike. But I hope that you would walk further than her, and that your ending would be better too.”
Ning Xi stared at him in a daze, only averting her eyes a while later, “I am similar to her?”
Zhang Qingyun smiled and he shook his head, “Only when I first saw you. But after interacting with you, I realized you are different from her.” He shifted his eyes to look at the tree on the pedestrian walkway, “You have a strength that she doesn’t.”
The car started up once more. Ning Xi’s hand was still scrolling on her screen but her attention was no longer on it.
How could there be so many coincidences in the world, and where could there be such resemblance? Some coincidences and resemblances were man-made, created purely in imagination. She was never similar to that female artist. The resemblance that Zhang Qingyun thought he recognized was something she had purposefully acted out.
The Zhang Qingyun of ten years ago was a small assistant to a certain Film Queen, honest and diligent, and even….held a different kind of emotion towards this Film Queen.
Later, this Film Queen had married into wealth, became Jiang family’s second mistress, and in the end, not too long after, committed suicide by downing sleeping pills.
Yet her husband, under the pressure of public opinion, used alcohol to vent his anger, racing in the deep night after drinking…
Ning Xi held tightly to her phone, slowly suppressing her emotions and smiling, “Brother Zhang, don’t worry. I will not disappoint you.”
Very soon, they reached the television station. The staff were very friendly towards Ning Xi and the host, Old Xu, even approached her on his own accord to discuss the proceedings of the program when she was putting on her makeup. He was full of sincerity.
One could not blame Old Xu for being so excited, because the viewership of this program had been continually dropping. The cancellation of the program was already being discussed within the station. The team wanted to invite a popular artist to be a guest, to raise the viewership and avoid the program being taken off air.
However, the current variety programs were akin to a school of silver carps moving down a stream, the competition was extremely fierce. As a popular artiste, one would naturally think and look for ways to enter a hot program, why would any of them come on one of such of low viewership?
Ning Xi did not have enough influence in the entertainment circle yet. But luckily she was a hot topic right now. She had a large wave of ‘face’ fans and her willingness to appear in their program was undoubtedly a huge help.
After interacting closely with Ning Xi, Old Xu discovered that the young actress was very humble, courteous and cordial. She didn’t act self-important just because their program wasn’t famous. She was extremely serious when listening to his explanation of the flow of the program.
Once the recording began, Ning Xi was also very cooperative with the director’s commands. When the topic of campus violence was brought up, Ning Xi did not just say a few words, but cited many examples of school violence and the harm that it brought upon the victims.
Old Xu did not expect that Ning Xi would prepare so much for the program and thus was even more partial to her. “Based on your words, you must have done much preparation before coming on to this program.”
“To be honest, it wasn’t that much. It’s just that I usually pay close attention to this issue.” Ning Xi paused at the camera and seemed to be looking for the right words to say. “Children are the hope of our future. No one wants them to be hurt and nor do they want them to hurt others. Aside from the care of the parents and the school, I would also like to ask for all children to say ‘No’ to campus violence. When you notice that some students are being bullied by others, I hope that someone can secretly inform the teacher or parents. By doing so, you will not become the next target of bullying and you can also help protect others. Perhaps all you did was to say a word, but to those who were helped by you, you may have saved their life.”
She took out a stack of photos from a bag and all them had mosaics over the victims’ faces. Ning Xi had the cameraman point at the photos. “These people were victims of school violence in recent years. Some of them ended up with autism, social phobia, and some were even disfigured and physically disabled due to bullying…..”
The photos were shocking and the audience present at the scene all fell silent.
Ning Xi put down the photos and smiled wryly at the camera, “These victims are only a small portion of countless acts of campus violence and some have even lost their lives, so…..” She stood up and stared at the camera. “I implore everyone to pay serious attention to this issue, don’t let such tragedies repeat again.”
The scene was silent for a moment, then applause sounded.
When Ning Xi sat down, the rims of her eyes were red. If it wasn’t because of the cameraman shot a close-up shot of her, no one would have noticed.
Once the recording had ended, Old Xu took the initiative to take a photo with Ning Xi. He said, “I wonder if Ms. Ning has time nowadays?”
Though Ning Xi could not fathom the reason behind his question, she remained truthful and informed him of her recent ongoing filming for a television drama.
“I have a friend working at the national television station and recently, he has been preparing to shoot a commercial opposing campus violence. However, he wasn’t able to find a suitable actress for an important female character. If Ms. Ning is free, I would like to ask on behalf of this friend for help.” Old Xu chuckled lightly as he passed Ning Xi a business card.
On the surface, his words seemed to be asking Ning Xi for help. But in fact, to be able to film a commercial for the national television station was an extremely hard to come by opportunity.
Ning Xi took the business card from Old Xu with two hands, “Thank you, Teacher Xu. Really grateful to you.”
“Not at all, not at all.” Old Xu laughed, “I’m only trying to help a friend.”
What a rare occurrence it was to meet a youth who was amiable, not fickle and even cared so much for the public good. If he could help, he would do so. In all these years, he had been working persistently on this program; wasn’t it to help bring attention to society’s issues?
After leaving the television station, Zhang Qingyun looked at Ning Xi with a face full of sorrow, “You must be Heaven’s biological daughter.”
Ning Xi cheerfully kept the business card and wagged her head towards Zhang Qingyun, “This kind of matter is something that one is not normally able to obtain just by being envious.”
Zhang Qingyun scoffed yet he did not refute her. Just now when he was sitting in the audience, he could tell that Ning Xi was truly concerned about this issue.
Before going to the television station, perhaps what she went to retrieve were not her skin care products, but the pictures of victims who had suffered from bullying.
Some times, no matter how vivid and expressive one’s words were, it could not be compared to the direct visual and emotional impact of a picture. Ning Xi probably understood this point as well and hence intentionally brought them out.
He wanted to ask Ning Xi when she had started to take note of such issues, but looking at her beaming appearance, he no longer had the desire.
“Have you prepared what you’re wearing for the Chang Corporation party?” He chose a safe question to ask.
Ning Xi stopped. She briefly touched her nose, “Can I wear something that I have worn before?”
“What do you think?”
Ning Xi: She still cared deeply for her public image.