Only three words were needed to describe the state of Hollywood: A vanity fair.
Calculating a celebrity’s success was also easy: Were they famous? Were they profitable? The two always came hand in hand with each other.
Every year, all major film festivals would produce a Best Actor and a Best Actress. It was easy to guess how many people would be awarded those titles every year. There were plenty of good actors and actresses in the world, but it was rare to find someone who was both charming onscreen and off-screen.
If a Best Actor or a Best Actress were to leave the type of film and role they were comfortable with, most would find that the quality of their acting would drop compared to before. Another scenario would be if they were hindered by faulty judgement and chose to act in a series of mediocre films, only to turn around and find that their career was slowly going downhill. Many actors who’d won prestigious awards would often find themselves making do with roles in low-budget films, or playing a supporting role to a newcomer.
Tang Feng had good acting skills and he was charming as well, but he lacked the qualifications to pick his own roles and the social connections to strike it out in Hollywood.
One couldn’t act aloof in Hollywood. Fortunately, Tang Feng didn’t think it was a bad thing to have a wide circle of friends. True, there were lowlifes in the industry, but there were even more talented people. In Hollywood, one could meet world-renowned directors, editors of large magazines, outstanding photographers, and brilliant investors.
Hollywood was a gathering of successful and talented people. An unexpected reward could come out of a simple chat with just one of them.
For someone to be successful, they definitely had a personal strength to support them.
At the moment, beside acting in Satan’s Alley and practicing martial arts, Tang Feng also took the time to participate in social events in order to make connections. There wasn’t any need to deliberately curry favor with someone, just simply enjoying the food, the wine, and the delightful conversations between friends was enough. There weren’t any fools here; it was easy to tell when someone was being insincere.
From the experience of his past life, Tang Feng knew that it was enough to stay true to oneself.
Charles’ business partner was holding a private party tonight. Besides the usual businessmen, many celebrities and models had been invited as well.
In other words, one could find all sorts of people at the party, from talented individuals to people who were seeking their own personal gain.
As the party organizer was someone he knew, Charles had asked for another invitation card. Under Charles’ persuasion, Tang Feng was going to attend as well.
As Fiennes, he had plenty of friends in Hollywood. He’d welcomed anyone who sought friendship with him, but there were few he was especially close to. Most of his truly good friends were from outside the entertainment circle, with most being doctors.
Tang Feng had no plans of contacting the people he once knew. The majority of his old friends would probably think of him as a smalltime celebrity who was desperate for fame. No one would take him seriously. Moreover, he didn’t want to be sent to the psychiatric ward.
Despite that, he couldn’t live just going to and fro from the filming location and his apartment. One had to interact with others in order to meet new people.
The theme of the party tonight was “Forest.” Most of the invitees were wearing clothes made from natural, coarse materials. For accessories, most chose to decorate with fruit, leaves, and flowers.
Charles and Tang Feng were both wearing suits made from hemp. In order to fit the theme of the party, they had chosen colors that represent the forest. Their black suit jackets and pants represented the ground, while their dark green ties represented leaves. For cufflinks, they’d used a cute pair of crystal, brown fruits. The entrance to the party had also been especially decorated. Tang Feng and Charles had entered under an arch made of leaves, flowers, and branches. The waiters standing beside the arch were also dressed like dwarfs from a fairytale. They were responsible for checking invitations and welcoming the guests.
The lighting inside was dark. A series of dishes meticulously arranged to look like fruits and flowers were displayed on a row of hardwood tables decorated with red fruits and dark, brown branches. A few crystal trees stood in pots nearby, their branches laden down with crystals. It was clear that the organizer had spent quite a lot of money on the party.
“What do you think?” Charles walked around the party with Tang Feng, chatting and exchanging business cards with the people they came across.
It was an interesting party. People milled about the venue, making conversations and connections. A few partygoers were hitting up the female models lounging around. They soon disappeared in pairs, only to reemerge half an hour later.
Good music, good wine, and beautiful women.
“The party is great.” Tang Feng smiled. He didn’t go out to party often, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know to socialize with others. At the moment, everything was going well.
“Hey, Charles!” A middle-aged man who had his arm around a model walked over.
“I’m going to walk around by myself for a bit.” The purpose of socializing was to make friends, but not every person was worth his friendship. Tang Feng was familiar with the man who’d called out to Charles just now. He’d seen the man’s face on magazines before; he’d been involved in several scandals with female celebrities. The man definitely didn’t lead a healthy lifestyle. Tang Feng didn’t see him in a good light.
Charles didn’t force the actor to stay. He merely reminded, “Be careful. Don’t walk too far away. I’ll come look for you soon.”
Tang Feng walked over to the buffet tables and ate a few morsels of food. He then picked up a glass of cocktail from a passing waiter and took a walk around the party guests. As he was a no-name celebrity in Hollywood at the moment, his expensive suit had been provided by Charles. His striking appearance soon drew the eyes of several people and a few came over to flirt. The female celebrities and models who had gathered around him thought of him as an Asian millionaire, and quickly conveyed their interest in him.
Tang Feng was somewhat peeved when a few of the girls mistook him for Japanese. When one of them greeted him in Japanese, he replied in Chinese instead. Shock decorated the girl’s face when she exclaimed, “Chinese!”
Rather than discouraging the girls from hanging around him, Tang Feng readily started chatting about the current state of Hollywood with them. He spoke about the changing times and how actors didn’t rule the industry anymore. The rise of brilliant directors and powerful businessmen had gradually pushed actors down from the top of the pyramid. They then switched to talking about fashion. Tang Feng mentioned how a model’s success depended on the favor of designers and other famous people as well as one’s own personal appearance. The girls couldn’t help but admit, trends were often made popular by boasting rather than the power of the actual design.
“Then according to you, all we have to do is latch onto a designer or a wealthy fellow?” The models surrounding Tang Feng were amused by his words and laughed often at his jokes.
“It would be great if you could bring inspiration to the designers you come across. If you can inspire a designer, then it would mean something special when he offers you the chance to walk in his show or to be on the front cover of a magazine. Inspiring people is a trick that works anywhere,” Tang Feng replied with a smile.
After learning that Tang Feng was Chinese, the extroverted girls kept on asking him about things having to do with China, like martial arts and Chinese cuisine. Tang Feng immediately pulled up everything on martial arts he’d heard from Lu Tian Chen and showed off a few moves. The girls stared at him with wide-eyed surprise.
Afterwards, a few of them hinted that they were interested in getting a drink or a cup of coffee with him, but Tang Feng politely declined all their offers. For the ones who were especially persistent, he directly tossed out his trump card and said, “I have a boyfriend.”
The girls looked at him in understanding and replied, “Wow, that’s so cool. We understand.” However, that didn’t prevent them from asking Tang Feng details about his boyfriend. Faced with the numerous questions, Tang Feng couldn’t help but use “having to use the restroom” as an excuse to escape.
Staring at his reflection in the mirror, Tang Feng fixed a few stray strands of hair. He’d stayed long enough inside the restroom; it was about time for him to leave.
“I saw you earlier. You seem popular with women.” A forty-year-old man with a protruding belly walked to the sink next to Tang Feng and washed his hands.
The man chuckled. “True, it isn’t. Can I ask you a question?”
“You’re Chinese, right?”
“Thank god. I’ve finally found someone who didn’t mistake me for Japanese,” Tang Feng said jokingly.
The man laughed again. “It’s pretty rare coming across a Chinese man with a good sense of humor like you. I mean, most of your countrymen seem like the serious kind. Luckily, I’ve met a few Japanese people before. You’re different from them.”
Of course there is a difference. Tang Feng smiled in response.
“Can I ask you another question?” The man seemed greatly curious in Tang Feng.
“I can’t reject anything you ask while we are in the restroom. So please, ask away.”
“Haha, you’re an amusing fellow. What I want to ask is, how does a Chinese man interpret ‘beliefs’ and ‘hero?’” The man leaned against the sink.
Fortunately, Tang Feng was familiar with Chinese culture. He pondered for a moment, and said, “For most people who only seek after food, clothes, and a roof over their heads, belief would mean leading a good life. It’s more realistic and important than any luxury in the world. Personally however, I think belief should be love.”
“And not believing in a hero or some other type of leader?”
“Believing in others means you’re willing to show them your weak side. On the other hand, believing in God can lead to fanaticism, while believing in oneself is sometimes ill-advised. I know that most people in America would choose to believe in oneself and emphasize the ego. However, that often leads to arrogance. I think that the majority of humans have this shortcoming. We inflate our own egos all too easily.”
“A good interpretation. My name is Robert,” the man replied with a smile.
Tang Feng reached out his hand. “Tang Feng.”
Did this count as a coincidence? He was surprised to come across the chief advisor to one of America’s top entertainment companies in the restroom of a party.
Robert wasn’t familiar with the current Tang Feng, but Fiennes had collaborated many times with him in the past.