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Feature Story

X marks the spot

Heartthrob, health buff and one of showbiz’s hot commodities, Xian Lim talks about finding the intersection where all his interests meet in his career.

By Annie Alejo

JUNE 2013

In a celebrity-obsessed culture like ours, it seems easy enough to fashion a semblance of a showbiz career for people blessed with the right looks and, perhaps more importantly, the guts to live such a public life. Yet, even the likeliest of people that make good showbiz celebrities—the tall and handsome mestizo, the pretty half-Filipina with legs for days, you know the type—sometimes come with their own back story. Stories of past emotional baggage are nothing new; in fact, some make for the perfect backdrop for a controversial existence in a business that thrives on intrigues.

Going for the next level

There’s no such controversy in the pre-showbiz life of Filipino-Chinese actor Xian Lim. It doesn’t mean, however, that he’s necessarily been blessed with a trouble-free existence. “I used to be a chubby kid. I used to be the kid na pinagtatawanan nila. Yeah, mga 11, 12, 13 years old. I used to be the fat kid in school,” he admits during the cover shoot.

“I don’t wanna be that,” Xian states, matter-of-factly, by way of having a goal—one of several, that is. “Mabilis [din] akong magkasakit before,” he also shares, pertaining to having asthma as a kid. “Parang konting ano lang, I would be sick; I would be confined na kaagad.” As such, he points out that now, even as his 24th birthday nears in July, he doesn’t drink or smoke.

Looking at Xian now—fit, tall and seemingly self-assured in front of the photographer’s camera—it’s a little hard to reconcile this young man with his introverted younger self. “I was always a shy kid. … Even now, I don’t consider myself [an extrovert],” he begins to explain, tentatively.

Vestiges of an unsure boy, maybe, but it just seems that Xian’s being very careful about what he says, especially in a closed interview setting. Despite that, during lighter moments in the shoot, he easily chats with people in the room, proceeds with outfit changes without complaint, and easily nails the shots.

Starting over

Changing his circumstance, Xian finds himself a long way from San Francisco, where he’s been raised. His initial goal upon returning to the Philippines was to play basketball for a college team. “I wanted to try out something different kasi from just the normal working student in the States,” he says.

“I went to school in U.E. then I wanted to play basketball for them but really it didn’t work out. It didn’t really go as planned kas i… so many things happened and I got into Star Magic,” he recounts.

In most cases, when one has had to deal with body image issues, finally getting to the ideal weight and shape is a real confidence booster, more so, eking out a successful budding career in show business. Xian, the picture of fitness these days, advises that in order to succeed at something, “You should have a goal. If you don’t have one, expect na nothing will happen.” He knows for a fact that having an objective and the desire to really reach it trumps any kind of mentality that dissuades one from the goal. 

It goes the same for fitness. As per Xian’s experience, “Ako, I picture something… I picture like … my target body.” Visualizing the end result helps him, he says. 

“’Di ba everyone has a target body, ’yun ’yung pine-peg nila sa sarili nila. So, ’yun ang pine-peg ko, like, ‘Someday I will have this body.’ You just have to have that goal in mind. Pero if you keep on, kunyari nagchi-cheat ka, then accept it na lang na—‘Oops, nag-cheat ako—I’ll just [make up for it].’” 


Public persona 

Prior to becoming an actor and sending hearts a-flutter with his love team partner Kim Chiu, Xian dabbled in modeling for some time. He seems to have it in him to be in the public eye. “I know how to … talk to people, but I’m just a shy person na it takes me a while before I warm up, parang ganun,” he relates, noting how people mistake his shyness for being snobbish. 

“I don’t really [bother too much kung ano ang] gusto ng tao sa akin eh. I don’t really pay attention to those things. I guess it’s more of what I show them—’yun na rin ’yun eh. I show them ‘me’ and then I guess it’s safe to say na, if I show them ’yung ‘ako,’ they learn to love kung sino ako, ‘di ba? I’m not gonna pretend I’m someone else,” he points out. 

Before making it big, though, Xian almost called it quits. “There was a point I was starting to lose hope. I guess for everyone, three years [is long], ‘di ba? But people are explaining to me na [for] some people it [took] longer. ‘Di ba may mga ganun naman eh, but syempre naman at the back of your head, you wanna move forward na, syempre ‘di ba?”

If things didn’t work out as he hoped, Plan B would have meant pursuing a degree in psychology. Fate, however, really did have other plans for him and success began to rear its lovely head. These days, he credits his exposure in show business for the experiences, noting, “Every day you spend, every moment you spend [working], you learn something new.”


Fixed on fitness

While getting used to being a public figure has helped Xian gain confidence, it must be said that how he looks right now plays a huge part in how he’s perceived by his adoring public. The kilig factor is never far behind, especially when he makes an appearance with Kim Chiu. Looking good is only part of the appeal, for sure, but it does help that Xian knows how to maintain his form.To keep himself fit, he notes, “I have a balanced meal … or, I try to balance it out. If I eat a lot, I’ll work out hard [as well] … I can’t go a week without [exercise] … as long as I have free time I’ll do my best to challenge myself to run, to sweat it out.”

A self-confessed fan of running, he nevertheless says he alternates it with hitting the gym as well. As for sports, he notes, “Basketball lang ako eh. I tried out some other sports but talagang hiyang ako sa basketball. ’Yun na talaga … Na-built in na sa ‘kin siguro ’yun.”

For tips on how to achieve Xian’s X factor, grab a copy of the June issue of HealthToday from drugstores and newsstands.

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