Eleanor Lee, the face of Apple’s new commercial in China

Quan Yi Fong's beloved teenage daughter Eleanor Lee is now a “CF star”


She may only be a teenager, but Eleanor Lee, daughter of Quan Yi Fong, bought her mother an Hermès bag last Christmas using the paycheck she received from starring in Apple’s (yes, the iPhone maker) latest commercial in China. Called “An Old Record”, the commercial was released on their website yesterday, two weeks ahead of the Lunar New Year festive season.

The sweet and thoughtful commercial tells of a music lover who uses her MacBook Air and its music software Garageband to create a unique Lunar New Year gift for her grandmother.


Award-winning Taiwanese film director Ann Hui, renowned Hong Kong photographer Christopher Doyle and Hong Kong’s top-notch art director William Chang formed the strong crew behind this touching commercial.

In an interview with xinmsn yesterday, Yi Fong revealed that Eleanor (now nicknamed “Apple girl”) almost missed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it was all thanks to the efforts of Eleanor’s godfather Addy Lee that they successfully secured the role in this commercial.

She explained that producers of several Chinese television stations like Hunan TV had chanced upon the photos of Eleanor that Addy posted on his personal website and even invited her to join in their productions. Late last year, Addy’s close friend also informed him that Apple was holding an audition in China to cast a new female lead for their upcoming commercial.

Eleanor’s management company also received an invitation for the audition but only saw it on the last registration day, almost causing her to miss the golden opportunity.

“On the last day of registration, we quickly sent in a photo of a bare faced Eleanor. Soon after, Addy told me that an advertising company had informed him that Eleanor would be filming an advertisement directed by Ann Hui,” Yi Fong recounted as she spoke about her amusement, “Initially, I couldn’t believe his words and I asked his to stop his jokes.” 



Scouted for her good looks and praised for her natural acting

In his interview with xinmsn, Addy also shared that Eleanor faced stiff competition when auditioning for the role. However, she was favoured by the director for her ‘clean look’ and was chosen for the role immediately.

Eleanor flew to Shanghai alone and attended the audition and the filming of the commercial independently as Addy was away in Korea and Yi Fong was busy with work.

When asked if she was worried about her daughter’s solo trip in Shanghai, Yi Fong admitted, “At first, I was a little worried mainly because she does not have any filming experience.”

“We had a long discussion and knowing that there is great team overseeing the project, I felt that everything would be fine. Moreover, her management company also takes good care of her and Addy also took care of some issues [beforehand].”

Having gained some experience as the ambassador of Addy’s hair products, Eleanor proved her abilities and wrapped up the three-day commercial shoot with only a few bad takes.

The budding star admitted that she was a little stressed when she knew she would be working with a professional team on her first commercial. However, she was delighted to know that the crew was exceedingly friendly and even cried when she had to part ways with them.

“I’ve heard about directors being fierce and strict on set but director Ann is the complete opposite. Not only is she lively and cute, she also loves to joke with us and would hug me and smile at me whenever she sees me,” she recalled.

Eleanor shared that Ann also commended her good acting. “She said that it is good that I do not have much experience in acting as it would be more natural and suitable for the commercial,” she said.



A filial daughter and a rising star

When asked about her thoughts on receiving an Hermès bag from Eleanor, Quan Yi Fong could not contain her joy in the interview.

“When Addy and I met up with her, she briefly talked about buying the best bag in the world. I thought she was not serious but she really bought me an expensive bag the next day. Though Addy offered to pay for 10 percent of the price, she insisted on paying the whole sum herself. I am really touched by her generosity,” she shared.

While Yi Fong and Addy were previously said to be against Eleanor becoming a celebrity at a young age as they wanted her to focus on her studies, Yi Fong clarified that she would not object if Eleanor wishes to join the entertainment industry in the future.

This story is translated by Isadora Ong.

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