Model-turned-actress Fei Ren stars as Mei Mei on CBC's The Romeo Section (click through for more)
Credit: Brendan Meadows 

Model-turned-actress Fei Ren stars as Mei Mei on CBC's The Romeo Section (click through for more)

Fei Ren has been successfully building her TV credits over a short period of time with appearances in shows such as Supernatural, Lucifer and The Magicians. She now plays Mei Mei (which she describes as her dream role) on season 2 of The Romeo Section airing Wednesdays on CBC.

Born and raised in Zhengzhou, China, Fei came to Vancouver to study Psychology at UBC. She also had a stellar modeling career under Richard's International Model Management for nine years before realizing she was ready to pursue her passion for acting. And once she started, she never looked back.

BCLiving sat down with Fei Ren to talk about her acting experience, breaking stereotypes and some of her favourite things.


BCL: How did you realize you wanted to pursue acting?
FR: I had always been intrigued by the performing arts. When I was younger, I trained in traditional Chinese dance and ballet, and also did theatre throughout high school. But Chinese upbringing was always more about focusing on things such as science, and working towards getting a university degree, so I never had the thought to pursue anything else until I came to Vancouver. It became something I could explore because my parents were back home and couldn’t exactly control me.

So I got to do things that I like to do such as plays in university, and then I randomly got into modelling. I loved doing runway. I was always complimented on my presence, and I loved feeling the energy of the crowd.

And then one day, I told my modeling agent that I want to start acting, but English became a huge challenge. People said "Oh, you have an Asian accent, so it probably won’t work out." But then I thought to myself that... I'm only going to live once, so I might as well do what I want to do. I thought I would train for three months and be OK, but then the more I trained, the more I realized that it's really a craft and there’s so much technique involved... and so much self-development as well. So I started loving acting more and more and now I’m just obsessed with it. 

BCL: Did your family support your passion?
FR: I actually didn't even tell my parents at first. When I got very serious about it, I went to New York for further training. I was so excited to tell my father about all my experiences, and how I was doing Shakespeare, and he was like, "You’re wasting your time and money. You should get married and have babies right now. I don’t know what you are doing in New York, but you are such a failure and we've invested so much into your education."

I was obviously so hurt, but I told him that I had experienced enough to know that I wanted to do this for myself. I didn’t get into acting for money or fame, so whatever the outcome is I'm OK with it. But at least I can die without regrets knowing I tried my hardest. Now they are super supportive and proud of me. 

BCL: What are some of the biggest challenges you faced while acting?
FR: Acting is dealing with rejection. But thanks to modeling, I was already prepared to face that. It’s just part of the business, and you have to see every audition as a chance to perform. It’s also way more fun if you look at it that way.

Stereotypes are huge, too. Ethnic women always seem to play the accessory or the objectified woman. The first few roles I did were a bunch of those. I told my agent that’s not why I got into acting. It just doesn’t feel fulfilling and I don’t want to be objectified that way.

BCL: What has your experience been like on The Romeo Section?
FR: Unreal! I love how the whole production is so collaborative and everyone is just like a family. And of course Chris Haddock is just amazing to work with. He focuses so much on character development and communicating with all of us. He also wrote the scripts really well, so it allows me to dig deeper into my role. 

BCL: What are some things you do to get into character?
FR: If you see my scripts, there's writing all over them. I even build collages for my character and understand the music she would listen to. I love private moment exercises. It’s a method acting technique where I experience the character in a private moment and try and connect to their emotions on a deeper level. For example, I'll sit in my trailer quietly and imagine I have lived the scene or the moment, basically like you’re performing for an imaginary crowd.

BCL:  What do you love about playing Mei Mei?
FR: I love how strong she is. She's in a masculine world, but she is so empowering and never gives up.

BCL: Do you have a dream role?
FR: I feel like I'm playing it right now. I've always wanted to play a strong woman, who is also sexy and intelligent. Getting to portray a woman who overcomes struggle is so beautiful.

BCL: What advice would you give to those wanting to get into the modeling and acting industry?
FR: Stick to the craft. It’s a very objectified industry, but I love it because I focus on the different techniques, knowledge and the art behind it. I love to prove people wrong when they say, "Oh, you're Asian so you can't do that, and you wont be hired." I love to break the rules and showing that personality and being professional really matter. 

Click through the slideshow above for some of Fei's favourite things and stills from The Romeo Section...

Some of Fei's favourite things (click through for more photos...)
Credit: Brendan Meadows 

Some of Fei's favourite things (click through for more photos...)

BCL: What is your favourite thing to do in Vancouver in the fall?
FR: I love to go for walks because of all the colourful leaves. I also love eating... people don't think models eat, but I do. So I spend a lot of time exploring the city trying new food. Taishoken Ramen on Abbott Street is my ultimate favourite right now and I urge everyone to try it!

BCL: Models, of course, have great style. What's your favourite thing about fall fashion?
FR: I love shoes and right now I am loving white sneakers with studs. So cool! Deep burgundy red is also a favourite colour of mine for the season and I love lipsticks and wool coats in that shade.

Layering clothes in the fall is so much fun. It's the perfect season where you can wear stockings, throw on a pair of boots, be warm and still look sexy. 

BCL: The cold weather can definitely dry out your skin. What are some of your favourite skincare products for fall?
FR: Yes, I totally have dry skin. Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant works like magic. I have one in every bag of mine. I use it all over my face and lips. I try not to put too much during the day, because it gives you a sort of glossy look, but at night it's amazing.

I also love skincare products by Darphin. Although a little pricey, they're completely hydrating and keep your skin feeling and looking fresh. Totally worth it!

Fei Ren as Mei Mei on The Romeo Section
Credit: Jeff Weddell 

Fei Ren as Mei Mei on The Romeo Section

Fei Ren on the set of The Romeo Section
Credit: Cate Cameron 

Fei Ren on the set of The Romeo Section

Fei Ren stars as Mei Mei onThe Romeo Section
Credit: Cate Cameron 

Fei Ren stars as Mei Mei onThe Romeo Section