The story of a Miss Earth contender's rise to fame has surprised readers with its intimacy and candor
23-year-old Truc Diem's tell-all memoir tells of the turning points in the young girl's life as she shot to fame as a model and actress (Photo by Dao Ngoc Thach)
23-year-old Truong Tri Truc Diem's tell-all memoir is turning a few heads.
Though the full book won't be available until her birthday May 24, a few dramatic excerpts have received a fair amount of praise since they were published in Thanh Nien and Zing.vn e-newspaper April 24.
Not focusing on sex tips or scandals like other stars' autobiographies, Diem's simple and common parlance about her five-year rise to stardom makes for both an easy and enlightening read.
Not a smug show
In December 2005, after a month of competing in the annual Hoa Hau Phu Nu Viet Nam qua anh (Miss Vietnam Photogenic) contest, I won first runner-up. The happiness and breathtaking surprise of that moment are still engraved in my mind. I had what other girls only dream of. But as an 18-year-old girl, a crown and the grandeur came alongside troubles and heavy responsibilities. My friends started to look at me with different eyes and I was no longer one of them. I felt lonely, like a fish out of water.
So reads an excerpt from her yetto-be titled book.
The tale of the young model turned singer, who was also honored as Miss Fashion at the 2007 Miss Earth competition, features bits and pieces of her flashy life, and describes the kinds of seduction and entrapment that often lead to the demise of youthful stars.
She tells her stories of love lost and won, of pain and lies, with an emotional honesty and genuine tone that preserves the dignity of the memoir.
Reader Hong Thu, 25, media executive of Le Bros Company said the memoir felt more real than others.
"The book reminded me that stars are human."
Diem writes of the pressures she felt to appear perfect while going through emotionally unstable and distraught times. After five years in showbiz, Diem laments that her life has had "too many turning points" as she's moved through modeling, acting and singing careers.
The most difficult thing has been steering clear of the scandals that are so rampant in the entertainment world.
Critics have said that releasing her autobiography and debut CD concurrently are a marketing ploy, a claim Diem addresses in the book.
She said both works were exercises in simplicity and economy as she hopes to save more money for art projects in the future.
"The album and the book both reflect my personality, although they have no connection to each other. PR is not the best way to succeed. You can only survive on your own talent," Diem told Thanh Nien.
Lust and caution
The book began as a compilation of Diem's diary entries over several years.
It was born as a gift for her departed lover, who died undergoing unsuccessful cardiac surgery five months ago.
"Although our relationship was short, it is unforgettable... He loved me for one reason, and that is love," said Diem.
While Diem does not name names, Diem's story is not without its juicy details, such as the time a man offered her US$3,000 for a "date", according to excerpt published on Zing.vn.
She also tells of the torment she experienced in an abusive relationship in which a boyfriend not the one to whom the book is dedicated used her for money, lied to her and then fled the country.
There's also a story about how touched and moved Diem was by a secret fan's love letter.
But Diem said that unfortunately, indecent $3,000 proposals were a feature of at least one period in her career.
She said fame made it nearly impossible to find peace and that there were times when she was lured into arrogance by money and fame.
She even admits to sometimes feeling regret for saying no to offers of money for "favors."
"But the way my beloved folks raised me prevented me from a sure loss in the gamble of life."
In the autobiography, Diem also states that she wanted readers to know that the modeling world was not always "dark" and that her life has also been filled with joy. She was particularly talking to her parents on this note, as they had tried to persuade her from pursuing an entertainment career.
It is too soon to tell whether the book or new album mix of Vietnamese country, pop and electronic will be big hits, but if the comments on the internet are any clue, both look set to sell very well.
Thanh Phuc, a book-loving netizen and commenter on one entertainment website, said Diem's "literary work had changed his bias against successful artists."