JENNIFER CHEN Chun-chen arrives at her interview right on cue. The 26-year-old former women's world pool champion (currently No 2) was in Hong Kong last month to promote her new career as a movie star. She has been signed up by the same company that manages celebrities such as veteran Canto-pop singer Alan Tam Wing-lun. Although she has little experience in front of the camera, the Taiwan-born pool player is being groomed as Asia's next action heroine. The company will also find her a singing coach for the inevitable launch into the pop world. But why, as with so many top sports personalities before her, has she succumbed to the lure of show business? 'I have missed out on so many things by being a pool player for so many years. Acting allows me to meet different people and learn more about life. I want to know more than just playing pool.' She has been approached to make movies in Taiwan but has always declined. It was not until Entertainment Impact made its offer earlier this year that she seriously considered a career in acting. 'It's much better to start my movie career in Hong Kong than in Taiwan,' Chen says. 'Hong Kong's film industry is more international than Taiwan's. Though my showbiz career is just beginning, I really want my movies to be seen all over Asia.' Chen believes her sporting background makes her more suitable for action films to begin with, but is eager to take on more demanding roles in future. She says she would love to be cast in feminine roles and is a bit worried about being typecast as a tough athletic actress. She has already been nicknamed in some entertainment magazines as the female version of Canto-pop star Nicholas Tse Ting-fung. 'I'm a bit worried that I will be stereotyped,' she says. 'I don't mind if people say that I look like Nicholas Tse, but he has become more of a rock star now and I'm heading the opposite way, being more feminine.' Chen's pool career started in her teens, after she was injured playing her first love, handball. But after just a month of intense training, the then 17-year-old won a place in the national squad, was instructed by national coaches for a year and then played on her own. She won her first international competition, the Japan Professional Open Championship, in 1993. Despite having the talent and winning the tournaments, Chen questioned whether she wanted to continue playing professionally because 'what I learned at school was not enough, so I decided to go to Vancouver to study'. In 1995, having financed her schooling from her winnings, she waved goodbye to her parents and also, temporarily, to pool. Chen, who is now based in Taipei, is optimistic about the changes in her life. She believes her ability to assess conditions before making any moves - a discipline learned in sport - will help in her new career. 'The art of playing pool is about decision-making,' Chen says. 'It is different from other sports that you need to practise eight hours a day. Your mind is most important. You have to stay calm and be clear about what you are doing.'