HK Magazine: How long did it take you to hone your role? Gu Xiao-yue : I started my acting career in 2001. Of course, there aren’t any schools or training for this, so I had to learn as I acted. I first performed in an arts group, and then later on stage. It took me about three years to improve my acting and get familiar with the character of Chairman Mao. Also, Gu Yue, one of the famous first generation Mao actors, was my teacher, so I watched many of his performances and copied his style. I was his only disciple. HK: Did you cut your hair to look like his? GX : No, this is my natural hairstyle, I didn’t change it. The hair is very important. It helps to give me more likeability. HK: Are there many other Chairman Mao lookalikes around? GX : Actually, there aren’t that many actors who specialize in this one role for their whole lives. There are some who are 50 percent like their characters, and some who are 80 percent, but of course none are 100 percent alike. I think I am 80 percent like Chairman Mao, which is already very good. HK: Do fans write to you? GX : Yes, lots of them, but they are all aged 40 years and older. They always write and invite me to have dinner with them at home. I don’t go to their houses, but I do eat with some fans in restaurants sometimes. When the old tai tais see me, they get quite emotional, so that means my overall appearance must be accurate. HK: Apart from acting as Mao, you can also write calligraphy in his style. How did you learn? GX : I have always had an interest in calligraphy, which I also do as a profession. I became interested in Mao’s calligraphy style in 2001, and my supervisor suggested that I should learn it, in order to improve my own impersonation and fight off other competition. To practice, I used to write on tracing paper over the words. HK: What is your favorite slogan by Chairman Mao? GX: “Wei ren min fu wu,” which basically means “to serve the people.” I like this saying because it tells us that no matter who’s the emperor, an empire will not be stable if you do not love the people. Chairman Mao worked to serve the people, so he was welcomed by them. HK: It’s your first time in Hong Kong. What are your thoughts on it? GX : I like the scenery in Hong Kong; the mountains, the greenery all make it a precious place. I also think that the roads and traffic here are regulated very well. There is no queue-jumping either, so in general I think Hong Kong is a very civilized place, much better in this respect to China. However, I do get the feeling that Hong Kong is an expensive city and has a high living standard. HK: If you were to meet Chairman Mao, what would you say to him? GX : My first instinct would be to say, I am happy, really very happy.