British violinist Vanessa Mae is in the news after being banned from skiing competitions for four years. The International Ski Federation (FIS) on Nov 11 found she qualified to represent Thailand at this year's Winter Olympics by fixing races. The Singapore-born 36-year-old, whose father is Thai and mother is Chinese, came in last in the Winter Olympics, a whole 50 seconds behind the winner.
Here are five things to know about the violinist turned competitive skier Vanessa Mae Vanakorn Nicholson.
1. She is best known as a sexy pop violinist, but she started skiing at the age of four, even before she starting playing the violin.
2. She was criticised in 2011 for playing at a party hosted by then-Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov for a reported fee of £324,000(S$666,116), according to British newspaper The Independent's website. Kadyrov was then being implicated in torture and human rights abuse.
3. She has been a victim of harassment by a fan. The fan, an unmarried hospital maintenance worker, wrote her around four letters a month for two years and tried to speak to her, deliver gifts and see her backstage at her concerts. He was warned about his behaviour, and eventually arrested in 2003.
4. She had tried to enter for Thailand at the 2002 Winter Olympics but at the time, the country had wanted her to give up her British passport in order to do so, according to British newspaper The Independent. Currently a British citizen, she also carries a Thai passport
5. In 1992, Vanessa became the youngest soloist ever to play alongside the London Mozart Players. With the release of her debut album The Violin Player in 1995, she become a globe-trotting star. She has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide.
Sources: The Independent, The New Paper, The Straits Times