Taiwanese travel host Sasa has such an affable personality that strangers have invited her to their homes for dinner.
The 34-year-old says this is due to her jovial, friendly on-screen persona, which endears her to audiences. "When people recognise me overseas, they treat me as their daughter or friend," she says with a laugh. "It's great - they even stop me on the streets to give me snacks or gifts."
The bubbly host of Taiwanese travel variety show Super Taste was in town recently to promote her show.
Sasa, whose real name is Zhong Xin Yu, has recently clinched the role as a lead host on another long- running variety show, WTO Sister Show, which also focuses on travel. The long-time travel host, who has been with Super Taste for 11 years, has had supporting roles in other Taiwanese television series, such as the 2004 drama, Love Contract.
However, the bachelorette's first love is still hosting, which she says suits her personality. "Since I was a little girl, I've always loved food and exploring places, so being a travel host fulfils my dreams," says Sasa.
1 What is your most memorable experience on the show?
I went to Namibia with the show two years ago and we visited a big cat sanctuary.
A cub came up to me and started gnawing at my head playfully. Everyone around me was alarmed and tried to take it away, but I told them not to because it was cute. Of course, my scalp hurt afterwards and the top part of my head was red, but it was worth it. I felt so lucky.
2 What are your rituals when you travel for fun?
I refuse to plan an itinerary when I'm on holiday because the moment I plan one, I feel as if I am going for an overseas shoot. Also, I'll sleep till noon. When I go out, I make sure to return to the hotel before sunset.
3 Do you have travelling tips?
Travelling should be enjoyable, so don't put too much pressure on yourself.
For example, if you plan to see five sights a day, plan for three and treat the other two as bonus destinations.
Or try travelling spontaneously with a guidebook. Once you're in the country, open the guideto a page and go to the attraction that is on it.
4 Can you thrive anywhere in the world?
I'm a people-person. I have to be with my family and friends.
If it's just me, I don't think I can survive.
5 Having worked with many celebrities on Super Taste, who do you most want to work with?
Jacky Wu. The veteran Taiwanese host is humorous andcan deal with unexpected scenarios. I can learn from him.
6 You have been open about your private life on Facebook. Have you had negative experiences online?
Yes, but I like to turn negative responses into positive ones.
For example, when I entered the industry, there were people who said my eyes are squinty and laughed about it. But I thought, there isn't anyone else in the industry who has eyes like mine, so why not turn that into an advantage? So, when I draw myself as a cartoon, I'll draw it with squinty eyes.
7 Tell us a secret about yourself.
I've posted pictures of my bedroom, but I'm messy in real life. My mum will clean it when she can't stand the sight of it.
8 How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who brings joy to people and who is a positive force of energy.
•Super Taste airs on TVBS Asia (StarHub TV Channel 828) from Mondays to Thursdays at 8pm.