"Nahihiya ako to say I'm a model. No, I'm not. Nakakahiya naman, siyempre, claiming that [I am]." Xian Lim, now the new face of local brand Mint, confesses that he cringes at write-ups that describe him as a "model-turned-actor." He says that he never was.

Photo: Mark Pimentel

"Pero for now, I choose to focus talaga on work."

He emphasizes that his mind is set on one thing. "Ayoko nang maraming iniisip kasi 'pag ganun... you can't work.

"Work is my number one priority."

ATHLETE-TURNED-ACTOR. Before coming to the Philippines, Xian Lim had a life in Daly City, California, where he was born and raised.

He was half-way through his B.S. Psychology program when he decided to live in the Philippines to play basketball.

Xian went on to be a part of the University of the East's (UE) Warriors just like his father, Godofredo Lim-Uy, who also played for the team in his prime.

How exactly did Xian land in tinseltown?

He is quick to clarify that he never started out as a model.

"I don't like considering myself starting off as a model, kasi I only did it for... nakakatawa nga kasi it was really accidental."

Xian narrates that he got his photos taken just for the heck of it.

"I just wanted to get professional pictures. It was cool.

"I mean, from your normal everyday life, from the States [where] you work eight hours, tapos forty hours a week, tapos yung school mo pa. So it [was] normal college life in the States. Pagdating dito— basketball, school—it was very out of the box!

"Ibang-iba siya sa normal routine ko, so I enjoyed it... It's [the photos] for my personal use, yung wala lang! Yung pang My Space or Facebook lang!"

Or so Xian thought, until he chanced upon a photographer who introduced him to Star Magic director Johnny Manahan.

Soon, Xian was attending acting workshops, which led to solid projects.