David Bowie passed away this week at the age of 69. In memoriam, former actress Geeling Ching looked back on starring with the rockstar in his 1983 music video “China Girl” — and then dating him afterwards.
A former waitress in a Sydney cafe, Ching was 23 when she was chosen to play the lead role in “China Girl,” opposite the then-30-something Bowie.
“There was something quite other-worldly about him,” Ching expressed. “He was beautiful. Just beautiful.”
The MTV-award-winning “China Girl” video, which was supposed to poke fun at racial stereotypes, was initially banned from Ching’s home country of New Zealand because of a beach-sex scene between herself and Bowie.
“We got up at three in the morning to shoot that, to catch the sunrise, and it’s the least sexy I’ve ever been in my life,” Ching confessed, referring to the presence of the whole film crew watching on.
But it was apparently a bonding experience for the two, with Bowie inviting Ching along to a tour in Europe afterwards. She described the experience of being David Bowie’s plus-one as “completely surreal.”
And despite the relationship not lasting, Ching doesn’t regret getting to be in Bowie’s orbit. Her performance in “China Girl” led to further acting offers, including a role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Now a restaurant manager, Ching described Bowie’s impact as “the biggest influence on my life that I could have ever imagined.”
Having apparently had an amicable separation, Bowie and Ching’s last meeting was backstage at a New Zealand concert of his in 2004. “His face lit up,” she remembered. “He walked away from the photos and said, ‘Geeling, you’re here! Fantastic.'”
Watch the two former lovers here:
By Pinky Latt