Zheng Geping & Hong Huifang's Daughter Was Bullied In School 'Cos, You Know, Famous Parents
"They would call me names and exclude me from their cliques."
Tay Ying is finally ready to be in showbiz. The 21-year-old, who tells us that she had turned down several opportunities to appear on Ch 8 in the past, was recently named the brand ambassador of Shiseido Professional, a range of hair products. She will also be making her acting debut in upcoming Ch 5 drama Missing, where she’ll star opposite Rebecca Lim and Pierre Png. Tay Ying, who graduated with a diploma in hospitality & tourism management from Temasek Polytechnic in May, tells us in English: “I rejected the previous opportunities because I was still studying. I wasn’t ready yet in terms of my appearance, and I’m not that fluent in Chinese. I didn’t want to do it for fun and give my parents a bad name. Being the kid of famous parents, there’s a certain level of expectation to meet.”
Stars Avenue: Local artistes including Pornsak and Zhang Zhenhuan (far right) gathered at M Nature salon to show their support for newbie Tay Ying.
Tay Ying was speaking to us at the opening of M Nature, a salon owned by her mentor, celeb crimper Addy Lee. Like her younger brother Calvert, 17, she’s signed to Addy’s talent agency Starlist. For her new endorsement, she raked in a “comfortable five-figure sum”, according to Addy. On living up to the public’s expectations, Tay Ying says: “Of course I feel a little pressured as people know me as so-and-so’s daughter. But I’m still me, and I want to prove my capabilities and abilities on my own.” She adds: “My parents have told me to always have a humble and good attitude, and I think that’s great advice for this industry.”
8 DAYS: Congrats on the good news! Are you worried that people may say that you got your break ’cos of your parents?
TAY YING: Certainly. To be fair, it was definitely easier for me to step into showbiz because of who my parents are. They have the connections and I have to give credit to them. However, now that I am in this, how far I go is up to me and how hard I work. If I’m not cut out for this, I won’t progress or go far.
Were you bullied in school because of who your parents are?
Oh, yes. I was bullied throughout my primary school years. I went to an all-girls school and I think the people there tend to be more bitchy (laughs). They would call me names and exclude me from their cliques. I was really shy and weak. I also didn’t tell my parents about it even though I was very affected. It was only in secondary school that I learnt to stand up for myself. Since then, I have learnt to get used to it ’cos I was born with [famous parents] and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Have you tried not telling people who your parents are?
Yes, for sure. I don’t tell people who they are, and I deny it when people ask me in school. I did that all the way till poly as I didn’t want to live in their shadows. I want people to know me for who I am, and I don’t want to live under pressure.
Now that you are in the limelight, it means you’d would have to live under more intense scrutiny from the public.
Recently, I got really pissed off at some online comments directed at my younger brother. There were netizens who posted stuff saying that he got his role in [new Ch 8 drama] While We Are Young ’cos of our parents. I saw how hard my brother worked. Yes, we have famous parents but it doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard. I give him a lot of advice and support and tell him that I’m always there for him. As for myself, I’ve survived pretty well all these years in the public eye. I just need to filter out the negative stuff (smiles).
Hey Gorgeous: Zheng Geping, Hong Huifang and their two children, Tay Ying and Calvert, make a good-looking family portrait.
PHOTOS: EALBERT HO