Veteran actor Zhang Xinxiang has graced our screens for over three decades but you'd be forgiven if the 54-year-old's name doesn't ring a bell. And that includes those of you who have been watching Mediacorp dramas since the '90s.
That's because the actor used to be called Zhang Wenxiang. He changed his name to Xinxiang some years back as he felt "people had trouble getting [my] old name right".
“They’d be like, ‘Oh! You’re something-Xiang, right?’ Maybe the combination of Wen and Xiang was too difficult to remember. So I changed my name to Xinxiang, which is easier to rattle off the tongue,” he chuckled. “But I don’t think it worked, because people still don’t quite remember it.”
He's not wrong. Even after 32 years in the biz, there are still people who never knew his name, be it Wenxiang or Xinxiang, to begin with.
It's a fact not lost on the actor who is well aware that viewers find the characters he play a lot more memorable than the man himself.
Xinxiang, who has acted in hit dramas like 1995's The Golden Pillow, 2009’s The Ultimatum and 2015’s The Journey: Our Homeland, explained: “When people see me on the streets, they tell me that certain characters that I played give them nightmares, and I’m really happy to hear that. Playing a character that people remember is more important than them remembering my name. After all, the credits roll by so fast, and who even reads those anyway?”
He can soon be seen playing a time traveller in upcoming Mediacorp drama My Mini-Me and Me opposite Xu Bin and Jeffrey Xu. 8days.sg caught up with the perennial supporting actor after the drama’s press conference, where he opened up to us about how he got started in showbiz, why he doesn’t care for lead roles, and how he got hooked on My Star Bride because of Chantalle Ng.