Ten Reasons It’s Great To Look Like Fann Wong. That was one of the angles originally mooted for this story. It didn’t go very far, and it’s obvious — at least to Joanne Peh — why not. “It’s true. I think I look like her. I once had this makeover picture taken, and even I thought: 'This person looks like Fann Wong.' It’s this part (she uses her hands to frame her forehead to the top of her cheekbones) that really looks like her. “People tend to make comparisons. If you’re just comparing looks, that’s fine, but I don’t want to live in her shadow. I want to carve my own niche. I don’t want Fann’s fans to get irritated with me, because I’m not trying to be Fann, even though I really marvel at her achievements. Of course, I have my dreams and would like to go to Hollywood as well, but it’s not because I want to be Fann. I don’t want to settle for being The Girl Who Looks Like Fann. I am Joanne!”
She’s right. She doesn’t have to settle for that — even though both she and Fann are former Temasek Secondary School girls; both were born in the Year of the Pig, exactly one cycle apart (Joanne in 1983, Fann 1971); and she volunteers, “I also hear she played volleyball, like I did.”No, she doesn’t resemble only Fann. She could also be The Girl Who Looks Like Celest Chong, Michelle Liow, and Hongkong actress Lee San San. All of whom Joanne’s also been thought to resemble, from one angle or another. To that list, we could add Jacelyn Tay and Carole Lin. That’s probably what her fellow contestants in Miss Singapore-Universe 2002 meant when they said Joanne has a “Ch 8 face”. (“Yah, I was told I should have joined Star Search,” she laughs. “Maybe that’s what got me to where I am.”) Lit by a prize-winning, wonderfully disarming smile, she indeed looks like she was born to be on TV. Never mind that she was booted out of the semi-finals of the beauty contest after winning two subsidiary titles, Miss Elegant and Miss Personality.
Just before we close the chapter on the whole “Who does Joanne Peh look like?” game, there’s one more person she reminds us of: Sharon Au. Only thing is, we aren’t talking about looks here. We’re talking talking. The gift of the gab. Yakkity yakkity yak. Both Sharon and Joanne can outtalk the lifespan of the batteries in your tape recorder, the ink in your pen, the pages in your notebook. In full flight, Joanne doesn’t talk so much as she unleashes words from her mouth like water from a dam. “At the pageant, I didn’t even get to impress the judges with my answers,” she laments, but laughing, obviously taking the mickey out of herself. “That’s my strength — I love to talk!” And how. Sentences pour out in torrents, punctuated by many “actually’s” and “maybe’s”, and quite a few “want’s”. This is an important part of her effusive, effervescent personality. Her talkativeness doesn’t overwhelm you. It charms you. She is lovable in the extreme. She’s the daughter every mum and dad would love to call their own. She’s the girl every guy wants to bring home to Mum. She’s the girl every girl would love to be, or befriend. Her appeal is all-inclusive, her hate factor practically nil. And that’s the reason Joanne, despite being a full-time student at NTU’s School of Communication and Information, is the fastest rising star in the MediaCorp stable at the moment. Ch 8 producers want her for hosting and acting gigs. Ch 5 producers want her for sitcoms. It’s also significant that in I Love My Home she’s been cast as the love interest for Qi Yuwu, also earmarked for success by the powers that be.