Jeanette Aw Spills On Her Most Iconic Roles

And how much she's like her characters.

On playing Mo Jingjing from 2003’s Holland V:

“When I played Jingjing, I was quite new. I had only been in the industry for two years. The producer said I giggle a lot, which makes me suitable for the role. (Giggles) They saw that I had this natural silliness. To a certain extent, people believed I was like [Jingjing]. I actually defended Jingjing, ’cos I loved the character so much. People would say, “So you are this mentally-retarded girl,” and I’d say, “She is not retarded.” If I played her now, Jingjing wouldn’t be the same. I would be thinking too much. And when you think so much, that innocence is gone.”

On playing Yueniang from 2008’s The Little Nyonya:
“I’m also Peranakan, though my dad never enforced a Peranakan way of living. On many levels, this role was close to my heart. By this time, I had played quite a few strong characters, and the producers thought I had this sharp look in my eyes and could look quite fierce. But in some ways, I’m quite soft. Even if I feel that people are stepping all over me, I wouldn’t give it to them. Unless they really push me to my limits. Then I’d flare up, and it’s not something you want to see!”

On playing Yang Nianqing from 2010’s Breakout:
“This was one time when the character affected me more than I affected the character. When I filmed the breakdown scene, where I suddenly turned from this strong woman to a little girl, I started crying. I went back and I was still crying. That was really intense.”

On playing Zhao Fei’er from 2013’s The Dream Makers:
“I would say I had the most connection with her. I’ve been through some things she’s been through. I could put in a lot of more personal feelings to plump up the character. Things like getting bullied and what we say on set, these things do happen. I have felt some of the things that she feels, such as when people say things about you that are not true. And like the character, I’ve been pushed out of the camera frame before, okay? (Laughs) There was one time on stage when I was pushed by someone, and the person just stood in front of me. I don’t really bother about being in the centre. Anyway, if there’s a photo, people see all the faces in the photo. Singapore is really very safe — you don’t really need to scheme much, but I’ve heard from overseas artistes about the tough competition they face.”

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