While it hasn’t been that long since Michelle Chia’s last Ch 8 drama — she had a supporting role as a mafia boss in 2016 female revenge drama The Queen — somehow, it feels like the actress has been away much longer. These days, the 42-year-old spends the bulk of her time travelling and hosting TV shows, in between taking on the occasional acting gig. This time round, in Gifted, Michelle takes on dual roles — a restaurant lady boss and a virtuous housewife who are sisters. She also gets to reunite with her lover. Onscreen lover, that is, aka Zhang Yaodong. (P/S: The duo played a couple in 2012 Ch 8 drama Double Bonus.) Off-screen, the actress, who split from Shaun Chen in 2011 after two years of marriage, is currently in a stable, long-term relationship. But she has no plans to walk down the aisle again.
8 DAYS: This is your first Ch 8 drama after two years. But somehow, it feels like you’ve been away much longer.
MICHELLE CHIA: I don’t feel that I’ve been away for so long, but at the same time, it feels like a long time. It’s quite a contradicting feeling, you know? (Laughs) And I’ve also been hosting programmes, so it doesn’t feel like I’ve been away from TV for a long time.
How was it like working with your former colleagues again?
Nice! It was great! I had a fabulous time with the cast. Going to KL [to film Gifted] was like a holiday for me. (Laughs) When I was in KL, I ate a lot, especially durians. I kept pestering everyone to go have durians with me and [Zhang] Yaodong [who's Malaysian] brought us to have durians. Whenever we had no filming or after filming, we’d go out to have good food.
What have you been busy with besides acting and hosting?
Travelling. (Laughs) I took up the piano. But, mainly, travelling. I’m just taking things easy and living and enjoying life. I travel quite often. Recently, I’m travelling a lot for work ’cos I’m hosting two food-related shows. I’d like to travel a lot more. But I feel a bit bad ’cos I’m already travelling so much for work that if I’m also travelling for my own pleasure, then I’m almost always not in Singapore [to be with my family], so I try to pace it out. (Laughs)
Do you travel with your other half as well?
Yeah. Either that, or with family, or by myself.
Any plans to settle down again?
I’d call [the relationship] I’m in now ‘settled down’. I don’t need any other way to ‘settle down’, if you’re referring to getting married. At this stage in my life, I feel it’s really not necessary. I think it’s just an age thing, you know. I’ve experienced things in life. And I’m at that age where I no longer think like, ‘Oh, I want to get married and have kids.’ [My boyfriend and I] already feel very ‘settled down’. We’re very happy with where we are right now.
You seem to have done it all — you have a successful showbiz career, a stable relationship and you also co-own an investment firm. What else do you hope to achieve in life?
Oh, lots! (Laughs) It’s not so much about achievements, but more like experiences. You know, to really live life. There are so many things I’ve not seen and tried. I was looking into horse-riding, but I couldn’t commit the time ’cos I started travelling for my shows. I also want to go and see places like Machu Picchu. In terms of business, I’m always looking around for opportunities and am always interested to discuss about new ideas.
Gifted debuts July 9, on Ch 8, 9pm.