It’s been a month since Rui En’s headline-making, meme-generating car accident, and apart from two closely watched appearances at the Star Awards, the actress has pretty much kept a very low profile. But not today. We’re sitting opposite Rui En, 35, who’s meeting the media for the first time since BMW-gate, at the press conference for her new Ch 8 drama If Only I Could. In the drama, she plays a frumpy housewife who is given a chance to go back in time and start afresh. And if there’s anyone in the room who wishes she could erase history, it’s the actress. “Who doesn’t want a second chance? Who doesn’t want to go back in time to change things, especially in my current predicament?” she says, alluding to the incident which is still undergoing police investigation.
Before our group interview with Rui En, we were told by her manager to ask only questions related to the drama. But the actress, who is now filming C.L.I.F. 4 , is surprisingly candid and chatty. Even when asked about the incident, where she accidentally backed into a motorcycle and then raised an uproar when she asked the motorbike owner: “Do you know who I am?”
“Thanks everyone for not putting me on the spot. Thanks once again,” she says at the end of the 16-minute long interview. Even though she obliged every query with lengthy answers, she still peppered the conversation with loud sighs and long, deliberate pauses. Guess, despite being forthcoming, Rui En is really tired of talking about what happened. No wonder she says she’ll be taking an indefinite break after filming for C.L.I.F. 4 wraps. “I’ve been focusing a little too much on things that are happening right now, so I need time off,” she says matter-of-factly. “I’ve no idea how long the break will be and I’ve no plans yet.” Somehow we think this is exactly the way Rui En wants it to be.
■ On going back in time and handling the incident differently:
"I’m in a dilemma [about this]. I feel that whatever I’ve gone through makes me who I am today, be it a mistake I made, my previous success, when I was at my peak or in hell.” My initial thoughts were: ‘Okay, I want to go back in time to change things. I want to return to being a baby and live my life all over again.’ (She takes a long pause) But I feel that everyone has regrets and has experienced pain and I question if these regrets can make someone change for the better. Perhaps some people need to go through hard times before reaching their second peak?”
■ On the immense pressure she faced post-accident:
“After the incident, I kept blaming myself. I realised I gave myself too much stress. I was so stressed out that I puked during the Star Awards... I’ve always been a perfectionist. I like to give myself stress to push myself and improve. Sometimes, I must learn how to forgive myself, and not put so much blame on myself as I’ve been through a really tough time.”
■ On an alternative career:
“[If I could choose another career] I would be a policewoman, I’ve always been very interested in their work. I’m filming C.L.I.F 4 now and I love it. And I ask the policemen the most stupid questions (relating to law enforcement) like I’m a seven-year-old kid (laughs).”
■ On being misunderstood:
“When I don’t laugh or have a blank expression, my face is like that. It leads people to think that I’m unhappy but I’m not. You want me to get plastic surgery to look like the Joker? I feel very misunderstood. I’m simply born this way, my parents gave me this face.”
■ On gaining 7kg for the drama:
“(Sighs) I won’t gain weight for any role in the future. It’s the biggest sacrifice I’ve made in my acting career. I’m not young anymore, I’m in my thirties and my metabolism is dropping. I’ve been trying but it’s so difficult to lose the extra weight. After I gained weight, I’ve been subjected to a lot of body shaming and fat shaming. It made me feel very inferior. It really shouldn’t be this way — a woman shouldn’t have to be judged on her age and her weight.”