You might remember Teresa Tseng as the Campus Superstar runner-up with the sweet disposition and crystal-clear vocals that captured a nation back in 2006. Post-competition, the then 16-year-old went on to star in a few Ch 8 dramas, like 2007’s campus-themed drama Let It Shine where she played a sickly student and 2009’s sports drama Table of Glory, where she played a table tennis player opposite Dai Xiangyu and Joshua Ang.
But it didn’t take long for her to return to her first love: singing. In 2013, after graduating with a Diploma in Chinese Media & Communication from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, she returned to her home country Taiwan to further her singing career. In the same year, she joined reality singing competitions Chinese Idol and Chinese Million Star, where she finished in the Top 20 and Top 4 respectively.
Last year, the reality competition junkie flew to Shanghai to film Chinese talent show Lady Bees, where two girl groups, helmed by Nicholas Tse and Nicky Wu respectively, battle to out-sing and out-dance each other for a spot in a new girl group. Under #TeamNicholas, Teresa finished among the Top 5 in the competition. Her clean and translucent vocals not only earned Nicholas’ praise, but also had the Chinese media dubbing her “Little Fish Leong”. All that hard work culminated in the release of her first EP ‘Want To Meet Someone’ last year. And she’s just getting warmed up — a second album is in the works.
For now, the 26-year-old is back to play an vivacious psychiatrist who carries a torch for Qi Yuwu’s psychiatrist-turned-plumber in upcoming Ch 8 drama Mind Matters. At the drama’s lensing ceremony, we caught up with Teresa, who has a fresh new look, and a new name, no less.
8 DAYS: How do you feel being back after four years?
TERESA TSENG: It feels like coming back to my old home (laughs). Although [Mediacorp] is no longer at the old Caldecott campus, everyone I met still hasn’t changed. It’s a very familiar feeling.
What convinced you to return?
These past few years, I’ve been keeping in contact with Mediacorp [producers] and they would always ask me if I’m free to come back and film. Coincidentally, this time round, my schedule allowed me to take up this role. And I was also thinking how it’s been a long while since I came back to Singapore for work. (Laughs)
You also changed your name from Zeng Yong Lin to Zeng Yong Xi.
It was the company’s decision. We discussed about it. Before releasing my EP, it felt like I was starting anew. So I changed my name.
You’ve been pursuing a career in Taiwan the past few years. How’s life over there?
I’m on my own there. I’ve relatives but I seldom keep in contact with them. I spend most of the time by myself or with my company staff. We’ll help to take care of each other.
Last year, you took part in Chinese reality talent show, Lady Bees, starring Nicholas Tse and Nicky Wu. You were on Nicholas’ team on the show. How was it like working with him?
He’s very professional and conscientious. He taught us a lot of things that we as artistes should know or pay attention to, like our stage presence or how to prepare for our performance.
Tell us more about your role in upcoming Ch 8 drama Mind Matters.
I play Qi Yuwu’s former patient who had neurogenic bulimia. After he healed me, I decided to be a doctor too so I could be like him and help other patients with psychological disorders too. In the show, I go from admiring to liking him. So, towards the back, I’ll have quite a lot of emotional scenes with Ah Wu ge.
Mind Matters debuts Jan 1, 2018, on Ch 8, 9pm.
MAIN PHOTO: EALBERT HO