With roles in an upcoming Ch 8 drama, and for two, a swanky shampoo endorsement, these four kids of local celebs are primed to become TV’s next big things. But first, they’ll have to deal with rumours about nepotism. Here's the second part of our interview.
Read part 1 here.
Chantalle Ng, 21, second-year Information Systems student at Singapore Management University, daughter of Lin Meijiao and former actor Huang Yiliang, who divorced in 1997 after six years of marriage.
8 DAYS: You’ve acted in Ch 8 dramas like 96°C Café and World At Your Feet.
CHANTALLE NG: I was only 16 and was so chubby when I acted in 96°C Café. I chanced upon a forum and saw all these mean comments about me! It was like a slap on the face. There were comments like: “She’s so fat and still want to act?” and “Her mum is not pretty, of course she isn’t pretty too.” I was so affected and emotionally traumatised. I confided in my mum and she told me that it’s very normal and that if I want to enter showbiz, I have to be mentally prepared for these things. I am grateful for her advice and I moved on quite quickly after that (laughs).
You’ve met many celebs since you were young ’cos you followed your mum to shoots. Were you starstruck by anyone?
I was starstruck when I saw Elvin Ng (laughs). He’s so cute! I was very privileged to meet [veteran actor] Richard Low when I was in primary school. I was very weak at Math and he’d give me tuition every week despite not remembering much of the syllabus. He even bought an assessment book to revise on his own so that he could teach me. Till now, I’m so grateful to him.
Your parents’ divorce made headlines back in the day.
Well, when it comes to my parents, one is famous, and one’s infamous (laughs). When they split, I was still a baby and not even one year old so it didn’t affect me much. I grew up with my mum and we are so close that I don’t feel like I’ve lacked any love in my life.
Are you worried that people will think that you got your roles more easily ’cos of your mum?
Yes, I’m very worried about it. I really don’t want to be in a position where all my hard work is attributed to my connections. But I have to admit that it definitely made things easier for me. Without my mum, the producers probably wouldn’t even know who I am, or ask me to go for auditions.
Addy says he has big plans for you guys in China.
Yeah, he’s been coming up with plans for me to head to China but I’ve been unable to do so ’cos of my studies. However, he sent us to Shanghai for two weeks in December. Calvert, Shalynn, Marcus [Guo Liang’s son], and I went there for modelling and dance classes. We also learnt how to do self-introductions and present ourselves in front of cameras. It was very tiring but useful.
What’s next for you?
My agreement with Addy now is that I’d only work during my school holidays and weekends until I graduate from university in two years’ time. After that, I will choose to go into acting full-time or do something related to my information systems degree. We’ll see!
Calvert Tay, 17, awaiting NS, son of Hong Huifang and Zheng Geping
8 DAYS: Why have you decided to follow in your parents’ footsteps to become an actor? CALVERT TAY: I’ve been exposed to this industry since young ’cos of my parents and I became more interested in showbiz after I acted as a calefare in an episode of Ch 8 drama World At Your Feet in 2014. The adrenaline rush I got from filming was something I couldn’t get anywhere else. So when uncle Addy [Lee] approached me to join his company, I thought: “Why not?” But I’ve just finished my studies at St Andrew’s Secondary School, and I’ve decided to go straight to army and then pursue acting once I finish NS.
Were your parents supportive of your career choice?
Yes. They spoke to uncle Addy and had some verbal agreement about him having to take care of us like his own children (laughs). I decided to sign the contract with his company as he wants to promote us in China which I feel is a way bigger market than Singapore. [Quan Yifeng’s daughter] Eleanor went to China and she made it big there. I hope I can be like her in the future.
What showbiz advice did your parents give you?
They told me that if I want to chase this dream, I have to do it when I’m young so I’ll have no regrets. They also told me that this industry is very tough. I’ve seen them work very hard since I was young, so I know what I’m in for.
What is it like growing up with famous parents?
I only realised that they’re famous when I was in primary one. They had to take me to school for the first time and a few teachers and parents approached them for photos. It has since become an everyday affair, you know, people stopping us on the streets and asking them for photos. Most times, I have to take the photos for them (laughs). I am very happy and proud that people appreciate my parents for their work, but there are times when I feel that it’s a hassle, especially if we’re late and rushing for something.
Did you receive special treatment in school ’cos your parents are stars?
Definitely not in my secondary school. They know that my parents are celebs, but that’s about it. The teachers don’t go out of their way to treat me differently. When I was younger, my classmates asked me for my parents’ autographs (laughs). But I don’t think they were starstruck ’cos they’ve been to my house so many times!
So how have you been preparing for life as a star?
I’ve been taking lessons from auntie Quan Yifeng who teaches me how to present myself onscreen. I also really need to improve my Mandarin (laughs). I’ve been reading books or borrowing my parents’ scripts to practise. My dad is currently filming a drama, and I’ve been visiting him on set to learn stuff like camera angles. After I finish my NS, I’m thinking of enrolling into the Beijing Film Academy. [Ed: The prestigious school is where Yifeng’s daughter is now studying.]
Are you worried that people will think that it’s easier for you to get roles ’cos of your parents?
Such gossip will definitely happen. But there’s no free lunch in the world. If I want to get a role in a show, I need to audition for it. I don’t get the role handed to me on a silver platter.
ALL PHOTOS BY EALBERT HO