He was seen as the hot fave, the shoo-in and was picked by his peers to win Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the recent Star Awards. So when Andie Chen lost out on those two awards and also in the Top 10 Most Popular Artiste category, he received an avalanche of sympathy and support from his fans and colleagues. But their disappointment is nothing compared to what the 31-year-old is feeling. The actor tells us that his triple Star Awards snub is “heartbreaking” and that it has got him thinking twice about acting in another Ch 8 drama. In fact, he’s even considering — gasp! — relocating overseas again.
8 DAYS: There’s been an outpouring of support for you since the Star Awards. How are you feeling right now?
ANDIE CHEN: I’m okay (laughs). I’m very touched by all the messages I’ve gotten. It came from strangers to friends and family to colleagues and even the winners themselves. So I’m very touched lah (laughs).
After the show, you posted a video on Instagram to tell your followers that you were fine.
I met my fans after the show and they were crying really badly. And I realised that there might be people out there who are really upset about the results. So I just wanted to let everybody know that I’m okay and to not be too emotionally affected by it.
How did you take the results?
I didn’t like the results (laughs). But it’s out of my control.
What about your wife, Kate Pang?
She wants me to win but also had a feeling that I wouldn’t. I guess it boils down to the contract that you hold with the company. I’m not a full-time [Mediacorp] artiste, and there’s this rumour that it matters. (Laughs)
So why don’t you sign on as a full-time artiste?
I don’t pave my career around [winning] an award. When you’re a full-time artiste, you don’t have control over the projects you take. I want to have the final say in the projects that I do. Like, in 2015, I took six months off to train for my musical [December Rains]. That wouldn’t have been possible if I were a full-time artiste.
A lot of people predicted that you would win at least something. Was your disappointment greater ’cos of the high expectations?
Yeah. I’ve always kept my expectations low before that. But this year, there was a lot of hype around me winning and it came from everywhere, including the first show of The Road to Star Awards [Ed: His peers voted for him to win Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor]. That gave me a bit of hope 'cos if everybody thinks I’m good, maybe I stood a chance.
Will this affect your decision to take on another Ch 8 drama?
It might (laughs). Honestly, I’m very disappointed — not with not getting the awards, but with being put down and ignored (laughs). I’ve spent most of my adulthood doing Ch 8 projects and if my hard work is not being appreciated, it’s very hard for me to continue putting so much time into it. I’ve been an actor with Mediacorp for 10 years. And to be put down year after year, especially when you put your heart and soul into every single drama, it’s heartbreaking to know that that’s the way I’m being appreciated (laughs).
So awards are important to you lah.
Awards are important when it directly affects your livelihood. This is the only award for full-time TV actors in Singapore. I can go overseas to act, which I’ve done before. But I came back ’cos Singapore is my home. I can still go overseas now. But I don’t want to ’cos my kids are here. I want them to study here and I love many aspects of our industry. But why would I want to stay here if I’m not being recognised for my efforts? (Laughs)
Are you saying that you’re considering going overseas?
Basically, at this point, I’m almost forced to consider pursuing acting somewhere else. But that means I’d have to uproot my family or I have to leave my family and homeland to go somewhere else. Do you know that’s the pain I’m feeling right now?
It’s not true that you’re not supported here — there’s been an overwhelming amount of support for you on social media since the results.
Yes, it’s really very touching. I’ve never gotten so many messages in my life! I replied to every single message and I’m still replying to every comment at this point. Unfortunately, these voices are not being heard. I’ve never complained [about not winning] 'cos I’d just blame it on not being good enough. But now the question I want to ask everyone is: Am I not good enough? Am I not at that calibre? Have I not worked hard enough to prove that I can put on a good show?
Of all the supportive feedback you got from your showbiz colleagues, which ones stood out the most?
I appreciate the ones from [Chen] Hanwei and Romeo [Tan] most ’cos they won [Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively]. They told me that I deserve the awards. That’s crazy (laughs)! You’ll not believe the number of colleagues who texted me to tell me that I deserve the awards and to say that that’s the way this industry works and sometimes it’s not fair, but that I shouldn’t be discouraged and should keep moving forward. Based on the results of Star Awards, I’m no one! I’ve been in the industry for a decade, and I’ve not won a single award! Even newbies who have only been in the company for one year and have already won the Top 10 award are more popular than me, right? (Laughs)
So what’s next for you?
At this point, I’m not emotionally ready to take up any Ch 8 projects. I don’t know where I want to pursue acting anymore. Am I going to fly to Taiwan where I still have a market? Or do I go to Hongkong or China or the States? I’m just very disheartened. I’m not saying I’m not going to [act on Ch 8 anymore]. I’m just saying I’m not sure (laughs).
MAIN PHOTO: CHEE YAN