Following in the footsteps of Jeanette Aw, Julie Tan, Andie Chen and Kate Pang, Ch 8 actress Sora Ma announced on Instagram on the last day of 2017 that she, too, has decided not to renew her contract with Mediacorp.
Speaking to us over the phone, the 33-year-old actress says that the decision to leave the company has been on her mind for one to two years. “I only made up my mind in November when I knew that my contract was coming to an end. I wanted to use this chance to step out of my comfort zone and do my own things,” she says.
The 33-year-old actress entered showbiz in 2010, after making her way to the top five in Star Search that year, alongside Jeffrey Xu, who'd won the competition, and Romeo Tan, who'd placed fourth.
In the past seven years, Sora has played mainly supporting roles in Ch 8 shows, with one of her most memorable roles being Chen Meizhen, the wife of Wang Shunfeng (Dennis Chew) in the hit long-running drama 118.
“I didn’t tell any of my friends or ask anyone for advice because I didn’t want them to talk me out of it. For the past three decades, I’ve been listening to my mum, my seniors at work, or anyone with more life experience than me. I’ve been a good girl for way too long. It’s time I be a little rebellious," she says.
8 DAYS: Leaving Mediacorp must have been a difficult decision for you to make, given that you were with the company for seven years.
SORA MA: Yes, it wasn’t easy at all. Even until now, I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision. When I was with Mediacorp, my manager arranged and fixed my schedule for me. I was very pampered with lots of work coming in. Now, I no longer have a stable income, and that pushes me to do something more for myself. If I don’t place myself in such a position, I won’t be hungry to learn and achieve more.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the midst of setting up my own production company. I will have a team of people to write scripts, direct films and work on pre- and post-production together. I’ve been taking script writing and directing classes on the side, and it’s time I put what I’ve learnt into use. We have been working on the scripts for two short films, and production will start once we are ready. I will act in the films ‘cos I’m the cheapest labour I can find for my own company. I don’t have to pay myself for now! (Laughs)
How did you come to this decision?
The way people consume media these days is very different, especially with the popularity of new media. I look at my younger cousins and niece, and I notice that the things they watch and like are very different from our generation. With the media landscape changing, local actors and actresses are faced with new challenges. All these observations made me feel that I should stop what I’ve been doing and take on a new direction. I don’t want to look back on my life after five years and realise that I am still doing the same thing. I guess I don’t want to remain stagnant.
What are your fondest memories in the past seven years?
The best moment of my life was when I won the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award at Star Awards last year. I never had any expectations that I would get the chance to go on that stage one day, so to me, that was a huge bonus in my career.