It’s close to 6pm on a Thursday (July 25, to be exact), and Linda Chung has been up since 4.15am that morning - but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at or speaking to her.
During our interview at the grand opening of athleisure brand FILA’s Jewel Changi Airport store, the Canadian-born singer-actress is as sparkly-eyed and effervescent as ever, talking a mile a minute without veering into senseless babble territory (an impressive feat, if we do say so).
When we point out that she doesn’t come across as someone who’s been awake and been through an activity-filled day for over 12 hours, she deadpans, “I don’t, don’t I? But don’t come any closer.”
This frankly unexpected yet thoroughly amusing dry humour (which makes us guffaw like idiots as she keeps a perfectly straight face) continues to pop up during our 20-minute chat, as do inspired declarations that make her sound like a cross between a motivational speaker and a perky Disney princess.
Exhibit A: in her answer to how she prepared for her catwalk stint during the event’s fashion showcase, she says, “Having a happy mood and a thankful heart is what I had to prepare. Sometimes you wake up and you have negative thoughts, but today I’m so thankful I get to fly to Singapore, I’m so happy to be alive, and I’m so happy to see my fans!” Cue rainbows and butterflies.
Exhibit B: a while later, the topic shifts to her “mission” at work, which we learn is to “share [her] inner self and thoughts with people to encourage them and make them feel like they’re not alone”.
To our surprise, this includes us journos grilling her too. “It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to - I just want to love you guys and touch you guys,” she says, reaching a hand out towards us. “I don’t want this to be just another boring interview. I want you guys to get to know me, so I will give it my all, and I will give you my real answers.”
We love you too, Linda: you just became one of our favourite interviewees ever.
Read on for our full conversation!
Toggle: Welcome to Singapore! What else are you planning to do here?
Linda: I’m gonna eat! [says “black pepper crab” in Cantonese] I don’t usually eat it because I could get itchy, but of course I have to try that right?
Are you allergic to seafood?
Honestly, I feel like I might not get itchy this time because back in the day, while I was with TVB for the first 10 years, I think my immunity broke down and that’s when I got eczema, but I don’t have it anymore and I feel much healthier than before.
Please rate your own fashion sense and your husband’s [chiropractor Jeremy Leung] fashion sense.
Let me do my husband’s first. I don’t really know about his fashion sense, but I definitely believe in his taste. I mean, he did choose me, right? Just joking. (Laughs) I think his taste would be a 10 out of 10 (not just because he chose me) but because clothing-wise, he usually knows exactly what I’ll look good in even when I don’t know myself.
For me, I think it depends: sometimes I have bad days and my fashion sense goes down, and sometimes for some strange reason, holy, I’m a 10 out of 10. So it really depends on my mood.
Your daughter Kelly is still pretty young (she turns 3 next month), but has she already shown an interest in fashion?
Maybe about 45 per cent? She’s more into hair and makeup.
Has she gotten into your stash?
Oh yes. She’s gotten foundation all over my floors before, she’s broken my blushes, and she’s cracked my mirrors by accident. But fashion-wise, she’s starting to want to choose her own outfits. Before, she was very easy-going with whatever I gave her, but now she does say no to things.
What does she say no to?
She didn’t want me to put her in just a plain T-shirt and jeans, like, she wanted the shirt to have something on it, either a Disney character or watermelons, just some kind of print. She also didn’t seem to like the feeling of jeans because she wanted something stretchier or more loose-fitting. I think she wants to show off her legs: even in wintertime, she’s asking me to put shorts on her!
But honestly, I think because of her generation, she’s exposed to so much stuff, so I truly believe she’s going to be my stylist in the future. She’s getting there.
You recently released a music video starring yourself and your family (including your 11-month-old son Jared). Have your kids seen it, and if so, what do they think of it?
Of course they’ve seen it! As for their reaction, they don’t really know what’s going on, but I think they’re proud of me. There’s something about that little twinkle in their eyes and their shyness when they see it and they’re like [in a baby voice], “I’m in there, mummy.” It’s a really good family memory and the best gift I could give my children.
There have been reports that you’re intending to cut down on future drama projects…
I never said that. That never came out of my mouth. I’ve heard it from a lot of other people as well, but I don’t know where they got that. I don’t cut down on things. Life, as I see it, is not controlled by me. Everything is there for a reason and I’m just that person who was created to do the things God wants me to do, and because I live that way, I feel so much lighter, happier, and not as stressed.
So, no, I’m not going to cut down on things in my life. I’ll do whatever I feel like I need to do, and I wish that for everyone else in this world. Don’t cut yourself back - you’re limitless.
What can we expect from you next?
Secretly, I’ve been thinking about and gearing towards doing something that I really like. [We ask for a hint] "If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!" But you might not understand that. (coy smile)
Photos: Tammi Tan, Instagram/Linda Chung