Our Female Stars On Fending Off Sexual Advances In Showbiz

It ain't easy being a female celeb. (A version of this article first appeared in Issue 1358, Oct 27, 2016.)

The largest protest in US history — the recent Women's March — was held partly to rally against US prez Donald Trump's misogynistic comments. But it's more common than you think for women to be the target of offensive remarks, as our female stars can attest to.

Rosalyn Lee

rozz lee

"I don’t think I’ve gotten any suggestive comments before. I’m so intimidating, nobody dares to! (Laughs) But, I’ve gotten some weird messages after my 8 DAYS cover, where you guys made a dating ad for me. There was a guy who commented that he’d like to kiss me in front of a car that he had set fire to. He probably thinks I like stuff like that. I’m not trying to trivialise sexual harassment by being superficial, but if a hot guy is touchy, I’d just think of it as flirting. Harassment is very dependent on context. I get angrier at things like gender inequality for salaries.”

Sonia Chew

sonia chew

"I was quite new at that time and I was supposed to be hired to host a show for the first time. I was asked to go for an interview at this guy’s studio. When I got there, it was a one-to-one interview and he started asking a lot of weird questions that led up to sexual favours. When I said ‘no’, he replied that it’s so easy for girls, and that if I couldn’t handle these difficult questions, how could I host a show? I was really disturbed and annoyed.”

Sora Ma

sora ma

"Back when I was a newcomer, I was working on a local production and at one point, I was the only female on set. The scene required me to serve the actor dessert and one of the guys in the crew started demonstrating to me what I had to do. Then, he started joking that I needed to kneel in front of an actor and bow my head towards his groin. To illustrate his point, he bent down in front of me [in a suggestive manner]. I felt offended and told him off directly. After that, he stopped doing [such things].”

Apple Hong

apple hong

When I was working in China, there were some producers who would ask for my phone number or ask if I wanted to travel with them even though I just met them a few days ago. It’s clear what their intentions were. I was mentally prepared for this kind of thing to happen. But I didn’t want to make enemies so I just laughed it off and said I wasn’t free.”

Yasminne Cheng

yasminne cheng

"There’s this guy who always tells me how he’d ‘like to pork’ some of his female colleagues or make suggestive remarks about how a certain woman looked. He was so blatant — you couldn’t have misheard it. I usually just tell him to shut up, and that if we were in America, he’d have been fired. I’ve also had people on my social media making comments like ‘You have a nice rack.’ There was even a guy who kept commenting, ‘You have nice armpits.’ I told him it was creepy, and he apologised.”

Jamie Yeo

jamie yeo

"There have been times when people have said sexist stuff to me. But I kind of overlook it ’cos it happens so often that it’s like nothing to me. I’ve had people say that guys want to talk to me ’cos I’m a girl or wearing a short skirt — never ’cos I’m smart or witty or whatever. The worst was when I used to work out with a gym trainer who always said stuff to me like ‘Wow, your a** is so nice.’ That’s why I don’t hire him anymore.”

Vanessa Vanderstraaten

vanessa vanderstraaten

"Once, I woke up to find three identical d*** pics DM-ed to me on Twitter. He wasn’t my Twitter follower and was likely a troll. I was disgusted, but my first thought was, ‘Oh, I should ‘share’ this pic with everyone (laughs).’ Back when I was a newbie, I went for a movie audition with a Japanese director. I was told to meet him at a hotel lobby for ‘a quick chat’. The meeting went okay, but the director asked, ‘How committed are you to this project?’ So I got my drama teacher to write me a recommendation letter, but he wasn’t convinced. In the end I emailed him to say that that was all I had to offer... and [I didn’t get the role]. On hindsight, maybe he was hinting for me to prove my commitment… in his hotel room?”

Jade Seah

jade seah

"At some work events, people I don’t know very well think it’s okay to put their hand on my waist when we’re taking photos. Once, I was at an event and a guy [hit on] me and my friend. We told him we weren’t interested, and he said, ‘Oh, you must be lesbians.’ I was just amused at the size of his ego. I get inappropriate remarks mostly online. There was a guy with a foot fetish who commented a few times that I’ve very nice feet, and asked if I could give him my old shoes. Eww!”

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