In some ways, Paige Chua’s oh-so-chill reaction to losing the Best Actress award at last Sunday’s Star Awards was precisely the reason why she was touted the hot favourite to win the highly-coveted honour. Her turn as a shrewd, hot-headed homemaker in Ch 8 drama Mightiest Mother-in-Law was a side of the super-zen Paige that audiences hadn’t seen before. Her transformation (and vividly animated expressions) in said drama was what had impressed netizens and industry pundits rooting for her to win Best Actress. 

Though the accolade eventually went to second-time winner Rebecca Lim, Paige did clinch the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award —which was presented to her by her Mightiest co-star Chen Liping. What was notable about Paige’s acceptance speech was that she didn't just thank her family, friends and fan club. “I’d also like to thank the media who have given me a lot of support and encouragement during this period — I know that you guys are all rooting for me,” she said. “Thank you and I’ll continue working hard.” Awww… you're welcome, Paige. 
 
We rang up the actress, who’s currently in Penang filming Ch 8 period drama Blessings, to chat about her Top 10 win… and losing out on Best Actress. 
 
8 DAYS: Congrats on your fourth Top 10 win. How did you celebrate?
PAIGE CHUA:
I’m currently filming in Penang. So I promised my fans that after I’m done with filming, I’d take them out for a meal, especially those who came down [during the Star Awards night] and screamed their lungs out for me. We always have this celebration over food after we ‘win’ the battle every year lah.
 
Were you even a teeny weeny bit disappointed at losing out on the Best Actress award? 
I guess the right way to put it is I was prepared to lose [in that category] ’cos I really don’t think that my performance in [Ch 8 drama] Mightiest Mother-in-Law (MMIL) was perfect. There was a lot of buzz [around my performance in MMIL] ’cos people saw a different side of Paige Chua. But if you’re talking about technicalities, I don’t think I nailed it as well as people think I did lah.
 
You’re always super chill and zen. How difficult was it for you to ‘let go’ for that role? 
It was very challenging for me to match the level of intensity that the director wanted — I took a few days to achieve that. ’Cos in the show, I’m supposed to be a shrew and scold everybody in my family. But I have a soft voice, so for me to scold people with that kind of energy, takes a lot out of me. I was very drained by the end of the project. (Laughs)
 
You were the hot favourite to win Best Actress. Did it raise your expectations of winning the award?
I was very touched. To be honest, I prepared two speeches — one for if I win [Best Actress], and the other for if I didn't. And that was the reason why I thanked the media when I won the Top 10 [Most Popular Female Artiste award]. I was very glad that I had the chance to go on stage to share my thoughts on this. Obviously, I thanked my family and my fan club for voting me into Top 10, but I also have to thank the media and even netizens for being so supportive of my role in MMIL
 
So if you had won Best Actress, what would you have said in your acceptance speech? 
Can I say it when I actually win the award? (Laughs) For now, I will just keep [the speech] in my drawer. And one day, if I win [Best Actress}, then you’ll know lah. 
 
How did the people around you comfort you?
They are all very supportive lah. Since last year, people have been saying to me, “Oh, next year, confirm you’ll get [Best Actress]” or “You’ll be nominated [for Best Actress].” And I’ve always told them that I’m very happy to be nominated. If I didn’t get nominated, I’d be very upset. But ’cos I got nominated and I got so much good response over the past nine months, that’s really sufficient for me to carry on [acting] with passion — not that I need [awards] to do so ’cos I really love acting. But it’s an added bonus — a pat on my shoulder telling me that I’ve had breakthroughs [in my career], and I’m happy to be able to move forward with their support. 
 
PHOTOS: KELVIN CHIA, CHEE YAN, MARK LEE, WILSON PANG 

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