Julie Tan fans, fret not, this isn’t going to be the last you see of the actress on local TV. The 24-year-old had revealed at the Star Awards in April that she would be leaving Mediacorp when her contract expires in June. However, when we ask her about it at the press meet for her upcoming drama, The Lead, the actress clarified: “This won’t be my last Ch 8 drama. If there’s a drama and they look for me, I’ll still do it, if time permits.” While the actress declines to talk more about her upcoming work projects for now, she lets on cryptically: “There’ll be overseas plans and there'll be some Singapore projects as well.”
So when did she make the decision to leave? “It goes all the way back to when I was 16,” the actress chuckled. “Back then, I made a list of three goals for myself. One, to be a female lead for a drama when I’m 18; two, to be in a movie as a female lead, and three, to crack the international market when I’m 25. Over the years, I’ve been working towards these goals. But, two years ago, I realized I was no longer focusing on my craft. I was more concerned about my Instagram follower count and how many “likes” I have. I was swiping my phone every single day just to check if my follower count dropped or rose. My dad realised that something was not right. So he asked me, ‘What are you in this industry for?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ I felt lost. I felt like I just wanted to be famous and for people to recognise me. Then my dad was said, ‘Okay, then what about your craft?’ And when he said that, it hit me. I’m like, 'Oh yeah, why am I focusing on all these superficial stuff instead of my craft? So I did some soul-searching.”
That soul-searching eventually led to Julie taking a six-month hiatus from acting last year to undertake a four-month acting course at the New York Film Academy. “After I came back, I did a movie and a drama. And then I felt like if I don’t take that step to leave [Mediacorp] now, I never will ’cos I’m comfortable here. There’s a saying life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I want to live life to the fullest. I don’t want to have regrets. I’ll not regret the things that I’ve done. But I’ll regret the things that I didn’t. Even if I try and fail, I have no regrets ’cos it’s about having life experiences. I’m a rebel. So I like to take risks. Some people might think that I’m stupid. But at the end of the day, as long as I am happy when I go to sleep, that’s all that matters.”
The Lead debuts May 22, 9pm, Ch 8.
PHOTOS: KELVIN CHIA