Tay Ying is finally ready to be in showbiz. The 21-year-old, who tells us that she had turned down several opportunities to appear on Ch 8 in the past, was recently named the brand ambassador of Shiseido Professional, a range of hair products. She will also be making her acting debut in upcoming Ch 5 drama Missing, where she’ll star opposite Rebecca Lim and Pierre Png. Tay Ying, who graduated with a diploma in hospitality & tourism management from Temasek Polytechnic in May, tells us in English: “I rejected the previous opportunities because I was still studying. I wasn’t ready yet in terms of my appearance, and I’m not that fluent in Chinese. I didn’t want to do it for fun and give my parents a bad name. Being the kid of famous parents, there’s a certain level of expectation to meet.”
Tay Ying was speaking to us at the opening of M Nature, a salon owned by her mentor, celeb crimper Addy Lee. Like her younger brother Calvert, 17, she’s signed to Addy’s talent agency Starlist. For her new endorsement, she raked in a “comfortable five-figure sum”, according to Addy. On living up to the public’s expectations, Tay Ying says: “Of course I feel a little pressured as people know me as so-and-so’s daughter. But I’m still me, and I want to prove my capabilities and abilities on my own.” She adds: “My parents have told me to always have a humble and good attitude, and I think that’s great advice for this industry.”
8 DAYS: Congrats on the good news! Are you worried that people may say that you got your break ’cos of your parents?
TAY YING: Certainly. To be fair, it was definitely easier for me to step into showbiz because of who my parents are. They have the connections and I have to give credit to them. However, now that I am in this, how far I go is up to me and how hard I work. If I’m not cut out for this, I won’t progress or go far.
Were you bullied in school because of who your parents are?
Oh, yes. I was bullied throughout my primary school years. I went to an all-girls school and I think the people there tend to be more bitchy (laughs). They would call me names and exclude me from their cliques. I was really shy and weak. I also didn’t tell my parents about it even though I was very affected. It was only in secondary school that I learnt to stand up for myself. Since then, I have learnt to get used to it ’cos I was born with [famous parents] and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Have you tried not telling people who your parents are?
Yes, for sure. I don’t tell people who they are, and I deny it when people ask me in school. I did that all the way till poly as I didn’t want to live in their shadows. I want people to know me for who I am, and I don’t want to live under pressure.
Now that you are in the limelight, it means you’d would have to live under more intense scrutiny from the public.
Recently, I got really pissed off at some online comments directed at my younger brother. There were netizens who posted stuff saying that he got his role in [new Ch 8 drama] While We Are Young ’cos of our parents. I saw how hard my brother worked. Yes, we have famous parents but it doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard. I give him a lot of advice and support and tell him that I’m always there for him. As for myself, I’ve survived pretty well all these years in the public eye. I just need to filter out the negative stuff (smiles).
PHOTOS: EALBERT HO