Cheryl Chitty Tan is disappointed that 8days.sg isn’t meeting her face-to-face for this interview. As much as we’d love to shoot the breeze over coffee, a simple phoner is just as kosher — it’s convenient, faster, and considering the current COVID-19 climate, the socially responsible thing to do.

“I just, like, you know, hanging out with people,” says Cheryl, 30, a Malaysian stage thespian who made her Mediacorp debut on 2017’s Faculty, the varsity-set drama, playing a professor who's embroiled in office politics and her students' affairs.

Cheryl says she’s nothing like Winnie Low, the guarded and reclusive psychologist she plays on Derek, the Code of Law spin-off centering on Singapore's first serial killer, Derek Ho, portrayed by Desmond Tan. “Winnie is a very un-Cheryl character,” she says of her alter-ego, a PTSD-stricken shrink tasked to profile the titular murderer. 

Winnie is very messed-up and angry. “She has a lot of rage,” Cheryl adds. “This is something I thought was a mistake in my performance in Season 1 — I didn’t get to her rage enough.” But in Season 2, she thinks she’s done a better job in getting her bitterness across.

Cheryl could've done more. According to her, Winnie was supposed to have a “heavier” plotline but the producers dropped it over “some scheduling issues” and focused instead on Jae Liew’s character, an old flame of Derek’s. But fret not, Winnie’s story will continue in Season 5 of Code of Law, slated to debut in June.

If you can’t get enough of Cheryl, she’s also on Paddles Up!, the Mediacorp drama set in the cutthroat world of dragon-boat racing, and the Season 3 premiere of Westworld where she’s onscreen for less than 10 seconds as ‘Backpack Woman’.

Yes, it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss part that takes place on a MRT train “but it was an incredible experience,” says Cheryl. Here, she shares with us her memories of working on that monster HBO production as well as her love scenes with Desmond Tan on Derek. Now, where shall we begin?

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