Pauline Tan

The art of acting

Article from the Sun daily by Jason Lim (posted on 28 Mar 2019)

ACTRESS, TV host and 2015 Miss Universe Malaysia first runner-up, Pauline Tan has been making waves in the entertainment industry over the past five years, forging a career for herself against the expectations of her parents.

Her efforts paid off, as 28-year-old Tan was nominated for the Best Newcomer in the 2014 Golden Award presented by national television channel ntv7.

She shared: “I consider myself lucky, because the journey has definitely progressed from how I imagined it [when] I decided to become a full-time actress, but it also gave me an insight [into the] need to have a backup plan in everything we do.”

Her role as the protagonist in the TV drama Sweet Delicacy, currently airing on 8tv, sees her putting on a persona that she claims reminds her of her younger, carefree and naive self.

How did you end up in show business?

“I’ve always been interested in the performing arts, to be on stage – be it elocution or singing competitions – but I have rather conservative and traditional parents, so obviously they would never agree with my decision.

“Then I was enrolled in Sunway University in the performing arts, and later was offered a scholarship to study English Literature in Taiwan, of all places. Seeing it as the opportunity of a lifetime, I went and stayed on for four years.

“I came back during summer break in 2012 to look for an internship, hoping I could land a role as a newscaster or as a TV host, which didn’t work out, but the producer of a TV station spotted me and asked if I was interested in acting. It began from there, and the rest is history.”

How welcoming is the industry towards young talents?

“I can only speak for the [local] Chinese showbiz industry. They are always very welcoming towards newcomers.

“But I realised that there are fewer and fewer of these young talents joining, probably because of the lack of productions, so it is really hard to survive in this industry.

“That’s why you need to be multi-talented to prove and showcase your capabilities in everything you do, while constantly upgrading yourself by learning new skills, be it picking up martial arts or by taking up a new language.”

What is something you wished you knew before joining the industry?

“That you’ll not get enough sleep ever, and I really wished someone had told me that, because I absolutely love my beauty sleep. And the fact that there’ll be no weekends, and no public holidays means I can’t rest.

“But I’m not complaining, I love what I’m doing. The general public only sees the glitz and glam side of it, but overlooks the efforts and hard work being put into every production.”

What does it mean to be an actress?

“I was hosting an event recently, where there was a fortune teller who told me that I’m a very playful person, and that there’s an inner child within me. She said that I should allow myself to play, because I’ll find creativity while playing and only through play will I be happy, which I totally agree.

“Because in acting you really need to enjoy it, to feel and relate to the character.

“It also made me think, the word ‘theatre’ in English also means ‘play’ because they want you to play.

“Acting for me is a way to experiment, discover and play with everything, it plays with your thoughts, creativity, actions and body language.”

What’s challenging about bringing this script to life in your latest drama Sweet Delicacy?

“My character in the drama is the complete opposite of me, as the character is very naive, straightforward and a happy-go-lucky person.

“I feel like I’ve moved past that phase or age, where in order to [embody] that sort of personality, I need to throw away all my current logical reason, in order to stand in her shoes to learn the way she talks and thinks.

“Essentially, she is spoilt and pampered, and is a very cute character which I personally am not.”

What are the hardest roles to act?

“The stereotypical roles are the hardest; that you’re supposed to be mean if your role is the bad guy.

“So the hardest part is to figure out how do you differentiate yourself from the stereotypical bad guys, that’s why we need to know how to catch a ball in different ways when the ball is being thrown to you.”


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