Exclusive: Interview with Jeanette Aw

Reuelwrites interviews Singapore’s favourite actress on her latest role in Beauty World the musical.

First shot to fame as 莫晶晶 in 2003 Singapore drama series 荷兰村, Jeanette Aw or 欧萱 is a household name and undoubtedly one of Singaporeans’ favourite actress. Aw who is one of Caldecott Hill’s (original) seven princess, has also authored two books and, is also according to Goodyfeed the first and only Singapore celebrity to reach 1 million likes on her Facebook page.

PHOTO: Alfred Phang

PHOTO: Alfred Phang

How Aw finds time to update all her social media handles and blog baffles me. But the wonder girl woman must have really taken great care of her fans on social media because she has won OMY Singapore Blog Awards’ (also the award I was a finalist in) Favourite Local Celebrity Instagram for the 7th consecutive year, earning her the title ‘Social Media Queen‘. For more reasons why Jeanette Aw is so awesome, click here.

I don’t know about you but at age 14, the then-unknown Aw was my favourite actress after Aiyoyo 老师 (Chen Liping). I mean, who didn’t like 莫晶晶?

Beauty World

This November, Aw will be lending her star power to Beauty World, Singapore’s first all-original musical with its original playwright Michael Chiang, composer and director Dick Lee in the reins.

PHOTO: Beauty World

PHOTO: Beauty World

The sold-out musical which first debuted at the Singapore Arts Festival (now Singapore International Festival of Arts) in 1988 traces the adventures of Ivy, a small-town girl from Batu Pahat who sets out on a quest to find her father in Singapore. She winds up in a dubious cabaret, where she meets Lulu the beautiful but vindictive cabaret queen, and learns some heartbreaking truths about love and life.

Don’t we all love Aw as the protagonist figure? Except Aw will be starring as the antagonistic cabaret queen, Lulu. GUSH. Despite her tight schedule, the TV star spared some time for a fan to interview her. Check out my interview with Aw below. RW

05Nov_IMG_2352_Alfred Phang

PHOTO: Alfred Phang

RW: Hi Jeanette, I’m extremely stoked to be interviewing you. (I watched you act in Holland V when I was only 14 years old so this moment’s kind of surreal) November is a big month for you in theatre.

Almost every Singaporean has watched at least one of your shows on TV. You’re most of the time (and we are probably to used to seeing you as) the innocent protagonist who ‘saves the day’. What made you go for the role of Lulu instead of Ivy Chan, the musical’s Cinderella?

JA: I graduated with an Honours in Theatre Studies from NUS and it has always been a dream to go back to stage one day. I’ve always imagined how it would be like to return to stage but I never imagined that I would have an opportunity to be part of such an iconic musical such as Beauty World.

Lulu, without doubt, is a woman with so much depth and character. She is someone I would love to play, a role that steers away from my usual all-too-perfect leading roles in my dramas. I auditioned for this role and I am thrilled to win the confidence of both Dick Lee and Michael Chiang, both of whom I have utmost respect for.

RW: What are the challenges you face that’s different as opposed to starring in a TV drama?

JA: The thing about being up on stage is really about the chemistry between the entire cast and ensemble. How you play off each other and how clear we are about our Beauty World characters and relationships with each other. This is what I love about stage, because of its depth of understanding. 

So everything is continually evolving and every night’s performance will be like the first time because we are all constantly evolving and reacting.

PHOTO: Alfred Phang

PHOTO: Alfred Phang

RW: In the press conference, Dick Lee said that you were perfect for the Lulu role, the antagonistic cabaret queen. (Laughs) Is there anything you can identify with Lulu?

JA: We belong to two different worlds. I don’t channel “Lulu” at all in my own personal life. But I definitely love the 60s, I love women of those times, I respect them for their strength and character. I love period dramas and have done my fair share of that on television so getting into the mood of that era isn’t a brand new thing for me. I love the whole process of creating and building a character, and this time with an inclusion of song and dance.

Somehow, when I put on her clothes, do her hair and makeup, the Lulu that I created steps out and takes over.

Beauty World

Victoria Theatre

Opens 13 November to 12 December 2015

Groundbreaking hit Musical, Beauty World opens tomorrow at the Victoria Theatre. Set in mid-60s Singapore, the musical comedy traces the adventures of an innocent young girl who enters a seedy cabaret hoping to find her long-lost father. All three stage productions of Beauty World (1988, 1992, 1998 and 2008) have played to packed houses, making it the most successful – and best recognized – Singapore musical ever.

Ticket Pricing: $28 – $128

Web Link: Beauty World

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