Actress, singer, model. How did all this happen? Did it just fall into your lap, or part of a great plan?
When I was 13 or 14 at school, I used to sing a lot, and put all my attention onto that. So I didnít do the things I was really supposed to do, yíknow, like concentrate on my studies. I went a little bit mad on singing, so I didnít get very good results. That wasnít very good. So then I turned my attention to studying till I was 16.
So now you are ready to conquer TV?
Iíve got a role in a 13-parter on Channel 5. It a new series about a matchmaking company with Making Love as its working title. I really like it, I think itís going to be very good. Thereíll be a new theme every week, so thatís interesting.
When does that roll out?
Filming starts in May and should be by the end of the year when it comes out.
And you are in every episode?
I really donít know that yet. My character Ė sheís called Pam - is someone whoís comfortable with herself and her sexuality, very self-confident, a bit bold Ė but in actual fact she could be something of an insecure person. Sheís sort of like the joker in a Shakespeare play, she relieves a lot of the tension around, she doesnít take everything or even herself too seriously.
Is that like the real Celest Chong?
I donít take things too seriously, Iím fairly easygoing. I like to laugh a lot. I donít think in real life Iím as bold as Pam is, in the way she handles herself. But then, this is acting, so it is something of a challenge for me.
How did it all happen?
Fly Entertainment, the people who are managing me now, heard about an open TCS audition and arranged for me to go there. I wanted to go to see myself on tape but it so happened they were casting for roles in that new series and they decided that I was good for the Pam role.
And youíve been working with filmmaker Eric Khoo?
Yes, yes. Eric Khooís new movie production is called Stories About Love. Iíve filmed a support role in one of the three component parts of this digital movie [leading the way in her particular story are local acting stalwarts Beatrice Chia and Gerald Chew]. This movie aims for a July release.
And your music is picking up tooÖ
Thereís an agency in New York which has taken me on as a singer Ė that sprang from the Jungk episode. Theyíre called Oxygen Music and they specialise in different musical styles.
I met them through that Walt Disney movie Mulan for which Jungk recorded a track. Iím going to New York later this month (April) where Iím recording with this guy called Gary Lucas, a highly-respected guitarist whoís making a tribute album to 1950sí Shanghai music Ė I love the songs of that era too. Iíll be singing in Mandarin Ė yes, I am bilingual. Iíve got three solo tracks.
Hopefully Iíll be able to work on other things out there, especially modelling. Iíve found a model agency in New York called Click and maybe Iíll contact another small agency I know of in Toronto. I didnít try modelling when I was there with Jungk but I left some of my model comcards with friends and they took them around a few NY agencies. Whatever happens, I should be back in May to hopefully start work on the TCS series. And Iíll carry on modelling here. I do that through the Mannequin model agency.
So youíre heading off with everyoneís blessings?
I started modelling as a student, finding it paid much better than giving tuition, and was much more interesting, besides. The fees I earned helped with my own education fees and I was able to financially support my parents, too.
So now my mumís happy, I graduated with my degree in economics and English language from NUS. So she knows I have something to fall back on, and my mum knows Iím sensible enough to take care of myself. Of course she wants me to get a proper job, use my degree and do the correct things. But I know sheís proud of me. And I still live at home, letís just say in the north side of the island.
With all this stuff-about-love acting going on, whatís the word on Celestís own sex life these days and, er, nights?
Iím pretty much single at the moment, so I guess all is quiet on the love life front. I like to believe that there is love out there and I certainly believe in everlasting love. Fate may well take care of that but I do think you have to be open to love as well. You have to be open to receive love. If you donít and you shut yourself up, then it will never come around, will it? Oh, and let me say Iím not gay, Iím super-heterosexual!"
Well, Iím glad weíve got that very straight indeed Ö What kind of guys?
Intelligent, humorous. They do a lot for a man, theyíre the most important things. More so than looks.
Chocolates but I love to eat them too much. Iíd finish the whole box in no time at all Ė not good for a modelís figure! Dark or milk chocolates, but not white ones.
A sense of humour, I guess, somebody who can laugh about life, see the funny side of things. I donít like people who donít take care of themselves. Yíknow, personal hygiene and that sort of thing. For men and women alike, I think thatís very important.
But what kind of men?
Again, itís guys who take care of themselves. Itís okay to be sloppy now and then if youíre in a sloppy situation, but personal hygiene is vital and they should present themselves well.
Your fashion style?
I like to be comfortable. I think Iím not a loud person. Casual, clean styles. But if Iím dressing up, I like colours. I think itís nice to wear colours once in a while and not just go all play-safe black. I mean, if you want to dress up, why would you always want to wear head-to-toe black?
Are you a techie?
Not much of one actually, mostly just to e-mail my friends and keep in touch with people. But I do like getting surprise e-mail messages and Iíd always try to answer the interesting ones, so Iím looking forward to hearing from Gatecrashers
Do you believe in love at first sight?
"(Ponders) Well, yes! I fell in love with my rabbit at first sight! I think in real life, relationships are complicated."
What's the most romantic thing your lover has ever done for you?
I don't have a lover currently. But I do remember my ex cooking (a steak dinner) for me. It was a surprise and I think that was pretty romantic."
- Most of the above information is taken from http://www.hyper.gatecrash.com
Interview, You Light Up My Life
Are you a better counselor or listener in real life?
In order to be a good counselor, you need to be a good listener. I think I give more counseling to people, friends most of the time, but it's not that I don't need to be counseled at all! I do need a listening ear sometimes!
Which demographic do you think you can click with most?
Hmm, very funny question. I hang out a lot with my long-time friends from school so I guess it's people my age.
Honestly, have you ever written to an Aunt Agony column before?
Never. But I've joined countless contests and have won useless things like toys, concert tickets, pagers and stuff. No luck with Toto though.
Do you think you have the qualities to be a social worker?
I've done volunteer work before when I was in NUS. I helped disabled children for about a year but was forced to give up because I started modeling to make a living for myself. Someday I hope to go back because I really care. It's also one of the reasons I took up this project.
We hear that you've got lots of bad vibes from the lighting man simply because you're too dark.
I think he has a very hard time doing lighting for me! Especially when I have scenes with people like Hong Huifang, they are so fair, there's a joke on the set that I should stick out my tongue so we look like hei bai wu chang (black-and-white spirits from Hades)! I didn't know that people apply sunblock lotion so naturally I got darker and darker and at one point, I was even darker than Ix!
Is that your biggest problem playing this role?
Not really. I guess everything is difficult in the beginning. I had a bit of problem speaking my lines because I'm so used to speaking in English. I don't even speak Mandarin to my mom, only Teochew. It felt like a 'Mandarin Storytelling Contest' because I use up to 4 hours just to memorise the lines!
Is it true that there's more bitching on a Channel 5 set than a Channel 8 one?
(Frowns) From my experience, there isn't any bitching on the set at all. Everyone comes in with the right attitude. If someone starts bitching, then it won't appear professional. Most of them know what they have to do and there's no time for bitching. I think they'd rather use that time to sleep!
What exactly lights up your life?
I'm very positive. I started this very thick notebook a couple of years back and every night, before I go to bed, I'll write down the good things that have happened that day. I'm quite a shutterbug so sometimes I'll take pictures of beautiful things and stick it in the notebook as well.