When her daughter showed interest in pursuing the same career as her, local actress Evelyn Tan was concerned.
The rise in popularity of streaming sites that carry international dramas from South Korea and China meant that local dramas may lose favour with the younger generation.
“I have a daughter who is really looking forward to being in the limelight… what I had as options in the past may not be available to her because of the changes in the market and industry now,” explained the 48-year-old to AsiaOne in a recent interview.
Kristen, the eldest of Evelyn’s four children with her husband, actor-host Darren Lim, is currently a second-year student in Temasek Polytechnic’s Digital Film and Television course.
The couple also have Jairus, 16, Way, 14, and Elliot, 10.
When asked if Kristen was inspired by her parents to pursue acting, Evelyn responded jokingly: “I think in some ways it must have been influenced by what we do, but I also think that innately she was just born to be a drama queen. I always call her drama mama, drama queen.”
Evelyn added that while she missed acting during her 18-year break to take care of her kids, Kristen was there to provide her with opportunities to “act” offscreen.
“We would be exaggerated with all the things that we do and say, so I had my relief. I could relieve my acting desire through my interactions with her,” Evelyn laughed.
She however revealed that she and Darren weren’t keen on Kristen’s career pursuit: “I must put a disclaimer out here to say that I didn’t encourage her to go into this field. Neither did Darren.
“We didn’t say, ‘Okay just go’ or try to provide opportunities by connecting with people we know, like casting directors or what not.”
The reason for their hesitance?
“What we did tell her was that is going to be a tough line because it’s related to the arts which is very subjective. People either like you or they don’t like you. You can have the best acting skills ever, be the best actress in some people’s eyes, but you might totally flop in another person’s eyes,” she explained, adding that acting is also “physically and emotionally draining”.
She also told Kristen that she would be subjected to “cruel assessments or judgments that are purely subjective” and she had to be prepared for that.
Despite her reservations, Evelyn ended her advice to her daughter on a positive note: “If you really, truly enjoy and have a passion for what you do, then all these things will just become part and parcel of your life and you’ll be able to embrace it and just briefly continue to shoulder on.”
‘It has not dampened her spirits’
While Evelyn isn’t sure if Kristen could “fully comprehend” how complicated things could be as an actress, she hopes that her daughter would take her advice into consideration.
Evelyn continued: “It has not dampened her spirits, obviously. She decided to go ahead with her course. But now that she’s in an arts school, she’s seeing more of the things that we’ve been talking about come through in her life.”
Kristen however remains “steeled” in her decision as she hopes to enter a university that provides a performing arts course.
According to Evelyn, she was also the most excited one in the family to see her return to acting.
Evelyn will make her acting comeback in the 2024 Mediacorp drama Moments playing the single career woman Gu Chuntian. Other cast members include Paige Chua, Desmond Tan and Pierre Png.
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