While recounting the difficulties he had starting out as an actor in Singapore, local actor Jeffrey Xu said he didn’t receive any dramas for over a year following an altercation with a director.
The Star Search 2010 winner was later transferred to host children’s programmes and variety shows.
Admitting that he used to have an arrogant attitude, Jeffrey expressed gratitude for all the hardships he’s had to endure.
“I’m grateful now for that period in my life which changed my attitude,” the 33-year-old Shanghai native said to Lianhe Zaobao.
Part of ‘Eight Dukes’ because ‘there was no one else’
One may remember that Jeffrey was one of the eight Dukes of Caldecott Hill, which included actors Ian Fang, Shane Pow, Desmond Tan, Romeo Tan, Xu Bin, Zhang Zhenhuan and the late Aloysius Pang.
Jeffrey shared that a former variety show director told him pointedly last year that “there was no one else [to choose], so they randomly pushed you there”.
He shared that he was heartbroken upon hearing it. “It’s true that I’m the weakest among the eight when it comes to social media, which I didn’t manage,” he added.
“But I’ve always just wanted to focus on my acting, this has never changed. Perhaps people would rank us based on popularity, but that has never been my benchmark. My motivation and wanting to be a good actor are the most important, and that’s the reason I stayed.”
Jeffrey said he finally got his big break after being cast in the 2012 Channel U drama series Marry Me, where he played a nurse and “a good guy”.
“I just treasured the opportunity I got to act,” he said of his role, which eventually won him the Best Actor in a Supporting Role award at the 18th Asian Television Awards in 2013.
His chance meeting with a director at the drama’s wrap party soon led to other opportunities. However, he shared that his low self-confidence at the time made him think the director was simply making empty promises.
Jeffrey earned double nominations the following year at the Asian TV Awards for his supporting roles in dramas Scrum! (2014) and Gonna Make It (2013).
Despite having been based in Singapore since 2010, Jeffrey shared how there used to be many viewers who had the impression he was not signed with the local broadcaster. “They kept asking if I was still in Mediacorp until it became embarrassing,” he added.
While his nominations gave him some consolation, Jeffrey added that his Best Supporting Actor win at this year’s Star Awards was a big encouragement.
“I feel I said a lot of wrong things in the past and I’ve always hoped of getting recognition from my ‘parent’ [in reference to Mediacorp],” said Jeffrey, likening his experience to a “son yearning for his mother’s praise”.
Sharing that he’s someone who’d been brought up to “repay a debt of gratitude multi-fold”, he said he’s glad that his win at Star Awards came at the right time and “not too early”, which would have robbed him of the invaluable life experience.
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