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Not handsome, poor acting, bad social skills: Andie Chen on why his career flopped after Star Search win

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Joining the ranks of Star Search champions like Zoe Tay, Chew Chor Meng and Felicia Chin doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed success, as Andie Chen can attest to.

In the latest episode of meWATCH’s Hear U Out, Andie Chen revealed that his career didn’t go very well following his Star Search win in 2007 and explained why.

“I thought I was not handsome enough, not that good of an actor and my personality wasn’t that good, either,” Andie, 37, admitted, while host Quan Yi Fong stuttered in disbelief at his frankness.

Yi Fong abruptly said: “You can’t say that! At the very least, [your wife] won’t agree!”

Looking at his actress wife Kate Pang, who was seated beside him, he added: “I believe she’ll agree.”

Hear U Out is a Mediacorp talk show where host Yi Fong, 48, invites local celebrities and famous personalities to talk about personal anecdotes and share their life experience that most would not know about.

Kate, 39, looked at him lovingly and deadpanned: “I think we shouldn’t judge others based on their appearances.”

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Andie also elaborated further on his failings: “My concept of acting back then was to try very hard. I pushed myself to the point where I had snot dripping — my acting wasn’t that good.

“My language abilities weren’t good either and I was still very childish and not tactful enough back then, so I probably offended quite a few people.”

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In fact, he was so tactless then that when he first met Kate in 2010 at the premiere of Fighting Spiders season two, he had jokingly told her: “Oh, you’re from Taiwan? You can buy your return ticket now.”

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Kate had just arrived in Singapore that day, she told Yi Fong.

But Andie also had reasons for his lack of sociability, he explained.

“Acting was all I could do in life — in fact, I didn’t have much self-esteem and felt that I was worth nothing at all if I couldn’t act well. So I had to have others’ approval and have them say, ‘He’s an amazing actor’, for me to feel that I have lived a valuable life.”

Because of this, Andie said he had a tendency to “over-compensate” to try and make everyone think he was good at acting.

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Due to this, he faced setbacks he never expected; after his performances in the 2008 dramas The Defining Moment and The Little Nyonya, he stopped receiving acting roles. This was just one year after his Star Search win.

Recalled Andie: “I thought my career was going well but I had no more projects after that… At first, I endured it and told myself it was alright and believed I’d have more opportunities in the future.

“But my contract was ending and if I didn’t have enough appearances, my contract might not be renewed.”

Frantic, he contacted some of the production companies that he’d known over 11 years of acting, even prior to Star Search.

And despite his manager’s advice that his efforts would be futile because production crews would already have filled the roles he applied for, Andie attended a casting call for Fighting Spiders in 2009 and clinched the role of Tony Lee.

He added: “If I could go back in time, I’d still attend that (Fighting Spiders) audition but I’d have a proper discussion with my manager first. I feel that I was less able to communicate in a mature way back then, I just knew that going to the audition was something I had to do.”

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Following his performance in the English drama, he was offered roles again, Andie said. 

He was nominated for acting and popularity awards at Star Awards from 2011 to 2019 for his performances in dramas such as Code of Honour, If Only I Could and Hero, though he never won. 

After leaving Mediacorp in 2017, he’s been travelling between Taiwan and Singapore in pursuit of more career opportunities.

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