Star Awards Top 10 winner Chen Xiuhuan almost didn’t say yes to attending ceremony

April 14, 2019
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    Comeback actress Chen Xiuhuan won one of the coveted Top Ten Most Popular Female Artists trophies on Star Awards tonight (April 14). But if not for her daughter Shalynn Tsai, she almost did not say yes to attending the ceremony.

    In an earlier interview with The Straits Times (ST), Xiuhuan said she wanted to“stay low-profile and get used to acting again”. Her Star Awards nod came as a huge surprise.

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    “I was driving when I got the call that I was nominated,” she explained. “I was asked if I would go to the ceremony and I was so baffled that I couldn’t say anything! Shalynn, who was beside me, was the one who urged me to say yes.”

    Shalynn, who is her 19-year-old middle child, would later tell her: “Mommy, I’m so proud of you.”

    Related: Who were the best dressed celebrity mums at Star Awards 2019?

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    Sharlynn has followed in mum’s footsteps and is now a budding actress managed by celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee’s Starlist agency.

    Related: 9 life lessons to teach your daughter before she becomes a teenager

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    Xiuhuan, who returned to acting some two years ago, told ST that it was only when her eldest was 10 that she told her three daughters – Shanisse, Shalynn and Shavinne – what she used to do for a living.

    “I always tell my girls that when they perform well,” she said during the interview. “To be on the receiving end of the same words was what made me feel like, ‘You know what? This nomination is an achievement.’”

    Related: How celeb mum Pan Lingling learnt to let go of “some things”

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    Xiuhuan appeared in several dramas such as Fifty And Fabulous, as half of a married couple with her former onscreen partner in The Witty Adviser (1993) Chew Chor Meng and the movie Zombiepura, as a mother of a canteen operator caught in a zombie apocalypse. This year, she stars in Heart To Heart, as a former dance hostess.

    Related: Star Awards Top 10 winner Lina Ng: Acting balances my sanity, makes me feel good about myself

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    When her children were growing up, they referred to their mum’s girlfriends as “Auntie Zoe” and “Auntie Huifang”, without realising that they were in the presence of some of Singapore television’s brightest stars.

    Related: 7 reasons why we love Zoe Tay even more at age 51

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    “I didn’t allow them to watch TV when they were younger, so they never knew that Zoe, Huifang and I acted,” said Xiuhuan, who quit showbiz in 1995 to marry her Taiwanese businessman husband.

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    Xiuhuan told ST: “When I finally explained that I used to act, I showed them a little bit of ET (her role in 1988 drama Star Maiden). Then I explained that Zoe and Huifang were actresses too. “

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    Acting – her first and only job – was a career that chose her.

    She was scouted in the 1980s as a teenager selling superglue in Thomson Plaza. She was asked to audition for Flying Fish (1983) about an aspiring teenage swimmer.

    Related: How celeb mum Pan Lingling learnt to let go of “some things”

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    She recalled: “I had no experience acting at all and I was so shy because I had to wear a swimsuit for the audition. Of course I didn’t pass and I was sent to the actor’s training course instead.”

    The role eventually went to singer Maggie Teng.

    A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.

    (Photos: Instagram/Chen Xiuhuan)

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