Where most of her peers spent their childhood at the playground or basketball courts, local actress Foo Fang Rong (better known as just Fang Rong) grew up surrounded by lights, camera, action, and of course, some of Mediacorp’s biggest stars.
The 27-year-old started her showbiz career at the tender age of four, when her cousin was looking for a little girl to cast in a commercial.
“That’s how I started,” Fang Rong told Yahoo Southeast Asia in an exclusive interview on Monday (18 Sept).
“I actually started with advertisements and a bit of modelling. Then after that, I had a chance to audition for, I think [it] was a Channel 5 telemovie called Coming Home. It was a Yellow Ribbon project. So I acted as Melody Chen's daughter, and that was my first acting gig. Yeah, so one thing led to another, went for auditions, and yeah, somehow I'm here today.”
One might argue that showbiz isn’t the right environment for a child to grow up in, and that they deserve to experience a normal childhood.
Fang Rong thinks about this “from time to time”, but said she honestly doesn’t feel like she “lost a childhood”, despite being in the industry “pretty much all my life”.
I think maybe it's like the Singaporean media industry kind of thing, because I would assume in Hollywood or China maybe, or Korea even, it might be a lot more competitive and cutthroat, but I didn't feel that way as a child actress in Singapore.Fang Rong
“It felt like more of a hobby for me, like going on set to play and maybe too much playing sometimes,” she shared with a laugh.
In fact, when she looks back on those years of being a child actress, she remembers playing on the sets “with kor kor (Chinese dialect for older brother) and jie jie (Mandarin for older sister)”.
Fang Rong added, “It feels like a different kind of childhood, but it doesn't feel I didn't have a childhood. So I'm actually very grateful for this interesting experience… I guess, only the other childhood actors and actresses that I'm friends with can relate to [it], but like most of my friends, it's a very different experience for them and for me.”
On that note, Fang Rong also feels okay with entering showbiz at the age that she did, as it gave her the skills and knowledge she needs now as a full-time actress.
“It all happens quite intuitively for me now, I think it could only happen because of the many years of like making mistakes when I was younger,” she said sheepishly. “It's nice that now I don't have to think about all the technical stuff when I act.”
She also credited the media industry for giving her a safe and supportive environment as a kid, so being in the limelight as a young person wasn’t an issue for her.
Fang Rong said, “I think the Singapore media industry feels very safe to me, at least. The veterans, be it in front of the camera or behind the camera, all have been very supportive, and it never felt like I was thrown into like the ocean to swim and survive on my own. Being in this industry as a kid didn't feel unsafe.”
Fang Rong plays a younger version of Joanne Peh in Sisters of the Night (the Last Madame prequel), now available on meWATCH. She’s also currently filming the long-form Channel 8 drama My One and Only, airing weekdays at 7.30pm.
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