Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!
Name: Tay Ying (@tayying_)
Food: I try to cut down on carbs and sugar, but other than that, I rarely follow a diet.
Exercise: For consistency/maintenance, I have a personal training session once a week, stunt training once a week, dance any time. If I’m prepping for something, I’ll add in more gym training or runs.
Q: You’ve been pretty active all your life.
A: Yeah, I played tennis, badminton and touch rugby for a bit when I was younger, but I mainly did martial arts and dancing. I only started going to the gym when I joined the media industry and right now I have a personal trainer at FitLuc.
Martial arts and dancing still remain a very big part of my life though. I started going more in-depth in the martial arts scene by joining stunt training at Sandbox Training Ground.
You do quite a variety of physical activities - fight choreography, martial arts, dance, gym. How do you balance it all?
I always feel that if you are doing what you love, you will always find a way to balance them all.
Of course, over the years, I’ve learnt more about my body and how to pace myself so that I can push myself further.
You were initially not keen on getting into the entertainment industry. What made you change your mind?
I always knew that I loved performing growing up, but I just never had the courage to admit it because of my family background. My parents (actors Zheng Geping and Hong Huifang) really have set the bar very high, and I was afraid of being a disappointment to everyone. Maybe that fear made me the perfectionist I am today, which is quite useful when it comes to my work.
I started dancing on stage first and honestly I still love the stage. I will take any opportunity to be on stage, be it for variety shows or dance recitals. The opportunity came for me to try acting during my transition period from polytechnic to university, and at that point I took it as I felt that I had nothing to lose.
I’m happy I did because it reignited my love for performing and motivated me to focus on my career in this industry.
Do you feel any pressure to look a certain way being in the entertainment industry?
I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, but more of, more reasons to groom and take better care of myself. Regardless of industries, psychologically you’ll feel good whenever you look good.
Is there any added pressure having both your parents in the industry too?
Yes, there is added pressure having parents in the industry. It takes a lot more to earn the respect of the industry professionals and even the audience as they mainly regard you as your parents’ kid. Other than being a perfectionist, I also put the pressure on myself to always give my best as I don’t want to embarrass my parents.
How do you intend to differentiate yourself?
To always do what I love and not what other people are doing just because it's the “right way/thing’. I think strategising my personal branding is also very important as this is what people will remember you for.
I can’t say that I have it all figured out, but I’m proud of the personal progress I have made.
When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
Oh yes, of course. I was from an all girls’ school for 10 years but surprisingly, my insecurities were only at its peak when I entered polytechnic. I was too used to being around girls and suddenly I’m being surrounded by boys every day. As a teenager, having the need to impress boys or anyone in fact is normal. You try to fit in, you try to please everyone and you end up forgetting yourself.
But that period of my life was very crucial as that was the period where I truly discovered myself. My strengths and weaknesses were all laid out and I was very vulnerable and emotional. But that also allowed me to focus on what I could and should do, and made me realised how I felt about different things.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
I don’t speak for everyone, but as an artiste you will always have that in you – that lack of confidence. You are constantly being put out there to be talked about, being compared, being told you’re not good enough.
Going for auditions and getting rejected, looking at other people’s achievements as a timeline, and the list goes on. Feeling rejected and reacting negatively is only human. But I always remind myself to stay focused and if I can’t change what they think, I can change how I respond.
Did you ever struggle with your body?
Other than realising my bad posture, I am happy to say that I’ve always been happy and proud of my body, because at a young age, I learned that I am in control of my body. It’s all about having the discipline to put in the work and what you feed yourself.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I am. Thanks to my training and the variety of good food we have these days, I feel and look healthier.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
I think I am a bit taller than the average Singaporean girl, so people have commented that I look big or I’m too lengthy and that makes me look weird. Someone even once said in my face that I can’t be a dancer with “this kind of body”. Also of course, criticism about my face shape and even cup size. But after coming into the industry, I’ve realised how much people envied and wanted my height.
I used to be quite skinny as a kid and for health reasons it was quite worrying. But I think I look healthier now. I wouldn’t change anything about myself as this body was given to me by God and my parents and I am grateful that I am able and healthy :)