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Fann-ing up

Actress Fann Wong wants to take on more challenging roles in the near future

By: Soo Wern Jun (Thu, 05 Apr 2007)

Tall, slim and stunning, model-actress-singer Fann Wong turns 36 this year but age does not stop her from pursuing her mutiple careers. She was the first actress to win both the Best Actress and Best Newcomer awards in the same year at the Singapore Star Awards 1995.

Having gained exposure and popularity in the Asian regions, she became the first Singaporean actress to break into Hollywood with a leading role in Shanghai Knights starring opposite Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in 2003.

Born in Singapore, she was brought up by middle class tailor parents. She was educated at the Temasek Secondary School and at the age of 16, she won a beauty contest by Her World, a Singapore women's magazine.

Her glory in that contest marked the beginning of her modelling career in Singapore. The next two years was spent modelling part-time while she pursued her A-Levels examination and thereafter she also earned a diploma in Fashion Merchandising from the LASALLE-SIA College of Arts.

Wong then moved to Taiwan in 1993 to become a full-time model where one of her earliest success was the Oil of Ulan (now Oil of Olay) commercial, aired in Taiwan and Singapore.

However, she did not just stop at modelling but also slowly eased herself into the acting and singing industry.

In the movie limelight

I was discovered by a Singaporean television producer in 1994 where I acted in my first drama series, Dreams Come True. Soon after, I did two more television series, The Challenger and Chronicle of Life.

It was true the drama series, Chronicle of Life that won me the Best Actress and Best Newcomer awards at Singapore's Star Awards in year 1995.

My role in The Unbroken Cycle, another drama series, won me my first regional nomination at the Asian Television Awards. It was after those achievements that I concentrated more on acting and starred in a variety of drama series including, A Romance in Shanghai (produced in Shanghai), Wild Orchids (produced in Sydney) and Brave New World which was filmed in Amsterdam and Belgium.

A digression

Singing came quite unexpectedly when one of the directors suggested that I sing the theme song for one of the movies I acted in.

In 1996, I launched my first album, Fantasy, in which I did a duet with popular Taiwanese singer, Jeff Chang.

The album won me four IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) awards.

It was after that, a Hongkong film director noticed me and gave me the opportunity to be cast as the lead actress in an art film, The Truth About Jane And Sam. My role in the film won me a Best New Performer nomination at the 19th Hong Kong Film Awards in year 2000.

I enjoyed singing quite a lot and also recorded with British boy band 911 back in 1999. It was then that I released my third album, Missing You and performed Moments of Magic, Singapore's official millennium song. Shortly after that, I launched my fourth album, No Problem.

The return

After having a taste of both acting and singing, I realised that my forte was more on acting. During the next few years, I did a number of Hongkong movies namely, When I Fall In Love, Looking For Stars, and also played a title character of a Taiwanese periodical drama, Madam White Snake.

Moments in Hollywood

Acting alongside Jackie Chan in the Hollywood movie, Shanghai Knights was no easy task for me. From what I saw during my sessions with him, he is a director and actor that strives to perform his best and expects everyone to do the same.

I faced a lot of difficulties trying to cope with his pace and style, but at the end of the day, things turned out great.

He made sure every cast member was well trained and fit for the movie we were preparing for - Shanghai Knights. It was my first time appearing in the Hollywood scene, of course I was nervous and a little petrified of how my performance would be.

During the movie premiere, Jackie actually asked me how I felt about my performance in the movie. The fact that I gained uncountable compliments from major presses in Hollywood proved to me that I did a splendid job.

Some even compared me with the gorgeous and agile, Lucy Liu, and I'm proud of that encouraging comment. It was my role in the movie that led to my nomination in the Best Fight category in the MTV Movie Awards 2003.

I have been learning and experiencing different types of directing and show genres the past few years. Each day, I learn a few tricks here and there on how to improve my acting performances. (She can currently be seen in Just Follow Me, a movie directed by Jack Neo and Gurmit Singh.)

A glowing ambassador

Besides acting, singing and modelling, for the past few years, while I work on either my albums or movies, I also was approached by several branded product to be their spokesperson.

Some of my prominent clients would be Tiffani by i-Zen, Kodak, Baby G watches, McDonalds', Emporio Armani, Bella Skin Care, Fujitsu Lifebook, China Nanjing Ambassador and many others.

My latest addition would be being the new face for the weight control product, Xando.

Three years ago, they approached me to try the product for a period of time. When I saw the results, they approached me to be their spokesperson.

I have been with them for three years and am looking forward to see the brand expand to other countries.

Love for sports

Most of my movies require me to train for fitness as I am often involved in fighting scenes. I also jog and do skip rope as I am not very athletic, so those are the two constant sport that I do most.

I was doing wakeboarding for a while, but stopped because there was too much of extra exposure to the sunlight and my skin was reacting with more freckles appearing and I was getting darker.

Then I switched to skiing. It is a much more challenging sport and tones the body better. At least, I don't have to worry about getting burnt under the sun. I enjoy skiing and hope to ski in different countries.

Future goals

I want more opportunities to act alongside Hollywood actors and actresses. It was an experience (working in Shanghai Knights) that many dream to have which I hope to gain more of.

Acting to me is all about passion. Without passion, an actor or actress would eventually die out of inspirations. I am looking forward to more challenging roles to play in the future. I decided to choose this career path, and I'm going to perfect it as I seek for more experiences.

I will be starring in a few MediaCorp Singapore drama series this year. This should keep me busy till early next year.

Staying slim

The revolutionary weight control system, Xando System, was recently launched in Malaysia with the presence of its spokesmodel, Fann Wong. The product also pioneered in Singapore, Hong Kong and Philippines before making its entrance in Kuala Lumpur. Xando System is formulated to not only help weight reduction but also acts as weight management assistance. The system features the Xando Block & Burn, Xando Meal Replacement and Xando Coffee Mixture. For those who enjoy carbohydrates, starch and sugary food such as rice, noodles, pasta or bread, the Xando Block & Burn contains ingredients that reduces and block unwanted body fats. The active ingredients also help digest starch and decrease the absorption of glucose. Most products usually contain caffeine and laxative, however Xando does not. Developed and successfully tested by Swedish researchers, the Xando Meal Replacement is made of natural ingredients that helps prevent weight fluctuation as it acts as good as an ordinary meal but without excessive calories. For coffee lovers, they can now indulge in the aromatic coffee and at the same time helps measure and control glucose levels.

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