Photos: Melanie Ho
Videos: Charlene Chong
“It’s impossible,” repeated veteran actress Quan Yi Fong, when asked if she’d ever work together with her daughter.
Ever since Eleanor made a splash on headlines after she filmed a commercial for Apple China, it would only be natural for one to imagine a possible drama or movie project starring both mother and daughter in it. However, Yi Fong shot the idea down, repeating, again, that “it’s impossible” to ever work on the same project as her 16-year-old daughter.
“I don’t think she suits the entertainment industry. I used to feel that my daughter looks plain-looking and not drop dead gorgeous. It was only in the recent few years at age 16 that she began to change, and for this industry, you cannot succeed simply because you want it. You have to be scouted around by people,” admitted Yi Fong.
Lastly, she said that Eleanor and her have no intentions of being associated in the industry “as a pair”.
Speaking to Toggle at the press conference for Young & Fabulous, an upcoming film by Encore Films in collaboration with SIMF Management and Golden Village Pictures, Yi Fong shared that she plays the mother of two boys in said movie. Her older son, played by Aloysius Pang, performs well in school and her character expects him to become a lawyer or a doctor. However, he has an interest in cosplay costume design, which Yi Fong’s character forbids due to her past failure in the fashion industry.
In comparison to her character, Yi Fong said, “I will not force my ideals on my child,” adding that parents should respect their children’s wishes and not impose their personal ambitions on them.
As a mother, it took her some time to come to terms with her only child’s decision to pursue fashion design. Yi Fong initially rejected the idea in her head but did not tell Eleanor how she really felt. Once, at a fitting as she was getting dressed by a fashion designer, Yi Fong bluntly told her daughter: “this is what you’d be doing, dressing other people”, should she go down this path.
“People don’t just go from sketches to Coco Chanel,” said Yi Fong, recalling her words to Eleanor.
Instead of dissuading her daughter now, Yi Fong says she wants to play the role of a supportive mother and watch over Eleanor as she pursues her passion. The sharp-tongued host even wore a dress that was specially designed by Eleanor to the Star Awards ceremony last year. And if her daughter should take a liking to cosplay, it’s also a “no”, but she said that she is not going to stop her from trying and seeing for herself.
Similarly, Yi Fong’s movie co-star Gurmit Singh shared with Toggle that he once told his children: “[Pursuing] anything [is fine], as long as it’s legal.”
“I’ve always told my kids that when they grow up, they do not have to try to get a high paying job or be highly educated just to make me proud. For me, they make me proud if they find something they like that will make them happy to go to work, which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years,” commented Gurmit, whose contract with MediaCorp expired at the end of 2014.
Apart from having more control over his schedule now, the funnyman also has more time for his wife and family. During the interview, he joked about going on dates with his wife and visiting Gardens by the Bay with her too. When quizzed on his reasons for taking on new film project, Young & Fabulous, he replied, “Firstly, I need money. No, I’m just kidding!”
“The thing is, Kelvin Sng, the director called me in and I had a good time with him on TAXI! TAXI! He is a director I respect and enjoy working with. The other thing is, the character is very different from what I usually do,” he remarked.
Executive producer Joyce Lee commented that the conceptualisation of the film took over a year to complete and she hopes to changes viewers’ perception about cosplay and chasing their dreams with this film. Directed by Kelvin Sng who brought you TAXI! TAXI! in 2013, the new movie is a coming-of-age story of a group of dream-chasing teenagers who have a secret cosplay hobby.
Young & Fabulous is slated for release in November 2015.
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