Video: Vina Chia
DIRECT FROM MELBOURNE: A 20-strong team consisting of cast and crew members of Channel 8’s The Dream Makers 2 flew to the land of kangaroos to film certain key scenes in the 32-episode drama series for two weeks in September. And Toggle was part of the entourage from start to finish: we got to breathe the same air, sleep under the same roof, and had equally early call times too – but that’s another story for another day.
For this week’s special ‘Dream Makers 2’ #throwbackthursday series, we have Jeanette Aw, the Snapchat guru who, when not channelling the emotions of Zhao Fei’er before the cameras, can be seen “vlogging” about her travel experiences and the sights and sounds of Melbourne on her mobile phone – all day, every day, like she’s maintaining a “travel diary” of sorts, quipped Ah Jie Zoe Tay.
Indeed. If you follow Jeanette on aforementioned social media platform, you’d have had a firsthand glimpse of on-set happenings – including a candid video she filmed of us, the media, eating on the job (translation: sampling freshly shucked oysters at South Melbourne Market as part of a media tour).
Jeanette indulged in the briny bivalves too (photographic evidence here) after asking us if it tasted good (yes, it did), and contrary to popular belief, this actress eats and has a hearty appetite to boot.
“All this while people think I’m very skinny and that I’m very petite and I don’t eat. But I do!” she chortled in protest, “And I exercise a lot to make up for it.”
Her secret to keeping trim and fit? Hitting the gym – time permitting – after work, or “30- to 45-minute jump rope sessions” in her hotel room, said Jeanette.
Apart from having to be in physically good shape, the actress tells us she has been trying to maintain a healthy emotional equilibrium too because playing a despondent Zhao Fei’er has affected her emotionally and mentally – so much so that she broke down and cried in the middle of filming (in Singapore) one fine day for no rhyme or reason.
“I think I shocked everybody, but it’s something that even I can’t control,” she mused.
On set in Melbourne, her character often had a distant look in her eyes, rarely smiled and appeared subdued and mellow. Before stepping into the shoes of Fei’er again, Jeanette consulted with mental health professionals to prepare for the role. Afraid of sinking in too deep, she wanted to have a safety net and “someone to turn to immediately” if necessary, she confided.
Aware of the emotional changes whirling inside her – especially since it’s evident from her moody captions and posts on social media, Jeanette later added, “Not that good, not that good. I need to pick myself up. (Laughs)”
“I’m actually a very happy girl and I’d say this is very new territory to me. I guess I can feel Fei’er because I played her in part 1 and I think there is continuity in this character and in many ways – I think our paths have crossed, and I’m probably more Fei’er than Ou Xuan (Jeanette) right now,” she laughed.
Check out Jeanette's doodle (featuring Sol!) and find out why she thinks Zoe makes a great travel partner on the next page.
The Dream Makers 2 debuts December 4, 9 pm on Channel 8; it will be available on Toggle-It-First on November 26. For more information and features, visit our microsite. Watch The Dream Makers 1 on Toggle.
Special thanks to Tourism Australia and Tourism Victoria.
WATCH: The official 'Dream Makers 2' MV
Throwback Thursday with Qi Yuwu in Melbourne
Throwback Thursday with Romeo Tan in Melbourne
(Continued on next page)
Jeanette's favourite picture from her recent Melbourne trip
Toggle: What’s your favourite picture taken during this trip?
Jeanette: I love capturing candid shots of people… and I just kind of like this. Maybe it is the clothes she was wearing, maybe it's the tulips and the bright colours. It feels like a happy shot.
When you travel abroad what do you never leave home without?
Actually I don’t [have a must-bring item] anymore. Because I travel a lot for work and I still remember the very first time I was sent overseas to Taiwan, it was when I just entered the industry and my first year in showbiz, and I was sent there for four to five months. It was so long! At that time I was already very accustomed to being independent so I don’t really get homesick as long as I know my parents are fine (I’d still text them every day).
I won’t feel homesick, I’m OK with food – I eat whatever is available and I’m OK with different types of cuisine, so I’m not picky in that sense. I adapt very easily. But there are essentials like skipping rope, sun block, mosquito repellent! And now, heat packs! (Laughs)
What did you do on the flight to Melbourne?
Read a little, watched two movies and slept.
Most memorable filming location?
Alfred Nicholas Garden – I had to go into the pond in freezing weather.
I look forward to…
A real holiday.
Song of the trip?
‘Nothing Gets In My Way’ – because Beauty World (the musical) is all I can think of now.
The one item you’d take to a deserted island?
Despite feeling under the weather, Jeanette embraced the cold to film a pond scene at Alfred Nicholas Park
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
Getting disconnected i.e., no text, no calls, no emails. I think it’s nice to just be away from it all and to actually have some time on my own and some “me” time where I don’t need to worry about all these.
Anything you hate about travelling?
Who out of your co-stars have you learned makes the best and worst travel partners, and why?
Zoe! Because she’s funny and a big foodie. Let’s just focus on the good and positive.
Check out Jeanette’s cute doodle on the next page!